Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bulldogs win scholarships to 4-year universities, remember coaches and teammates

Sharon Ho
Issue date: 2/22/10

Ten Bulldogs players have signed their letters of intent to play for the football teams of 4-year universities, earning them full scholarships to pursue their bachelor degrees.

No. 9 Quarterback Matthias Pelesasa with parents Joann and Gabriel Pelesasa and teammate Garrett Simpson. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Quarterback Matthias Pelesasa, 21, who helped lead the Bulldogs to their first ever State Championship game last year, is moving to the Sun Belt to play for the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers.

"I would want my family to watch me play, but I think a change of lifestyle, transferring out of state to a new community would be a good experience for me," said Pelesasa of the move to the Mideast. "My family are all very happy for me and it is a great relief off my back for me to know that my parents no longer have to continue worrying about paying for my college education."

"All the successes I have accomplished are all due to the program," said Pelesasa. "CSM gave me a good foundation of football and academics; the coaches do whatever it takes to put us out there and I love them to death."

"I will always be proud to be a Bulldog for life and will always be proud to represent the program and the Bulldogs," Pelesasa said.

Pelesasa initially majored in communications in CSM but later switched to majoring in business management. "I am on the fence right now on which major to take (at Western Kentucky)," said Pelesasa. "I might major in business management and minor in communications or vice versa."

Pelesasa hopes to one day pursue a career as a sports broadcaster.

All-American safety Eddie Elder with his parents, Toni and Bryant Elder. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Despite verbally signing on to play for the University of Arizona Wildcats, a transcript discrepancy allowed All-American safety Eddie Jiles Elder, 20, who was named state defensive player of the year, to make a switch to play for rival Arizona State University Sun Devils.

"The football programs at both universities are both great, but I like it at Arizona State as it is more family oriented," Elder said.

And family is very important to Elder. "When you are on the field, you won't be as good if you have nothing to play for," said Elder. "When I play football, I play for my friends, and especially for my family. That is basically my goal when I am on the field."

Elder will miss his family, as although Arizona is only a state away from California, it is still a 12-hours' drive from Sacramento and his family won't be able to come watch him play as often.

He will also miss his other family, his Bulldogs football family. "The coaches were all very supportive and gave us real support whenever we needed it," said Elder. "My teammates and my coaches, they are like family to me too."

Elder majored in business and communications at CSM, but is seriously considering making a switch to majoring in social work at Arizona State. "I love children, and if football doesn't work out for me, I want to to work in a profession where I will be able to really help children."

Offensive lineman Kameron Edwards. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Offensive lineman Kameron Edwards, 19, has accepted a scholarship to Lamar University, where he would be part of the first football team that will be playing for Lamar since Lamar's football program was dropped in 1989.

"The reason I chose Lamar is that I want to be part of a new dynasty, part of a brand new program," Edwards said.

Edwards also cited the small classroom sizes for why he chose Lamar.

"Unlike schools like Arizona State (University) or (University of) Houston, where there are 60-70 students in each class, Lamar has small class sizes of 25 people, so I will be able to get more of the one-on-one learning I need," said Edwards. "Also, Lamar is more community-based, situated in the country, so there will be no distractions."

Edwards majored in liberal arts at CSM and will be majoring in sociology with a minor in business at Lamar.

"I am not doing this for myself; this degree is for my whole family, to help support my family," said Edwards. The Edwards family recently welcomed the birth of their newborn son Kameron Donte Edwards Jr. on Feb. 12 and his daughter Kamari turns one today. (Birthday Feb. 22)

Edwards plans to live in the dorms in his first year and move into an apartment in his second year so he can bring his family over. Edwards will be leaving for Lamar in June and will stay in touch with his family via Facebook and Skype. In the meantime, Edwards is busy concentrating on his studies at CSM and is looking to spend as much time with his family as he can.

He will also miss his mother, who is "proud that I am taking the right step", and his Bulldog family.

"I am never going to get the (Bulldog) experience anywhere else, an experience I will always remember and miss a lot," said Edwards.

Like Elder, Edwards had joined the CSM Bulldog football program because he wanted to get the same type of coaching that he got at Luther Burbank High. Luther Burbank High's coaching staff are Bulldog alumni.

"The coaches at CSM are all about teaching you how to survive in the real world," said Edwards. "They set that standard and put good pressure on your to get your grades up."

Edwards' real aim is to get a sports management degree, but as Lamar does not offer that major, he hopes to get it at another university after he graduates from Lamar. In high school, Edwards had made a promise with Elder that if either one makes it to the NFL, the other would support him as his agent.

"While I would love to play in the NFL one day myself, if that doesn't work out, I want to get a sports management degree so that I can be a sports agent and help support my Bulldog teammates who make it to the next level," said Edwards.

At Lamar, Edwards will be one hour's drive from where teammate Matangi Tonga currently is, at University of Houston. They both plan to find time to meet a few times a year amidst their packed academic and football schedules.

Matangi Tonga with his father Latiune Tonga. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch

All-American defensive lineman Matangi Tonga, 22, who was named most valuable defensive player in the state championship game last year, majored in physical science at CSM and wants to further his major at the University of Houston in Texas.

"I have been playing sports my whole life," said Tonga. "I have always been interested in player injury and would like to become a sports physical therapist. So it is important that I get my B.A. majoring in physical science (from University of Houston)."

"I have one year of eligibility left, so I want to go to a team that was going to be good," said Tonga of the Houston Cougars football team. "When you are playing for a good team, you are going to want to play your best."

Tonga hopes to one day play football professionally for the National Football League.

"That has always been my lifelong dream, hopefully to one day play in the NFL," said Tonga.

Tonga comes from a family of athletes; Tonga credits his athletic genes to his father Latiune Tonga, who used to played rugby. His older brother Manase Tonga played for Brigham Young University, his younger brother Siosifa Tonga plays for the Lewis and Clark (college) football team and Tonga played together with his cousin running back Seta Pohahau on the CSM Bulldogs team last year.

When Tonga first came to CSM more than two years ago, he was rusty from not playing football for two years, and he credits defensive line coach Dave Heck for helping him get back into the game.

"Coach Heck started to get me used to playing football again by teaching me the mechanics and techniques (of playing football)," Tonga said.

"All the coaches are all very willing to help," said Tonga. "If you do your part they do theirs. We have the best and dedicated coaching staff here at CSM, it is like a family."

"Everyone was so close together last year; everyone wanted to play well for each other," said Tonga. "We take pride in how we play. There was really no selfish play so we played well as a team and I think that is the reason we were ranked the number one defense in the state last year."

Tonga also credited his coaches for the ranking.

"(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Tim) Tulloch would be the first one to let us know whenever he felt that we were not playing to our fullest potential," Tonga said. "He would say to those of us who he thinks are slacking: 'You are not playing like a Bulldog'. We always try our best to give 100 percent and maybe even more after hearing that comment from him."

Slot receiver Eric Roberson with his mother, Terry Roberson. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Slot receiver Eric Roberson has signed on to play with the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks and looks forward to playing against Elder in their first game this fall against the Sun Devils.

"It's going to be a lot of fun; I promise not to whack him too hard if he makes me look good," joked Roberson in a role reversal of Elder's safety against his receiver position.

Like Tonga, Roberson has an associate degree majoring in physical science and is interested in a career as a personal fitness trainer.

He is currently taking some additional Math and English classes this spring at CSM before transferring to Northern Arizona in the fall.

"I like the atmosphere; the people there are very nice, the coaches are great and they have a great program," cited Roberson as his reasons for joining the Lumberjacks.

"Even though it is going to be different, not seeing my family everyday like I do here, it is part of the process," said Roberson. "It is a two-hour flight or nine-hour drive from California so my family will probably come to watch me play for half the games."

Roberson credits the Bulldog football program for all his successes on and off the field.

"Without them, who knows where I will be right now," said Roberson. "No offense to the other programs, but the Bulldogs have the greatest program, and there is not one that is better."

"From the coaches to the people behind the scenes, they check with our families to ensure that all of us are doing well; they make sure that each of us get our highlight videos and make sure - there are about 100 of us - that all of us are on track to get our AA degrees," said Roberson. "This is really a D1 (Division 1) program and I am honored to play with them and proud to call myself a Bulldog."

Earl Anthony Joseph with mother Sharaill Jones and sister Ketiesha. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Defensive back Earl Anthony Joseph has signed on to play with the William Jewell College Cardinals in Missouri.

The education and academics (at William Jewell) are good," said Joseph. "It reminds me of (College of) San Mateo."

"Also, just like the coaches at CSM, the football coaches at Missouri are down-to-earth; they got your back 100 percent and are willing to go the extra mile for you," Joseph said.

"I will still miss CSM and the camaraderie with my teammates," Joseph said. "Nowhere can you duplicate the coaches (at CSM) and nowhere can you duplicate the heart (of a community college like CSM)."

CSM will not the only thing that Joseph would miss.

"The hardest part of moving is not being with my family," said Joseph, who had just got back from driving his 13-year-old sister Ketiesha to school.

"I am leaving this Sunday (Jan. 24), so even if it is just a chance to spend an extra five minutes with my sister, I will take it," said Joseph. Joseph wakes up at 7 a.m. on school days to drive his sister to school as often as he can. "If it wasn't for football, I wouldn't want to leave, but I have been playing football since I was seven and this scholarship to Missouri is a great opportunity."

Joseph majored in business management at CSM, and hopes to get his bachelor degree in business management at William Jewell. "I want to go into finance and business, so it is important that I learn (business management) skills (from college)."

Andrew Moeaki with parents Lolohea and Fae Moeaki. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Defensive lineman Andrew Moeaki chose to commit to San José State University so he could stay close to his family.

"I chose San José because I want my family to see my games," said Moeaki, who has been living in San Mateo all his life.

Moeaki plans to major in sociology at CSM and San José. Like Elder, Moeaki likes working with children and working with people.

While he "would always want to remain on the field (playing football)" and hopes to play in the NFL one day, Moeaki is interested in working in the criminal justice system as a probation officer.

"I have been through that road when I was younger, and would like to help keep youths out of jail by helping them to get back on track," Moeaki said.

Moeaki is thankful for the many opportunities that CSM gave him and would miss his teammates, who are "all like brothers" to him. "Like we always say once a Bulldog always a Bulldog and everyone knows offense is cool but defense rules 'Darkside for Life'," said Moeaki, referring to the Bulldogs' No. 1 state defensive ranking last year.

"The CSM Bulldog program is more than just football," said Moeaki. "The coaches also teach you life lessons, like how to communicate with people. Without them and without the support of all of CSM, none of this would have been possible. I would like to give a special thanks to all my coaches and to the teachers that cared for me."

Running back David Aknin with mother Nancy. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Running back David Aknin has signed on to play with UC Berkeley and will be transferring there in June.

"I chose Berkeley because it is close to home so my friends and family can come to see me play," said Aknin, who lives in San Carlos. "I also chose Berkeley for the academics; my whole family taught me the importance of education." Washington Monthly ranked Berkeley first in its 2009 National University College rankings.

Aknin has an AA majoring in liberal arts at CSM but plans to major in economics at Berkeley. "I have a genuine interest in the finance industry," Aknin said.

"I am going to miss my teammates," Aknin said. "CSM is like my family and my second home. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget the coaches who help everyone of us evolve as a person and I am very thankful to all the supporters (of the team)."

Upon graduating from Carlmont High, Aknin initially joined high school teammate Anthony Burrell to play for City College of San Francisco but left the CCSF program after a month. "I found a better fit at CSM," Aknin said.

"CSM is an offensive team," joked Aknin in response to Moeaki's quip that "defense rules 'Darkside for Life'."

He looks forward to playing against Elder in a televised game on Nov. 26. "We may be buddies, but on the field it is business; we are top competitors," said Aknin with a laugh.

Aknin hopes to one day bring his game to the next level. "It is the dream of all aspiring (football) student athletes to play for the NFL," Aknin said.

Jack Forbes with parents Cindy and Jack Forbes. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

All-State outside linebacker Jack Forbes has committed to play for the Portland State University Vikings and will be leaving CSM on Mar. 27 or early April.

"My sister lives in Portland and I have extended family members living in Seattle," said Forbes, who lives in Pacifica. "I am a family guy; staying in the West Coast is very important to me and my family will be able to come and watch most of my games."

"I visited the university and it was right in the middle of the city; I am a city guy and I like the lights and city atmosphere," said Forbes. "The football program at Portland has a brand new coaching staff who are going to turn things around and I really want to try and help them out."

Forbes wants to follow in his father's footsteps and be a firefighter. His father is a fire captain at San Francisco.

Forbes plans to enroll at CSM's firefighter academy before transferring to Portland State to major in business and communications as Portland does not offer a major in Fire Technology.

"Firefighting is a good job; I grew up in that environment my whole life and it is like being around a big family," Forbes said.

"It is like a big family at CSM too; I will miss my teammates and coaches, the camaraderie and brotherhood," said Forbes. "All the coaches are great; they taught me a lot. My teammates I consider as my brothers. When I am on the field I trust them to watch my back just as I do theirs, and you can only trust family to do that."

Defensive back Owo Mobio with girlfriend Shonece Barney. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Defensive back Owo Mobio has signed on to play with Wingate University Bulldogs in North Carolina.

"It just felt right; they really wanted me and as a player that's what you want, someone to want you to be a part of their family," said Mobio.

Mobio, who will be joining his new Bulldog family in the summer, credits the CSM Bulldogs program for helping him develop as a person both on and off the field.

"I don’t think I could have gotten anything like this anywhere else, not even at a four-year university," Mobio said. "The coaches at CSM taught me so much about how to be a man and also developed me as a player and student athlete. I am a CSM Bulldog for life."

"I am going to miss my teammates; they are great people and I love all of them," said Mobio. "I am going to miss my family a lot; I am also going to miss California. But I have to go and make both CSM and my family proud and make something of myself."

Mobio majored in liberal arts at CSM but will major in either political science or environmental science at Wingate.

"I hope to further my football career but if that doesn't happen I look to find a job in my major and work my way to the top just like it football," Mobio said. "I'm interested in politics and I want to be involved in the environment and making it better and safer for the future generation to come. I just want to contribute to the world and have an impact whether it be big or small."

"With hard work anything is possible," he continued. "It's like our saying: CSM plays hard and never quit. Playing hard and never quitting is not just in football and I think that everyone of us will go on to do great things."

"This is why we coach; we coach to help young men find opportunities, not only to help them develop as football players, but also to help them get a college education, a bachelor's degree, and help them develop as young men," said Tulloch of the scholarships.

"We are very happy for all of them; the scholarships will help them a lot," said Tulloch. "All the players have worked extremely hard."

About 15 to 20 Bulldogs players receive offers of scholarships from four-year universities every year but more can be expected this year due to the Bulldogs' most successful run since the program began in 1922. Many players are still in talks with the four-year universities and will sign their letters of intent by the end of spring.