Football players commit to four-year colleges

(L-R) Ben Gomez, David Belz, Rodney Woodland, Courtlin Thompson and Kyle Long have all committed to four-year colleges. (Jerry Hannula)

Tameem Seraj

Saddleback College football continues its proud and strong tradition of developing great athletes who can compete at the four-year college level.

There were 11 players on an impressive 2011 commitment list that includes star offensive lineman Kyle Long. The list includes three quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs, a wide receiver, and a place kicker.

Long was a First Team All-National Northern Conference selection and committed to the University of Oregon. Fellow offensive line mate Menelik Watson, who was a second team all-conference selection, committed to Florida State.

Quarterback Ben Gomez was named the state Offensive-Player-of-the-Year by the Junior College Athletic Bureau and set records for touchdowns and passing yards with 33 and 3,651 respectively. Gomez committed to Lindenwood University.

Back up quarterbacks Zac Emde and John Cardona played in only five games in the 2011 season but were still offered deals to play at four-year schools. Emde committed to Northern State University and Cardona committed to Sterling College.

Wide receiver Rodney Woodland caught a school record 18 touchdowns in 2011 and was a First Team All-National Southern Conference selection. Woodland committed to Texas State University.

Defensive back Jake Johnston was an All-National Southern Conference selection with 73 tackles. Johnston committed to Northern Arizona University. Fellow DB Courtlin Thompson committed to Lamar University.

Northern Arizona University got two Gauchos in the 2011 recruiting class. Linebacker Chris Connolly, who had 41 tackles this season and was a second team all-conference selection, will join Johnston at NAU. Linebacker David Belz committed to Chapman College.

Place-kicker Michael Bowlin was named First Team All-National Southern. The former Oregon Duck is heading back to the Pac-12 conference with his commitment to Washington State University.

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