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San Diego area Recruits Find Homes at FCS Schools
These California recruits - nine in all - made their college choices on both the East and West coasts.
It’s hard to find a high school football player who doesn’t at some point dream of playing at the next level.
Bonita Vista’s Kyle Kmet was one. So were Chula Vista’s Taylor Julio, Mount Miguel’s Chidozie Ekweozor and Brawley’s Kyle Mohamed.
All four had dreams of continuing their careers at a four-year school. Today, each will sign his name to a national letter of intent and accept a scholarship to play college football.
For these athletes, the best place wasn’t a big-budget school.
The best fit was a program in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
“I’ve heard the stories of guys who go to big schools and they don’t like it,” said Kmet, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman headed to Montana, one of the top FCS programs in the nation. “You’re going up there to play football, but when you’re not playing football, you have to go to school and live in the town. You have to make sure you’ll be OK there as long as you’re committed to play football.
“I can see myself being up there for awhile.”
Kmet said another benefit of an FCS program is the opportunity to step in and contribute sooner than might be possible at a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
FCS schools also are eligible to compete in a true postseason playoff.
“You’ve got to prove yourself on the field,” he said.
Kmet said there is not much disparity between a top FCS program, like Montana, and a mid-or lower-level FBS program. An FCS team beating an FBS team is not all that rare, he added.
A handful of FBS programs were not immune to high-profile upsets last season by FCS schools. Most notable was Appalachian State’s win over Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Julio (6-0, 162), an All-San Diego Section first-team defensive back who also played quarterback for the Spartans last season, will continue his career at Northern Arizona.
Ekweozor (6-6, 290), who led the Matadors to the section semifinals for the first time in 20 years, chose Villanova over Cal, San Diego State and Boise State.
Mohamed (6-2, 190) was a talented two-way starter and among the top academic performers in his class. He will continue his career at Cal Poly.
More are expected to join Football Championship Subdivision programs today as universities announced their recruiting classes on the first day football players can sign letters of intent.
At least four more – La Jolla Country Day’s Andy Altman (Dartmouth), Santa Fe Christian’s Keaton Marks (Cornell), Granite Hills’ Landon Turley (Brown) and Bishop’s Tommy Wornham (Princeton) – will play for nonscholarship Ivy League programs.
Eastlake’s Josh Brechbiel will continue his career at USD, also a nonscholarship program.
Football players find right fit
By Nicole Vargas
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER