Five other members from Carson High’s 2014 championship football team have declared their intentions of moving on to the next level.
Fullback Nevin Elliott has decided to pursue a preferred walk-on offer at the University of Nevada, defensive back Andrew Gutierrez and quarterback Garrett Schafer are going to Monterey Peninsula College, running back Joey Thurman is headed to Yuba College and defensive end Ryan Doherty is headed to Division III Redlands University.
Previously, tackle-guard Aaron Cowee accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Nevada.
Schafer passed for 1,744 yards and 19 scores a year ago in helping the Senators to a 9-3 record and Sierra League championship. AT MPC, he’ll play for former Saint Mary’s head coach Mike Rasmussen, who has made several stops in college football. Rasmussen was an offensive player in college.
“I went on a visit, met the coaches and took a tour of the campus,” Schafer said. “Coach Rasmussen sat down with me and told me what he saw in me. I felt confidence (after that). They run a pro-style offense with 50 percent out of the shotgun and 50 percent under center. They will change depending on the situation or who they are playing, but they still split up (where they are taking the snaps from).”
Carson head coach Blair Roman believes it’s a good move for Schaffer.
“I think it’s the right way to go,” Roman said. “He has a lot of development ahead of him. Physically he’s already developed a lot the past two years.”
Roman pointed out that Nevada is an under recruited area. Jeff Rowe (McQueen, Nevada) and Spanish Springs’ Hunter Fralick (Nevada) are the only quarterbacks to stay home in the last 10 years.
Several good quarterbacks, including Brian Reader (2008, went to Idaho), Dustin Long (2004, Weber State) Anthony Garnett (2002, Cal-Poly SLO) and Daniel Connors (2010, Southwest Baptist University), have gone through the MPC program.
Schaffer will be joined at MPC by Gutierrez. Schafer said having Gutierrez there could help with the transition.
Gutierrez, a two-year starter at defensive back for CHS, had 64 tackles, a team-leading four interceptions, six passes defensed and a caused fumble. At MPC, he’ll be moved to free safety. He originally was looking at Feather River and rooming with ex-teammate Logan Peternell, but changed his mind and went to MPC instead.
“I just liked the atmosphere,” Gutierrez said. “The college is really pretty. I’m excited to get there. The coaches told me I’d have a chance to compete (to start) if I went down there to their summer football camp which I’m going to do. I get to play free safety which I will like a lot.”
“Andrew has a lot of potential,” Roman said. “He had a really good year for us. It’s a great opportunity for him to be looked at to play at the DII level. Teams are always looking for a good cover guy to play free safety. Against good passing teams, you have to have good cover safeties.”
Elliott, who rushed for a team-leading 1,040 yards and 14 scores, was getting some interest from Sacramento State and Pueblo in Colorado. He chose Nevada instead of going the JC route.
“They ended up picking up (an in-state) running back,” Elliott said. “It was cheaper for them. I started talking to UNR about walking on. I talked to all the coaches; talked to coach (Mike) Bradeson (area recruiting coordinator).I’m going there as a running back. If I moved over to defense I would go to outside linebacker.”
Elliott won’t report for practice until the first day of school.
“Nevin has wanted to play at the highest level possible,” Roman said. “He’ll have a couple of years to mature physically.”
Doherty was a solid contributor at defensive end, with 36 tackles, a team-leading five sacks and a fumble recovery.
The Carson senior is excited about his new team. Redlands runs a 3-3-5 which Rocky Long employed so well at the University of New Mexico.
“They see me (starting) at defensive end,” Doherty said. “They want me as a weak-side pass rusher which I’m excited about. They showed me their scheme. They feel I fit with their scheme. The coaches broke down in groups and showed stuff.”
“I visited there about a month ago. They have a nice practice field; a nice campus.”
Roman raved about Doherty’s consistency throughout the season.
“I talked to the Redlands coach, and they liked Ryan’s physical appearance,” Roman said. “They will be able to put more weight on him, and get him bigger and stronger.”
Thurman was one of Roman’s most versatile players over the past three seasons. He ran the ball, caught the ball, returned kicks and even threw the ball with success this past season. Thurman gained 901 yards rushing with 11 scores, while catching a team-leading 20 balls for 257 yards and three scores from his wing-back position. He also had 597 return yards and completed all four of his passing attempts for 128 yards. He also had 38 tackles, an interception and fumble recovery,
Thurman was going to originally attend Willamette, but opted for Yuba instead.
“I’m hoping to get to a D-2 school after a season at Yuba,” Thurman said. “If I’d gone to Willamette I would have had to stay all our years. Both schools had pros and cons. They want to use me as a kick returner, a punt returner and play some slot receiver. I’m in love with that idea. I just love to return kicks. Kick-off returns and punt returns have always been my very favorite things to do.”
“I think Joey has a legitimate shot (to move on),” Roman said. “He has a lot of athletic ability. He has an opportunity to prove himself and get looked at.”