It was quite a night for the Oklahoma Sooners and for former Pleasant Grove wide receiver Jalen Saunders. Playing Jan. 2 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Sooners upset Alabama, 45-31, with Saunders scoring a pair of touchdowns on pass receptions.
In his final collegiate game, the speedster caught five balls for 75 yards including TD receptions of eight and of 43 yards.
|Oklahoma's Jalen Saunders hugs Sooner coach|
Bob Stoops following a touchdown Thursday during
the Sugar Bowl
He finished the year as the Sooners’ top receiver with 61 catches, the 13th best all-time at Oklahoma. He also returned two punts for touchdown this season.
Saunders will be playing later this month in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and then probably attend the NFL Combine in preparation for the pro draft in April.
CBS Sports.com rates him as the 23rd best wide receiver prospect coming out of college this year. The site has projected Saunders as a fifth-round draft choice.
Saunders was one of Pleasant Grove’s top players when the Eagles won the Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 2009.
Former EGHS Football/Basketball Star Dies
A key member of Elk Grove High School’s football and basketball teams of the late 90’s, Jeremy Callaway, died Jan. 3 at the age of 32. The cause of death isn’t known exactly but he was being treated for cancer of the colon.
In the Herd’s high-powered teams of 1997 and 1998, Callaway was a key slot receiver who scored 20 TD’s in 1998 and also played linebacker alongside Lance Briggs. He went on to play at Sacramento State.
On the basketball court he was one of Coach Todd Reiswig’s top defensive players.
Callaway lived in North Carolina and leaves behind a wife and a child.
Football Recruiting Now In High Gear
It’s just inside of a month before we know exactly, but there is a decent chance there will be a good number of Elk Grove-area high school football players signing NCAA National Letters-of-Intent with a college program.
Already verbally committed is a pair of Cosumnes Oaks players, Alex Van Dyke and Kameron Schroeder. Van Dyke, a talented wide receiver, will ink with UCLA while Schroeder, a big offensive lineman, will be heading to Duke.
Their coach, Ryan Gomes, has indicated a few other seniors will likely sign letters to play college football, but it’s still a little early to know for certain.
Pleasant Grove wide receiver/safety Wyatt Demps has committed to play at Nevada-Reno. Linebacker Earl Chism is headed to the Ivy League and will play for Yale.
Running back Brandon Lewis and quarterback Dre Terrell may also play at the next level.
Franklin head coach Mike Johnson says his top player of this past season, linebacker Joey Banks, has offers on the table from both Northern Arizona and Sacramento State.
Elk Grove’s top running back, Wadus Parker, may be headed to the community college ranks. Linebacker Noah Letuligasenoa would love to join older brother Josh at Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo. Oldest brother Lefi is graduating this spring after starting four years on the Mustangs’ offensive line.
Herd head coach Chris Nixon says Lefi is being asked to remain at Cal Poly to coach the offensive line next season.
All graduating high school seniors may begin to sign National Letters-of-Intent on Feb. 5.
Cosumnes River College Opens Practice
Record-breaking warm weather in early 2014 has been very helpful for Cosumnes River College baseball coach Tony Bloomfield. His squad began drills for the coming baseball season this week with a familiar face taking over as the school’s pitching coach.
Former Laguna Creek High School and Sacramento River Cats’ pitcher Brad Kilby has taken over the reigns and will have several familiar faces to coach. Josh Pigg and Kyle Von Ruden, who Kilby coached at Franklin High School, return for their second year with the Hawks. Also returning is former Pleasant Grove Eagle Zack Stilwell.
Joining the CRC pitching staff this spring will be Elk Grove graduate David Smith.
Bloomfield had a bit of a welcoming surprise a few weeks ago when former Wildcat first baseman Tyler Blake decided to switch from Sacramento State to CRC.
The Hawks were the California Community College State Champions in 2012.
Herd Grapplers Perform Well In Chico
The Elk Grove wrestling squad did quite well last weekend at the Joe Rios Memorial Tournament in Chico. The Herd put seven wrestlers into the top eight of their weight group.
Also doing well was Ponderosa with 13 grapplers in the top eight. Del Oro placed 12 of their wrestlers at the meet.
For Elk Grove, freshman Jacob Seto was fourth at 106 pounds. Another freshman, Rodger Monroe, placed second at 113 pounds.
At 120 pounds, Jesse Arroyo was sixth. Kelani Tonge was fourth at 126. J.R. Rosales placed sixth at 182 pounds.
Taking fourth at 220 pounds was Thomas Aquila. Heavyweight Marcus Worthy was fourth in his weight group.