First, allow me to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Now as a grandfather, this holiday is very special with four grandkids - and one on the way - spending this weekend with me and my wife here in Elk Grove. By the end of next week, they'll all be living here, too, so 2018 will be much different in the Hull House. Looking forward to it, too.
But, I have an announcement for those of you who have been following me here on the Sports Corner for the past 11 years: I will be returning to the role of a columnist at the Elk Grove Citizen effective Jan. 15. I will allow the Citizen to announce the changes of roles there very soon, but I wanted you to know first.
I asked for this change because in these days of websites and social media, the time necessary to run a sports section at a newspaper requires more effort than I have the ability and the time for. Plus, I have the opportunity this coming spring semester to return to teaching at Cosumnes River College, a place I treasure with great students who have a deep desire to pursue careers in radio, television, film and journalism. That requires great preparation for all professors because these students pull knowledge out of you each class.
My "Notebooks" will continue on the pages of the Citizen, but I also want to return to more frequent posts here on the Sports Corner. Continue to follow me on Twitter @EGSportCorner, too. Now to the Notebook on this Christmas weekend:
Early Signing Period
The NCAA opened this past week three days of signing of national letters of intent for football programs and there were some locals that inked with four-year colleges.
Former Elk Grove Hammerhead (offensive lineman) Diego Cervantes who was recently named a JUCO All-American at American River College, signed with Old Dominion. I really like interviewing and talking to Cervantes. He has such a big grin and welcoming personality. Cervantes has grown to 6-2, 280 pounds in his two seasons with the Beavers and will do well playing on the East Coast.
His ARC teammate, quarterback Hunter Rodrigues from Whitney High School, signed with UC-Davis. In fact, the Aggies inked 11 boys to NLI's last week, including Elk Grove defensive back Da'Von Frazier.
Graduating senior Marque Collins, who really shined at wide receiver this past fall at Cosumnes Oaks, inked with Weber State.
Another Beaver, former Pleasant Grove offensive lineman Isaiah Tharp, is headed north to Southern Oregon. Christian MacFarland, an ARC defensive back and former member of the Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack, signed with Idaho State.
The NorCal runner-up Beavers will need to do some recruiting with so many guys moving on to the next level, but knowing recruiting coordinator Ryan "Scooter" Gomes, that won't be an issue. Plenty of talent around our area who want to play at ARC next season.
The "Daily Read"
An added feature for you online readers that I started recently is my "Daily Read." It's an interesting service which compiles links to stories tweeted by people I follow, primarily other journalists, but also some athletes and coaches. HERE is a link to the "Daily Read." If you follow me on Twitter @EGSportsCorner, a link to it appear each morning.
HERE is a link to a Denver Post story about Bronco cornerback Marcus Rios, a former Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack player.
Wedding bells soon for Larson & Sweet
Just saw a tweet from Kyle Larson, Elk Grove's NASCAR Cup driver, that he proposed to long-time girlfriend Katelyn Sweet. The two are now in New Zealand, not just to celebrate the Holidays, but Kyle to race sprint cars (what else?). If he wasn't such a star right now on the Cup series, he'd be back here in Northern California racing sprints. He loves that. But, the big money is driving with Chip Ganassi Racing and it will be that way for many more years.
I briefly met Dick Enberg early on in my broadcasting career when I was with several other journalists touring the pre-season college football camps of the old Western Athletic Conference in the mid-1980's. Enberg passed away earlier this week at the age of 82.
We were in San Diego to visit the Aztecs and were invited by the Chargers to sit in the press box for their pre-season game with the 49ers. The Chargers had Dan Fouts at quarterback and the Niners had Joe Montana, but it was a pre-season contest so the benches were emptied quickly.
After the game, me and a couple fellow, aspiring television guys hurried to the NBC booth to meet Enberg and his color commentator, Merlin Olsen. Enberg was quite gracious, but it was Olsen who hung around with us for quite a while, encouraging us to stay with the business.
Next to Pat Summerall and John Madden, the Enberg/Olsen duo were the best.