Alumni of Santa Clarita Valley schools had a mixed year in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. Some, like College of the Canyons product Tony Dawson and Canyon High product Jonathan Jerozal, had breakout years.
Others, like Valencia High grad Joshua Stanton, missed time because of injuries. Two SCV alumni led their teams to a coveted FCS playoff appearance, but felt the agony of upset losses in the first round.
Here’s a roundup:
Anthony Fowler, Illinois State, junior (COC)
In 11 games for the Redbirds, the junior caught 27 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Illinois State finished 6-6 and lost to Central Arkansas in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
Tony Dawson, Houston Baptist, redshirt senior (COC)
Dawson won a quarterback competition against redshirt junior Max Staver coming out of fall camp. Dawson then completed 131-of-278 pass attempts for 1,702 yards and seven touchdowns. Dawson also had 784 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns this season.
Jonathan Jerozal, Stetson, senior (Canyon High)
Jerozal started all 11 of Stetson’s games for the second straight season. After beginning his college career as a quarterback, Jerozal caught just four passes for 89 yards in his first season as a wide receiver last year. This year Jerozal had 372 yards on 33 catches, and was the third-leading receiver on the team.
Alec Chadwick, Houston Baptist, sophomore (Valencia, COC)
Chadwick transferred to Houston Baptist after a stellar freshman season at College of the Canyons in 2015. He went 21-for-21 on extra point attempts for the Huskies and made 16-of-25 field goals — including a 60-yarder at Incarnate Word on Nov. 17.
Caleb Clarke, Brown University, freshman (Golden Valley)
Clarke did not play during the Bears’ 4-6 season.
Isaiah Foster, Murray State, junior (COC)
Foster had a breakout season with Murray State after transferring from COC last fall. His 55 tackles were the sixth most on the team. Foster also forced one fumble, had one interception and broke up four passes.
Zach Kelley, Coastal Carolina, senior (Valencia, COC)
Kelley saw limited action during his senior season, recording just one tackle in two games played after being hobbled by an early season ankle injury.
Austin Murillo, Coastal Carolina, senior (Hart, COC)
Murillo made 27 total tackles and recovered one fumble in eight games in 2015 and started the final four games at safety. Murillo did not play in 2016.
LJ Mealancon, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, junior (COC)
Mealancon made 43 tackles in two years at COC. The junior defensive lineman played in five games for the Mustangs this season. His two tackles both came in Cal Poly’s 31-24 loss at North Dakota on Oct. 1.
Billy Shipman, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, senior (Valencia)
Shipman started all 12 games for Cal Poly. Shipman helped anchor an offensive line that made Cal Poly’s fourth FCS playoff appearance. The University of San Diego upset Cal Poly 35-21 in the first round of the FCS playoffs Nov. 26.
Blake Porter, Northern Arizona, junior (Hart)
Porter came into the season as the top center on Northern Arizona’s depth chart. He started all 11 games for the Lumberjacks’ high-powered offense in their 5-6 season. NAU quarterbacks passed for a total of 3,514 yards. The Lumberjacks also rushed for 1,765 yards.
Joshua Stanton, Sacramento State, sophomore (Valencia)
Stanton made 23 tackles as a defensive lineman at Los Angeles Valley College in 2015 before transferring to Sacramento State this fall. He missed the entire 2016 season due to injury.
Connor Wingenroth, Colgate, junior (Hart)
Wingenroth, a junior wide receiver, played just three games and caught just two passes for 16 yards in 2016. In 2015 Wingenroth caught 11 passes for 150 yards.