By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
For The Signal
The College of the Canyons football team will be represented at the 2019 NFL Draft with former Cougar wide receiver Marquise Brown widely expected to be chosen during Thursday night’s opening round.
Brown played at College of the Canyons in 2016 before earning a full scholarship to Oklahoma University. His freshman campaign with the Cougars was highlighted by 12 total touchdowns (10 receiving, one kick return and one punt return) and 1,341 all-purpose yards in 10 games.
He finished the year with a team-high 50 receptions for 754 receiving yards, good for an average of 15.1 yards per catch. Brown also recorded 402 kick return yards for an average of 30.9 yards per return, and 182 punt return yards with an average of 20.2 yards per return.
At season’s end he was named a Southern California Football Association (SCFA) All-Conference First-Team selection.
The speedy and ultra-talented receiver then took his talents to Norman, OK where he had the opportunity to catch passes from back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and helped the Sooners win two Big 12 championships and make consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff in 2017 and again a season ago.
“We could not be prouder of all that Marquise has accomplished the last two years,” said COC football head coach Ted Iacenda, about the player from Hollywood, Florida that wasn’t widely recruited out of high school before turning heads for the Cougars.
“Now this storybook college career will be capped when he is selected in the first round of the NFL draft,” added Iacenda. “You could not write a better fairytale than this one.”
Brown will be among the 22 players attending Thursday night’s ceremonies in Nashville, Tennesee. Included in that group are just two wide receivers, with Brown joined by Ole Miss wide receiver D.K Metcalf.
Also joining Brown in Nashville will be Iacenda, who was invited to attend the draft ceremonies as a guest to the wide receiver that draft pundits have continually described as “dynamic” and “explosive” with “second-gear speed” and “reliable hands.”
“I’m truly humbled and honored that Marquise has invited me to take part in this magical moment,” said Iacenda upon arriving in Nashville. “Our entire program is thrilled to be able watch him continue his journey at the next level, and I have a feeling the best is yet to come.”
While the COC football program has a long history of seeing its former players move on to the professional ranks, Brown will become the first former Cougar to be drafted since tight end Mychal Rivera was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.
Other former Cougars who have heard their name called on draft day include current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (COC 2007), 13-year veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko (COC 2002-03) who played with the Denver Broncos last season and is currently a free agent, retired defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga (COC 1999-00) and retired running back J.J. Arrington (2001-02), who left Canyons as perhaps the most accomplished player in program history.
Pierre was selected by the New York Giants with the No.15 overall pick in 2010. The San Francisco 49ers took Sopoaga in the fourth round in 2004, and the Cincinnati Bengals picked Peko in the fourth round in 2006. Arrington went 44th overall in the second round to the Arizona Cardinals in 2005.
Former Cougars Justin Tryon (NY Giants), Troy Nolan (Houston Texans) and Joey LaRocque (Chicago Bears) who all played on the program’s 2004 National Championship Team are also included on that list of COC draftees.
Additionally, a number of former Cougars have gone on to sign NFL free agent contracts after not being drafted by a franchise. Included on that list are current New York Jets wide receiver/ kick returner Tim White (COC 2012 & 2014) and veteran journeyman offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann (COC 2009) who went on to win Super Bowl rings with both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots as a practice squad player.
Cougar Track & Field Makes Push for WSC Title
The Cougars’ men’s track & field team finished the first day of the Western State Conference (WSC) Prelims & Championships second in the team standings with freshman Jordan Palmer having already claimed an individual title in the shot put.
Palmer’s throw of 14.94m (49’ 0.25”) easily topped the field to give COC 10 early event points and Palmer a WSC championship. The freshman is also expected to contend for the regional and state shot put championship later this season. He later finished runner-up in the discus at 44.64m (146’ 5”), good for eight more event points and the No. 11 ranked throw in the state so far this season.
Canyons scored points in the long jump with Delon Buncio (6.57m/21’ 6.75”) and Andrew Mercado (6.51m/21’ 4.25”) taking fifth and sixth, respectively. Both will join Palmer in moving on to compete at the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championships next month.
The long jump, shot put, and discus were among the five events that crowned a champion during last week’s meet at Santa Barbara City College. All other events served as prelims for the WSC Finals to be held at Moorpark College on Friday.
The Cougars will have athletes competing in 17 spots across 13 events. COC (25) currently trails only West L.A. College (38) heading into the finals portion of the meet. Moorpark (24), Bakersfield (23), Cuesta (22), Glendale (20) and Ventura (19) follow closely in what Canyons head coach Lindie Kane predicted would be a very closely contested meet.
COC women’s team scored four points with sophomore Amanda Finn’s fifth-place run in the 10,000m (43:41.98). She will also move on to compete at the CCCAA Southern California Regionals. The Lady Cougars are currently eighth in the standings but have secured 12 qualifying spots in eight events at Friday’s meet.
COC Swim Enters Postseason with Five State Qualifiers
Canyons swim & dive is sending five swimmers to the CCCAA State Championships next month after wrapping its regular season at the three-day WSC Championships last weekend.
COC’s men’s team finished sixth in the team standings but swam fast enough to advance to the state championship in a school-record nine events. A total of five COC student-athletes will compete.
The Cougars qualified in four relay events (400-yard medley, 200-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle, 800-yard freestyle) in addition to seeing sophomore Rowdy Feather (200-yard IM, 400-yard IM, 200-yard backstroke) and freshman Emilio Santoyo (200-yard IM, 100-yard backstroke) both move on to compete as individuals.
Feather, who competed locally for Canyon High School, won an individual conference title in the 200-yard backstroke at a time of 1:54.58 to best the field by four seconds.
He also finished runner-up in both the 400-yard IM (4:15.83) and 200-yard IM (1:56.86) to end the meet with a team-high 54 event points. That mark ranked fifth among the conference’s 104 entries, with four swimmers tied for the meet lead at 57 points. His time in the 200-yard IM also represented a new school record.
In 2018 Feather won an individual conference title in the 400-yard IM.
Santoyo scored points for the Cougars with his third-place result in the 100-yard backstroke (52.93). The former Hart High swimmer also took fourth in the 400-yard IM (4:28.73).
Sophomore Kenny Payne came away with a pair of third place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle (5:02.75) and 1,650-yard freestyle (17:55.08). Payne also joined with Santoyo, Miguel Martinez and Feather to place fourth in the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:26.65) and qualify for the state meet in that event.
The combination of Santoyo, Feather, Martinez and Ian Werner made a splash by finishing second and setting a new school record in the 400-yard medley relay (3:33.85). Later, the same combination was fourth in the 200-yard version of the event (1:37.52).
Highlights from COC’s women’s team included the fourth place time turned in by freshman Kaley Gregory in the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.76). Freshman Kendra Marquez-Barrett took seventh (1:07.34) in the same event. Former Saugus swimmer Hana Hattori was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle (26.01) and Jackie Esse was 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:15.73).
The 2019 CCCAA Swim & Dive State Championship meet will be held May 2-4 at De Anza College in Cupertino.
Men’s Golf Conference Crown Up for Grabs
The Cougars remain in first place in the WSC team standings after finishing runner up at the conference event hosted by Glendale College at Oakmont Country Club on Monday.
COC freshman Anguerrand Voisin tied for medalist honors with his two-over-par round of 74, and Jules Lavigne tied for third overall at 75. Tom Sims carded a 78 figure into the dy’s scoring. Cougars Matthew Mansholt, Nobuhiko Wakaari and James Wilkes each shot a round of 80, with one of those scores eventually dropped from the final five-man tally.
Canyons (387) was runner-up to event winner Santa Barbara (381). Host Glendale (391) was third followed by Ventura (405) in the fourth spot.
SBCC (66-6) has now won two straight WSC events to pull within a game of first place Canyons (67-5). The Cougars have won nine straight conference titles dating back to 2010.
The 2019 regular season concludes at the WSC Finals on April 29, at Soule Park in Ojai. The 36-hole event is scheduled to tee off at 7 a.m. and will determine both a conference champion and player of the year.