Travis West | Sports Editor
Football has returned to the Riverside City College campus and with that brings freshly cut grass and sounds of football echoing throughout campus.
When the Tigers last left the field it was with a 34-23 win over LA Harbor in the Garden State Bowl.
Since then, the Tigers have lost 23 players. That does not include the eight pending offers other players had from various schools. For many schools that would be a huge hole to fill, but because of the reputation head coach Tom Craft has built, players come from all over to play here in Riverside.
Over the break it was even rumored that former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson had visited the campus. Those rumors were soon shot down by Craft, stating that the rumors were just not true.
Golson played in the BCS National Championship game where his team fell short to Alabama. Although Golson would have been a very nice addition, Craft thinks that second year quarterback, Tyler Shreve is capable of taking command of his offense. His offensive line in front of him is one of the better lines in junior college. Shreve will have plenty of time to get his read correct and make an accurate throw.
Shreve is imposing to say the least, standing at 6 foot 4 inches 230 pounds the quarterback looks ready to take control of the team physically. From the walkway above the football team’s practice field, the voice shouting is that of Shreve’s, directing and giving out orders.
He looks as if he has done it plenty times before. A couple of key pieces the Tigers will be missing were key contributors last season. Gus Penning had 34 receptions for three touchdowns and 425 yards, ranking him third in the ESPN Junior College Tight End rankings. Penning committed to the university of Baylor where he will play Div. I football.
Another player who helped the Tigers win numerous games now attends the school with the blue field, Boise State. Kicker Tyler Rausa was near perfect in point after attempts and converted 15 out of 20 kicks with a long of 48 yards.
There is no doubt that filling those holes will be a problem for the Tigers, however, incoming freshmen have showed promise in the off season activities. Along with the new freshman joining the team, the Tigers have seven players who have been tagged as potential Div. I prospects.
On that list are three wide receivers, two offensive lineman, a running back and a kicker. All of these players are expected to make an impact right away. The Tigers have been hard at work, getting their timing and conditioning ready for the season. At the start of last season the Tigers were arguably the best team in the state and ranked nationally, finishing the year fourth in the state.
This expectation has risen the bar for the Tiger’s football program and makes players worked harder. Players know that if they perform well here they will have a good opportunity to move on to play at a bigger school and further their education. The Tigers open the season at home on Sept. 7 when they face off against Ventura College.