By Nicholas Peralta
Three former Riverside City College football players are going to the NFL.
Despite all athletes going un-drafted in the National Football League’s most recent draft, alumni Isaac Whitney, Skyler Howard and Ryan Navarro were picked up by pro teams following the draft and will look to compete in the 2017 NFL season.
Wide receiver Isaac Whitney graduated in 2014 and went on to play football for USC. Whitney did not see much action for the Trojans during his short stint despite being a highly touted prospect due to his time at RCC. Injuries and an impressive depth chart kept Whitney’s playing time down.
He amassed eight catches and two touchdowns in 18 games with USC. Whitney’s low number of stats kept him off the draft boards this year.
However, Whitney has since signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent, announcing the news himself on Twitter before the Conquest Chronicles got the official confirmation from the Raiders on March 28.
Whitney had an incredible showing at this year’s USC pro day. Pro day in college football is essentially a working practice day that quantifies a player’s overall athletic ability. Excelling at most of the pro day activities, Isaac turned heads, catching the attention of the Raiders who are coached by USC alum Jack Del Rio.
Also signing with the Oakland Raiders is former RCC long snapper Ryan Navarro. Navarro spent two years at RCC before transferring to Oregon State prior to the 2015 season.
As an OSU Beaver, Navarro played in all 24 games during his junior and senior season. Navarro was hardly the stereotypical long snapper though, as he was often seen flying downfield in an effort to make tackles on the opposing team’s punt returner. He managed to record six tackles over his two seasons in Oregon State.
Should Navarro make the final team roster, he’ll be playing near his hometown of Murrieta, California, and alonside enigmatic kicker Marquette King. Probably the most prolific signing came from West Virginia University after former RCC Quarterback Skyler Howard signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
“He’s a mad bomber, man,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in an interview with ESPN. “He threw a ton of deep balls. He goes downtown. A real resourceful kid, active on the field. Moves around well, but man he can bomb it. He hooked up a bunch this past season. It’s all over the highlights.”
During his time at RCC, Howard passed for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. This impressive seasonal showing saw him move to West Virginia University to compete as a Mountaineer. At WVU, Howard threw 52 touchdowns and 24 interceptions the past two seasons for the Mountaineers. He completed 61.1percent of his passes and averaged 8.2 yards per attempt last season. Howard also ran for 16 touchdowns
Like all un-drafted free agents, former RCC Tigers Whitney, Howard and Navarro have a long, difficult road ahead of them if they are going to make the final roster in the NFL.