By Ray Hamill — A recent push to tap into the coastal talent is paying off for Shasta College football.
Second-year head coach Bryon Hamilton is well aware of the pool of players on the North Coast — with five teams here making the state playoffs in recent years — and he has made it one of his priorities to get as much of it as he can.
“Last year we made a conscious effort to get over to the coast and talk to some of the coaches over there,” Hamilton said. “We’ve recruited that area quite a bit in the past, but we renewed our interest last year.”
It’s a strategy that is paying huge dividends for the Knights, with at least six H-DNL players expected on their roster this coming fall.
And they’re getting some of the top talent too.
Last season they brought Fortuna’s Cory Johnson on board and the former Husky standout has benefited from a red-shirt season in Redding.
“He’s one of our best offensive linemen,” Hamilton said. “We expect him to be Division-I talent.”
This spring, Hamilton has already received multiple H-DNL commitments, including three of the best defensive players on the North Coast, Del Norte’s Anthony Slayton and Eli Larson, and St. Bernard’s Justin Hagler.
Eureka’s Josiah Graham has also committed to play for the Knights, as has teammate Antorious Bell.
“We’ve got some exciting guys, especially on the defensive side,” Hamilton said.
Graham, a playmaking receiver for the Loggers, is expected to have an impact on a pass-friendly offense.
“He’s an exciting football player,” Hamilton said of Graham, who made multiple big plays in his junior and senior seasons.
Shasta assistant coach Dan Lewis has overseen much of the coastal recruiting, and has been in regular contact with a number of the players here, showcasing the program’s interest.
“There’s good football players over there,” Hamilton said.