By Ray Hamill — Let the countdown begin.
After a three-year hiatus, college football will return to Humboldt County in just 134 days.
And, according to new College of the Redwoods head coach Jason White, preparations are going well, with a few pleasant surprises during the spring football sessions.
“It’s been good,” he said. “It’s been a little limited. We don’t have huge numbers, but we’re getting a lot of quality work in.”
White and his staff have 30 players practicing this spring, with around 85 already signed up for the fall and more expected.
That group includes 37 H-DNL players, including many who have impressed the new head coach through the early going.
“I’m excited about it. We’ve got a lot of quality kids,” White said.
Del Norte’s Levi Cox Cooley, a former Big 5 MVP, and Fortuna’s Levi Nyberg are expected to feature at running back, while Del Norte defensive stalwarts Sam Schauerman and Tanner Forker are also expected to play key roles right off the bat.
Schauerman was co-MVP lineman of the Big 5 this past season and is a rare three-time all-league selection, while Forker is a student of the game and was the best defensive player in the league during the COVID-shortened 2021 spring season when no MVPs were named.
Forker, who also coached the Del Norte JVs to a perfect season this past fall, has missed much of the spring sessions through injury but White knows he’ll be a force in the fall.
“He’s another kid we’re excited about,” the coach said. “His leadership skills are good.”
A couple of local players have also impressed their new coach along the offensive line, with Eureka’s Carlos Duenas and South Fork’s Caleb Wilks both making their presence felt.
“Carlos Duenas looks really good,” said White, who added that Wilks “has got some great potential. I really like what he’s doing.”
Hoopa’s Carlos Aguilar is also expected to play a big role at receiver.
“He’s a college athlete,” White said.
Another former Hoopa Warrior, offensive lineman Weyk-Seyr Hutchinson, will be the team’s only returning player from the 2019 roster and will bring some much-needed leadership to the young squad.
At quarterback, meanwhile, two players have been splitting the reps this spring — Fortuna’s Max Hough and Teagan Gaither from Chief Sealth High in Seattle — and both have impressed White.
“Max Hough is improving every week at quarterback,” the coach said of the 6-foot-3 former Husky, adding that Gaither also has looked good at practice.
All in all, it’s been a productive start for the team.
“We’ve been working on the passing game and running our coverages and those type of things,” White said. “And the guys have got a ton stronger in the weight room.”
For the full schedule, which was released on Wednesday, as well as the full list of local recruits, check out Corsairs release football schedule as 37 local players commit …