16 football players sign to universities

Sixteen student athletes from Pierce’s football program earned scholarships to four-year universities.

Among the 16 scholarships offered so far, 14 are from Division 1 programs, like the University of Miami and Arizona State University.

“It’s not just the coaching,” said Efrain Martinez, head coach of the football team. “We market players better than any other junior college in the country.”

Pierce continues to be one of the top transferring community colleges in Southern California, hitting double-digit numbers in student athlete transfers in the last four years.

“We transfer about 90 to 100 percent of our players. That’s pretty remarkable,” said Martinez. “Fox Sports came to our school because they were amazed at how many Division 1 scholarships we’ve earned.”

Pierce athletes work hard to catch the attention of four-year universities.

“It’s 100 percent you,” said Marquel Combs, one of Pierce’s defensive tackles that committed to the University of Kansas back in December. “You have to come in and do the work.”

Marquel Combs is one of the two players, along with Beau Sandland, that Martinez believes has the ability to make it to the professional level.

“They have the size and the speed,” said Martinez.

Student athletes have the task of juggling both homework and staying in the best shape possible.

“I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” said Combs. “My motto is mind on a million and that’s what I go by.”

Martinez has an intense practice regime derived from that of University of California Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.

“When I seen [UCLA and USC’s practice] it, I thought, ‘I need to bring that to Pierce,’” said Martinez. “I describe it as organized chaos. We go two hours—no more, no less.”

For non-student athletes at Pierce, academic counselors are made available to make sure they are getting the best education possible while pursuing their dream.

“We do a good job with marketing as it relates to athletics,” said Joseph Roberson, a counselor in the Career and Transfer Center. “What concerns me more is how people are doing in terms of finishing their education and moving forward to meaningful opportunities in their life, post the athletics.”

Athletes like Combs already have a plan after their athletic career.

“I will be majoring in business and getting into coaching [after football],” said Combs. “I feel very confident. I like my school.”

Pierce’s football season starts back up in the fall 2013 semester.