WR/CB Jamel Richardson was certainly not the missing ingredient, however, as he followed up his 2001 first-team All-American freshman campaign with another spectacular year.
HEAD COACH: Dave Hoover (4th season)
2003 OUTLOOK: Although the Rams lose Richardson (whose has taken his considerable talents to the Canadian Football League), VVC may even have more firepower this year. The Rams return four offensive starters and eleven overall. Coach Hoover is excited about this year's wide outs; all four similar in size and athleticism. Ozzie Mathes (6-4, 220) doubles as a player on the VVC basketball team and has 10.8 100-meter speed, according to Hoover. Danny Robinson (6-3, 210) was a FS last year but will shift over to WR this year and is also a grid-hoop athlete for the Rams. Sophomore Marvin Wilkie (6-3, 215) returns to the fold and like Mathes has a track background. Production is also expected from Randy Craig (6-3, 215). "He (Craig) is a freshman from Louisiana and may be the second coming of Jamel. Everyone around here is raving about his ability," Hoover proclaimed.
Getting the ball out to these playmakers is the task of sophomore Scott Jeffries (6-4, 225). The Ohio native started at LB in 2002 but saw action at QB against Grossmont and is more than capable. If freshman Nolan Toftner (Burroughs HS, Ridgecrest) is ready under center for the Rams then, "Jeffries will play somewhere because he is too good an athlete not to be on the field," stated Hoover. To keep defenses honest, VVC will hand the ball off to Zeke Buckhalter (5-11, 180), who rushed for over 700 yards in 2001 but sat out last year. Hoover also raves about the potential of freshman Ryan Gilbert (5-6, 180).
The Rams have talent on the defensive side of the ball as well. "Although we won't have the overall bodies again this year, we are deep and talented on the D-line," Hoover conceded. Jamal Richardson (6-0, 290, Jamel's brother) was an all-league NG last year. Brandon Savage (6-2, 320) is an explosive athlete who started on the o-line last season but will play alongside Richardson in 2003. Outside, Darnell Jordan (6-3, 260) and swift Derrick Jones (6-4, 230) are the rush ends. Whether at RB or LB, Hoover will find a place for freshman Benny Curry (6-0, 230) to play. Curry was a grid-hoop HS star in upstate New York who was said to be Syracuse's #1 RB recruit. Hoover calls Kevin Stanley, "An All-American candidate and my highest recruited athlete." Stanley (6-1, 190) is a cover corner, can return kicks, and can catch passes as a split end and will perform wherever his services are needed (similar to Jamel last season). "Although we were talented last year, this is the only year we have no holes (i.e. obvious weaknesses.) as long as everyone is eligible. We'll still have the same number of players (50-60), but every kid plays and contributes," Hoover said.
FIRST GAME: At home against Citrus College on Sept. 6 (1:00 p.m.).