PROSPECT & TEAM PREVIEW: East Los Angeles Huskies

After finishing the 2000 season at 7-3 and going to their own bowl game the Huskies were very disappointed with the results of last season. East L.A. finished with a 2-8 record and were left watching two other teams compete in the CHP's for Kids Bowl in 2001. Head Coach Rick Gamboa has better plans in store for his team this season.

"It was kind of rough to do all of the preliminary work and all the detail work to host a bowl game and not be able to play in it (last year)…I think we have the kind of kids, talent, depth, and the speed to be able to compete for a conference championship.  I'm not saying were the guys (to beat) I just think we're good enough," said Gamboa.

The Huskies appear to be loaded at the skill positions this year as well as the front lines.  Many people who attended the JCFootball.com SoCal combine in May can attest to the excellent play at cornerback for East L.A.  With only three starters coming back on the offense and four on the defense East L.A. will be an untested team in the early going.  Here are the players making headway for the 2002 season:

Quarterback

Tom McDougall (6-2, 205) Redshirt -FR
Notes: Played in 2000 season as SS Expected to be the starter

John Tuttle (6-2, 210) FR
Notes: San Mereno HS. Played in Cleveland Indians organization in AA and AAA last 4 years

Oliver Taamu (6-2, 205) FR
Notes: From American Samoa.

Running Back

Anthony Bryant (5-9, 185) FR
Notes: American Samoa. Runs 4.45 40. "He fits perfectly in our single-back multiple-receiver offense."

John Radney (5-9, 185) FR
Notes: Comes to ELAC from Henry Ford HS in Detroit. Good scat-back, with nice hands out of the backfield.

Wide Receiver / Tight End

Gamboa says, "We are loaded at the receiver spot.  There are some universities that wish they had our receivers."

Chris Carson (6-2, 190) SO
Notes: Heavily recruited.  Some the schools include Michigan State, Oregon, SDSU, and UNLV.

Donva Louder (6-2, 205) SO
Notes: Banning HS. Heavily recruited.  LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M among those showing interest.

Jonathon Ligons (5-10 1/4, 155) FR
Notes: Centennial HS. Originally signed at San Jose State but didn't play.  Walked on in the spring.

Chris Grimpel (5-8, 165) FR
Notes: Alhambra HS. Runs approximately 4.4 in 40.

TE Pete Mora (6-4, 270) FR
Notes: Garfield HS. Has been out of football for two years.

TE Mark Padilla (6-3, 255) FR
Notes: Salesian HS.

Offensive Line

"They're big kids but they are all athletic and can move," commented Gamboa.

OT Joegreg Montana (6-3, 310) SO
Notes: Graduates in Dec. '02. Recruited by Stanford and Cal.

C Eddie Casillas (6-3, 285) SO
Notes: All-Conference guard last year moves to center.

OT Chris Falls (6-6, 310) FR
Notes: Fremont HS grad.

OT Stanley Apted (6-5, 295) FR
Notes: American Samoa. Graduates in Dec. ‘02.

OG Frank Baca (6-3, 295) SO
Notes: Transfer from Glendale.

PK

"I think we have one of the better kickers in the state."

Johnny Wilaikul (5-10, 165) SO
Notes: Returning starter. Graduates Dec '02 with 3.3 GPA. Last season: extra points, 10-10 & FG's, 14-19

Defensive Line

Nathaniel Lauifi (6-2, 275) FR
Notes: Carson HS. Extremely quick off of the ball and could play LB as well.

Sam Pomele (6-2, 295) FR
Notes: Gardena HS.

Michael Hogue (6-2, 265) FR
Notes: St. John Bosco HS.

DE Isley Carter (6-3, 245) FR
Notes: Dorsey HS. Played LB in high school.  Runs about a 4.6 in the 40

Linebacker

ILB Roy Otis (6-1, 230) SO
Notes: Backup QB last season.

Jamal Moore (6-1, 235) FR
Notes: Dorsey HS.

OLB Wahi Traylor (6-2, 230) SO
Notes: Returning starter.

OLB Mark Toeaina (6-5, 250) FR
Notes: From American Samoa.

Defensive Backs

CB Irwin Benjamin (6-0, 195) SO
Notes: Centennial HS. Runs 4.45 in the 40.

CB Donnie Johnson (6-0, 210) SO
Notes: Was a sprint champion at Gardena HS. Heavily recruited by Nebraska.  Runs 4.3 in the 40.

CB Byron Green (5-10, 180) SO
Notes: Runs 4.4 in the 40.

These three players are competing for two spots.  However, all three can be on the field with the nickel package.

S Victor Alexandria (6-5, 195) SO
Notes: Returning starter.

The Huskies are a young but talented squad and Coach Gamboa feels that they have worked well together in the off-season.  "We haven't given them much time off so I think that has kind of helped.  They seem to be a dedicated group and a serious group so that's good," said Gamboa. 

Coach Gamboa has added Steve Ruedaflores to the coaching staff as the defensive line coach.  He was previously with Glendale College.  His biggest asset may be on the recruiting end.  "I think one day some Division I school is going to wake up and say, ‘Gosh there's this wonderful recruiter down there at East L.A. College and we better take him,'" said Gamboa.  Javier Cid, who was a defensive coordinator at Cathedral High School last year, will coach the LB's.  Ed Elias is the offensive line coach and, according to Gamboa, likes what he has to work with.  "He has smile from ear to ear every time he looks at his offensive line."  Elias returns after working in high school administration for the last few years.

The Huskies are young, talented, and hungry.  Time will tell how this group will mesh and whether it can bounce back from a bad season last year.  The clock begins ticking on September 14 at Orange Coast College.


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