Now that football season is officially over for Cal Poly, I put together a three-part blog series discussing what’s next for the program.
Over the next few days, you’ll see posts covering the professional prospects of some of the outgoing players, a breakdown of who’s coming back, plus the positions of need and a look ahead to who might be signing with the Mustangs in February.
To start, we’ll break down the football future of a couple of key contributors.
In a class of 17 seniors, less than half ended up being full-time starters or major contributors. That seems to bode well for the future. There are a lot of guys sticking around.
Jordan Yocum (FB), Will Mitchell (G), James Chen (DT), and Scottie Cordier (S) were all multi-year starters and will be missed, but receiver Dominique Johnson and linebacker Marty Mohamed will probably leave the biggest voids.
They also have the best shots at becoming pros.
“DJ will definitely get a chance,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said. “Marty will give every effort to give it a chance. They’re going to have to be the right fit for the right team. People might say Marty’s undersized.”
Mohamed is listed at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, which would put him on the smaller end of the spectrum in the NFL. There are smaller guys playing, and starring, on Sundays. Walsh points to two guys he sent from Portland State as examples of undersized linebackers with some longevity.
Adam Hayward (6-1, 240) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been in the NFL since 2007, as has Jordan Senn (5-11, 224) of the Carolina Panthers since 2008.
Mohamed, a Brawley High graduate and cousin of ideally sized linebacker Mike Mohamed (6-3, 245) of Cal, is one of the most prolific tacklers in Cal Poly’s Division I history. After this season, Marty ranks fifth in both total tackles (292) and solo tackles (144) in a career.
Most recently, Mohamed compares favorably to former Cal Poly standout Mark Restelli (6-2, 215), who left Cal Poly sixth in both career total tackles (267) and solo tackles (137) in 2008 before being passed by Mohamed in both this season.
Restelli has spent the past two years with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
If Mohamed does not get a chance to stick in the NFL — heck, even Buck Buchanan Award winner Kyle Shotwell had trouble finding a home — you’ve got to think he has the talent to at least join Restelli in Canada if he wants to cross the other border. (Brawley is only about 30 minutes from Mexico.)
Johnson’s had some impact on the Cal Poly record books, too, thought not as much as predecessor Ramses Barden of the New York Giants.
Johnson did break Barden’s single-game receiving touchdowns record when he snagged five against South Dakota in 2009, his first season with the Mustangs after transferring from UCLA.
In two seasons, Johnson had 1,275 yards — just enough to land him in Cal Poly’s top 10 since moving to Division I in 1994 — and 10 touchdowns, which tie him for seventh with five others. All that was despite suffering a partially dislocated shoulder in his junior season.
At 6-4, 225 pounds, Johnson has a similar frame to Barden and a similar issue dogging him as he leaves college. Barden (6-6, 227) had to prove that he was speedy enough with the stop-clock running before being picked in the third round in 2009.
Johnson could have to do the same, but he’d still be an intriguing pickup.
“I would be totally shocked if DJ didn’t get an opportunity,” Walsh said. “Somebody’s going to like size and his hands and his routerunning.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach along time, and you’re not going to find a guy that has better hands than he has.”