By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A trio of Santa Rosa Junior College football players is moving up to the major college ranks.
Old Dominion University is bringing in linemen Ely Anderson and Chris Smith to help lead the Monarchs’ burgeoning program.
New Mexico State added wide receiver Jordan Bergstrom.
All three committed during the early signing period this week.
“It’s very exciting. That’s big time football,” Anderson said.
Out of Montgomery High, Anderson is a 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive lineman. A top prospect coming off his first season at SRJC, Anderson sat out the 2012 season to recover from surgery for a dislocated knee cap.
Despite the injury, Anderson still drew interest from Liberty, North Dakota and Weber State, among others. Anderson stayed with his first choice, Old Dominion.
“I’ve always known how great the program was. They win,” he said.
Old Dominion, in Norfolk, Va., launched its football program four seasons ago. The Monarchs went 11-2 this season, reaching the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Old Dominion moves to Conference USA in NCAA Division I for 2013.
The promise of playing major football powers attracted Smith.
“Old Dominion seems like it’s on the rise,” he said.
A defensive lineman from Santa Rosa High, the 6-2, 300-pound Smith was an All-NorCal Conference player at SRJC.
After two seasons with the Bear Cubs, Smith weighed offers from Southeastern Louisiana and North Dakota before choosing Old Dominion. The coaching staff and campus setting were selling points.
“I feel like I fit in there,” Smith said. “I don’t like sitting on the bench. So I’m going to fight for a starting spot.”
Also making the NorCal team from SRJC was Bergstrom, a wide receiver from Clackamas, Ore.
Bergstrom, a 5-11, 175-pound offensive standout for the Bear Cubs, will battle for a starting spot at New Mexico State, in Las Cruces, N.M.