Three Oak Ridge athletes sign letters of intent

By: Matt Long
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team had an explosive offense that averaged nearly 36 points per game this year and today three players featured in that offense accepted scholarships. Oak Ridge senior quarterback Will Tostenson, running back Jordan Matanane and wide receiver Willie Tucker signed letters of intents to attend colleges: Tostenson to Azusa Pacific, Matanane to Sacramento State and Tucker to Cal Poly. In a signing ceremony in the multi-purpose room, the three seniors signed the dotted line in front of friends, family, Oak Ridge administrators and media. “This is a special day for three players and their families and a lot of hard work has gone into them being here,” Oak Ridge High Athletic Director Steve White said. “I’m very proud of what they’ve done on the field and off.” Oak Ridge football coach Eric Cavaliere echoed White’s comments. “It’s very difficult to get athletic scholarships in this day and age,” Cavaliere said. “These guys are not only great athletes but they’re also excellent students and citizens. I’m very proud of them. “It’s very difficult to get a scholarship without that big, breakout junior season because without it you’re not on the college coaches’ radar, but these guys had great senior years.” Cavaliere said the players’ accomplishments speak for themselves, as each player put up some impressive numbers. Tostenson completed 66 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,616 yards and 32 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Matanane rushed for 1,379 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Tucker caught 55 balls for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. Assistant football coach Mark Watson also spoke about the players. “There has been a lot of great receivers to come through Oak Ridge and Willie is a big part of that,” Watson said. “Jordan has had more than 3,000 yards of offense in three years and didn’t fumble the ball one time his senior year. Will had phenomenal numbers and came back from the Pleasant Grove game where the offense struggled and finished with strong performances against Jesuit, Folsom and Lincoln of Stockton.” For their part, the athletes are thrilled to have their futures planned. “I chose Azusa Pacific because it’s a Christian college and I have a strong religious background,” Tostenson said. “It seems like a good fit for me.” Tostenson said Azusa Pacific has a senior quarterback but after next year the position should be open. He plans to study psychology. Matanane is happy to be at Sac State. “It’s an up-and-coming program and that’s what sold me to that school,” Matanane said. “They have a good recruiting class and I’m glad to be apart of it. It felt like home being there.” Matanane said he plans to study business. Tucker also plans to study business or marketing at Cal Poly. “It’s an awesome environment down there,” Tucker said. “It’s a college town and I just love that feeling. The coaches and players were great too.” Tucker said the team is graduating four senior receivers and only has about six receivers on the roster with no experience, so the opportunity is there for Tucker to step in and perhaps make an early impact.