Boschetti enjoying ride — however unexpected

Ryan Boschetti wasn’t even sure he wanted to continue playing football after undergoing shoulder surgery following his senior season at Carlmont High School in 1999.

But after being persuaded by College of San Mateo recruiting coordinator-defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch and coach Larry Owens, what followed was “probably the best time I’ve had in my career.”

Now a defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins, Boschetti spent 1999-2001 with the Bulldogs developing his strength and technique, improving his grades and helping turn CSM into one of the top teams in NorCal.

“I wasn’t really getting a lot of phone calls from top programs and wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” Boschetti said of the time immediately following high school. “Going to CSM was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

After grayshirting in his first year on campus (the junior college equivalent to redshirting), Boschetti proved to be unstoppable for opposing offenses. The Belmont native recorded 24 sacks in his two years on the field and was the Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American in 2001. That season, he helped the Bulldogs improve from a 4-6 team in 2000 to a conference champion that went 8-3 — 5-0 in league play — an accomplishment he lists on his Redskins player page as the “biggest thrill” of his career.

“We made a commitment after Year 1 to turn things around in

Year 2,” Boschetti said. “We knew we had the talent to do a lot of great things, and to this day that really sticks with me.”

He soon moved on to UCLA, where he played two years before signing with the Redskins in 2004 as an undrafted free agent. Boschetti, 25, had his most productive NFL season in 2005 when he played in 13 games, including a start against

St. Louis and action in a playoff game against Seattle. He did not appear in the Redskins’ season-opening 16-13 win over Miami on Sunday, but has proven to be a valuable reserve and special teams player in his tenure with Washington.

While Boschetti was at CSM, Tulloch recalled a dedicated and dominant athlete determined to make himself and his teammates better. He is one of the best players to come out of a school that produced Hall of Fame coaches John Madden and Bill Walsh and NFL players such as Devin Wyman (formerly of the New England Patriots).

“At our level, he was a man,” Tulloch said. “When we recruited him he was only about 220 pounds, but he always had that motor. You do this long enough and you know talent when you see it and you knew this guy had a chance to be special.”

Boschetti said he is still in contact with Owens and the rest of the Bulldogs’ staff and credits CSM with helping to prepare him to not only play at the next level, but also withstand the rigors of the academics at UCLA.

“[Owens] is really is a guy that teaches football as well as life lessons,” Boschetti said. “He puts in so much time up there working with so many different types of kids who are looking for direction, and he gives it to them.”

Proving ground

Junior colleges such as CCSF and CSM offer a path to better opportunities for football players.

» MONDAY: The history behind CCSF and CSM

» TUESDAY: Junior college provides second chances

» WEDNESDAY: Plethora of teams means state stands alone

» THURSDAY: How do the big boys use jucos?

» TODAY: Making it all the way to the NFL

melliser@examiner.com

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