Masoli will look to keep tradition alive

During his 31 seasons prowling the sideline for City College of San Francisco, George Rush has coached many great quarterbacks — recent examples being former Cal starter Joe Ayoob and current Nebraska backup Zac Lee — yet his eyes still light up with an awed sense of discovery when he mentions the name of his current signal-caller, Jeremiah Masoli.

“When his career is finished I think he could very well go down as one of the top quarterbacks we’ve ever had,” Rush said. “He’s improved so much in the time he’s been here, and he’s only going to continue to get better.”

Masoli’s numbers for the 9-1 Rams do little to dispel Rush’s otherworldly praise. The grayshirt freshman (he sat out last year, but still has four years remaining to complete three seasons of college eligibility) has thrown for 26 touchdowns and 3,065 yards while tossing just three interceptions. As evidence of the versatility he possesses, the fleet-footed Masoli has also rushed for 383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

After dropping a 19-16 decision to Fresno on Sept. 15, Masoli has helped anchor a Rams offense that has averaged 42 points a game in their past seven contests, all CCSF wins. On Saturday, Masoli and the Rams will host Sierra College in the Hawaiian Punch Community College Bowl, a contest that will decide the Northern California championship and see which team will move on to the state title game next Saturday in Fresno.

“It took a little while for the offense to get in sync, but now we feel comfortable with each other and we’re seeing that pay off,” Masoli said.

Making Masoli’s quarterbacking duties easier is a core of wide receivers that all received significant playing time last year. Four sophomore wideouts — Deric Davis, Carlton Sanders, Adrian Hillburn, and Andre Wells — have hauled in at least 40 passes this season.

“I’m real lucky to get to play with such a veteran group of guys,” Masoli said. “They’re all so unselfish and they just want to win. It doesn’t matter who gets the ball we’re all focused on the same thing.”

Although at 6-foot Masoli is undersized by traditional quarterback standards, recent trends in Division I football are making those guidelines increasingly more antiquated. Rush said the success of smallish yet cunning quarterbacks such as Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Kansas’ Todd Reesing is a particularly compelling argument for heady athletes such as Masoli.

“I think those guys help make his case, and I think he might be better than both of them,” Rush said. “He’s unflappable. He’ll beat you with his arms, his legs, his toughness, his mind and his competitiveness.”

Masoli has the option of exploring Division I offers after this semester, but he indicated he plans on sticking around for one more year at CCSF to continue his development.

“There is a still a lot I have to improve in my game,” Masoli said. “If I work hard and listen to my coaches I know I’ll have opportunities to move on when I’m done at CCSF.”

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