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College football: San Diego State Aztecs utilizing South County talent Trent Warren | Thu, Sep 06 2012 12:28 PM

The route to play Division I college football isn’t predetermined.

For instance, there are players who are scouted and land a scholarship.

Then there are players who begin their Division I football dream after first playing at a smaller Division II or III or even community college program.

And finally, there are players who enroll as students at a university and then attempt to walk on to their school’s football team.

The San Diego State Aztecs have players on their roster that include all three of the above scenarios. Four players on the SDSU roster are from the South Bay.

D.J. Shields #85 (Junior)
Shields graduated from the Bonita Vista Baron class of 2008.

He was a two star recruit (out of fives stars) in high school on Yahoo Rivals and after being given multiple scholarship opportunities he chose to attend SDSU.

He played every game his first two years, mostly at tight end for the Aztecs. However, in 2011, he was hampered with a broken foot causing him to miss several games.

Shields is a big guy, standing six-four and 240 pounds.

His career highs are three receptions against UNLV, 43 receiving yards against Wyoming and one receiving touchdown against Wyoming as well.

Shields is also a top scholar-athlete at SDSU. He posted a 4.0 semester grade point average, which earned him the Malik Award for highest GPA among scholar athletes at the Montezuma Mesa school.

Andrew Feaster #45 (Sophomore)
Feaster, who is an Eastlake Titan alum, took a different route to play at the next level than Shields. Feaster first began playing college football at Southwestern College during the 2009-2010 season.

While attending Southwestern, he led the team in both total tackles and sacks.

With a remarkable junior college season, the six-foot, 220-pound linebacker was then brought up to play Division I ball as an Aztec.

Since being at SDSU, he’s competed in five games, including last year’s New Orleans Bowl. He made one solo tackle against UNLV as a back up.

Most recently, Feaster has been placed second on the team’s two-deep depth chart at outside linebacker. Things appear to be headed in the right direction for Feaster.

Nico Siragusa #56 (Freshman)
Recently graduated from Mater Dei Catholic, Siragusa is on the San Diego State football roster as a true freshman.

In high school, Siragusa was an All-CIF first team and first team all-state offensive lineman for the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders. The Yahoo Rivals recruiting website awarded him three stars and ESPNU ranked him 93rd among top California recruits.

Quite a resume for six-foot five, 315 pound behemoth.

Siragusa bolsters a young returning Aztec offensive line this season. He is currently rated third on the depth chart at the right guard position.

Jonathan Henkel #76 (Freshman)
One of the most impressive, yet extremely underrated feats accomplished by young collegiate athletes is walking on to your school’s sports teams.

Well, Henkel accomplished that.

Henkel arrived at campus in 2011 and walked-on during fall camp.

He redshirted as a freshman in 2011 but is looking for playing time this year.

The intriguing thing is that he will be battling Siragusa for the third position at right guard on the team’s depth chart this year.

At Otay Ranch, Henkel was a first team all-league pick as a senior and competed in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic.

The Aztecs are looking to bounce back from last week’s season opening 21-12 defeat against the University of Washington when they host Army this Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network. 

There were some promising things displayed by the Aztec defense last week against the Huskies but turnovers ended up costing SDSU.

Aztec replay
Quarterback Ryan Katz (Santa Monica) threw for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also rushing 16 times for 77 yards. Walter Kazee (San Bernardino) led the SDSU rushing attack with 86 yards on nine carries.

Washington forced three turnovers, sacked Katz, a transfer from Oregon State, four times and recorded a defensive touchdown on a safety Will Shamburger’s 44-yard fumble recovery early in the third quarter.

Washington moved to an early two-touchdown lead in the first quarter and was up 14-6 at halftime before going ahead 21-6 on Shamburger’s scoop-and-score.

Tim Vizzi (Moorpark) caught a 47-yard scoring pass from Katz and Adam Muema (Covina) scored on a one-yard run in the final quarter to account for SDSU’s two touchdowns in the game, which was played in front of 53, 472 fans.

The Aztecs were out-gained just 328-327 in total offensive yards by Washington (SDSU held a 199-106 edge in net rushing yards).

Colin Lockett (Diamond Bar) had four catches for 48 yards to pace Aztec receivers.

Among San Diego County products, Christian High grad Joel Alesi had two punts for 98 yards, including a longest effort of 56 yards.

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