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Eastlake's Wilson & Co. give Jaguars a boost in homegrown talent Phillip Brents | Fri, Aug 29 2014 12:25 PM

Build it and they did come — from all over, in fact.

After a two-year absence, the Southwestern College football team returns home to a bigger and better DeVore Stadium, a facility that SWC head coach Ed Carberry is already calling “the best” community college facility in the state.

The Jags kick off the 2014 season with a home game Sept. 6 against rival Grossmont College. Game time is 6 p.m.

Southwestern has won two consecutive community college bowl games and will be aiming to make history by appearing in a third one in a row — and winning it.

The upgrade in the college’s playing facilities has obviously attracted interest from incoming high school talent, and no longer from just the South County San Diego region. Carberry’s team is expected to include student-athletes from as far as Oceanside this season.

“When you have the very best facility in the state, it’s going to bring more players into Southwestern College,” Carberry explained.

However, while the SWC coach said recruitment will expand into North County, the program’s main focus will remain on the South Bay area.

And there’s plenty of top-rung talent down here.

In fact, the Jags appear to have developed a recent pipeline to Eastlake High School, in particular.

Donning Southwestern uniforms this season are former Titans Blake Wilson, Darran Hall, Arturo Hurtado, Gabe Casillas, Travis Gardner, Ty Stevens and David Eguiza.

Wilson (6-2, 220) performed last season as a freshman linebacker for the Jags. Hall, Gardner and Eguiza are all receivers while Hurtado and Casillas are linemen and Stevens, a former quarterback at EHS, will be playing the free safety position at Southwestern.

Wilson was signed, sealed and delivered to attend UC Davis last season before a coaching change at the school disrupted those plans. Because of the lateness of the development, the former Titan standout’s options were limited.

“It was late, it was already springtime and I really didn’t have anywhere but to come out here,” he said.

Wilson made an immediate impact his first game with the Jags by returning an intercepted pass 62 yards for a touchdown.

“I took it to the house,” he said, smiling. “It felt good. Football at the JC level is a lot different than people think. It’s faster. You play against grown men. Last year, I was 18 years old right out of high school playing against 23-year-olds. It was a big jump.

“People have this idea about what JC football is, but it’s not. It’s big-time football.”

Southwestern has demonstrated that with a combined 19-3 record the past two seasons.

Wilson has nothing but admiration and praise for Carberry and his coaching staff.

“The goal is to get as many players out of here to four-year universities as transfers,” Wilson said. “Coach Carberry and his staff are making it happen. I think we put out 29 athletes last year.”

Wilson said his future playing options have gotten a bit brighter while playing at SWC.

“There have been a couple of schools show interest since last year,” he said. “Hopefully, I can make some plays and more schools will come around.”

Wilson said this year’s team has “all the potential” to be highly successful.

“We’re big, we’re fast, we’re strong and we have a chance to do something special here,” the former Titan standout said. 

Extra points
Southwestern will host Santa Monica in another non-conference game on Sept. 13. Kick-off is 6 p.m.

Peter Kluch contributed to this story

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