Former DP and SBCC athlete recruited to play at Long Island University
Two seasons of Saturday afternoons at SBCC’s La Playa Stadium helped Matt Molina regain the football recruiting exposure he lost during an injury-marred senior year at Dos Pueblos High School.
Molina, an All-State defensive end for the Vaqueros, signed a National Letter of Intent to play next year at Long Island University, an NCAA Division 1 FCS (Football Championship Series) school in Brookville, N.Y.
“It’s a change from Santa Barbara,” Molina said. “It’s more city, more big houses.
“But it looks like they have a good business program. It’s a good school and I’m excited for it. Super excited.”
Molina, a 6-foot-4 and 236-pound lineman, was a second-team All-Channel League defensive end for DP during his junior season. But the injury he suffered during his senior year forced him to miss five games including nearly all of the conference season.
He did return in time for the Chargers’ long playoff run, helping them reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 10 championship game and finish with a 12-2 record.
Despite the five missed games, Molina finished his senior year at DP with 38 tackles — 14 for a loss of yardage — and even led the Chargers with five quarterback sacks.
Molina brought his pass-rushing talent to SBCC the next year, recording his first sack in the season opener against Compton. He made at least four tackles in each of his last seven games, capping his freshman season with a career-high 11 stops against Pasadena City College.
He finished the 2018 season with 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
“Coming to City College helped my work ethic on the field and outside of the field,” Molina said. “I got a lot of good coaching. I had good coaches in high school, and SBCC has such a great staff and taught me so many skills on the field that I didn’t have in high school.
“I got better on the field and off the field too.”
As a freshman, he was unanimously voted to the All-American Pacific League First Team and was also tabbed to the California Community College Athletic Association’s Region 4 squad.
He followed that up as a sophomore by making 45 tackles, five sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss. He was voted as the APL’s Most Valuable Lineman while also making the all-conference first team.
“Matt was a very consistent edge rusher for us,” coach Craig Moropoulos said. “Athleticism and extremely high character are among Matt’s strongest attributes.”
Long Island University is coming off its first season at the Division 1 level as a member of the Northeast Conference after having ranked as one of the top Division 2 programs for many years. The Sharks won 18 division titles including four in the last 10 years.
Molina is the 17th Vaquero from last season’s team to get recruited to the four-year level.
“Matt was a great player for us and an even better person,” Moropoulos said. “Matt’s family has always been very strong and has always been high character and Matt was no different.
“Now he’s taking that to Long Island. There will be a little bit of Vaq in him, a little bit of Charger and now he’ll be a Shark.”email: firstname.lastname@example.org