Spring practices lure major Division I programs across country to DVC


Aaron Tolentino

DVC head coach Mike Darr giving instructions before a drill during a spring practice on May 17, 2018.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports editor

Diablo Valley College football head coach Mike Darr has about 3,000 contacts on his phone filled with coaches and scouts across the country, from Division I all the way down to the NAIA level.

Alabama, Washington, Southern California, UCLA, Louisville, Michigan State and Boise State were among the many schools on Darr’s phone that attended the DVC football’s spring ball program that started in March and concluded Thursday.

All Power 5 conferences were represented as well as prominent Group of 5 programs.

The connection Darr has with these programs stems both ways. Schools come to Darr given the history DVC has of sending players to the next level. Also, Darr, already having established a relationship, invites various coaches across the country to check his players out.

These schools would usually send a positional coach or coordinator to the Pleasant Hill campus and scout Viking players.

The Vikings on the field had to manage excitement and some pressure with storied programs having their eyes on them during practice.

Quarterback Jarrod Hoyer has Division I coaches interested in his talents, but he refuses to let that take away his focus during practice.

“You can’t let it really affect you; I don’t think it really affected me today at all,” he said.

Darr stated the concerns he had for his players. He hopes his guys “don’t press” and “get distracted.”

Luckily for Darr and the Vikings, the team practiced weeks before any visiting coaches or scouts can come to DVC. They were able to get acclimated with the tempo, routines and rules of practice beforehand.

Inevitably, players turned it up a notch when a nationally recognized coach like Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi came to practice.

“There’s a little bit more explosiveness in just about every single position when the coach is walking around and he’s got his phone out filming, looking you up and down,” said Darr.

Darr understands how the potential impact of impressing a Division I coach can benefit his players later on. He knows his players want to have a great practice each time out, especially with scouts watching.

“Guys don’t grow up dreaming about JC football,” said Darr. “They grow up dreaming about what they watch on TV. I want to do everything I can to help them fulfill those goals.”

Notable Vikings garnering attention are defensive backs Adrian Dolo, Josh Ramirez, Ryan Payne and Cory Cox. Along with Hoyer, linebacker Tuineau Pulu and offensive lineman Corey Luciano are also standing out in the eyes of coaches.

Payne recently received scholarship offers from Arkansas State, Bowling Green and LSU. Luciano received offers from USC, San Diego State, Colorado and Nebraska, just to name a few, and is verbally committed to Washington.