In February, SAC Alums David Richmond (AA Degree 2007) and David Buehler (2005; entered USC in Sept. 2006) were among hopefuls who competed in the NFL Combine, the football “Olympic trials” for those who want to play in the National Football League.
It’s definitely the “big time,” as Buehler, who kicks for USC, noted as a guest blogger on USCRipsit, the official Pete Carroll website,
“(the Combine) is a four-day-long job interview. You have to be professional in your mindset and go in and be ready to produce. You have to nail the interviews you have, the physical and mental tests…
From his entry on Day One, Buehler’s perspective proved on-target:
“It’s all business here. You have to be professional, and they’re definitely instilling that in your head."
But it wasn’t all about athletics.
On Day 3 Buehler reported, “…we took the Wonderlic test. I feel like I did pretty well. There are 50 questions and you have 12 minutes to answer as many as you can. … Some people speed through it trying to finish, but I just wanted to make sure I got all the ones I answered right. It’s like the SAT in a way: there are synonyms, math questions, shapes, etc.”
Then on Day Four it was over, and back to campus life, and the classroom:
“I’m still in school, finishing up my last three classes so I can graduate in May. The NFL Draft is so close, graduation is so close — it’s just an exciting time right now…I can't wait to see how this all pans out in the next few months.”
The draft is April 25 and 26, so it will be some time before Richmond and Buehler know what their futures hold in the NFL. But they already have achieved a degree of success in academics and athletics that began on the campus at Santa Ana College.
David Richmond graduated with a 2.66 GPA from SAC in 2007, where he also made First Team All-Conference and Third Team All-American.
He transferred to San Jose State University as a wide receiver on a football scholarship. Although he took this semester off to train six to seven hours a day to be ready to go to the NFL Combine, he plans to complete his last semester and receive his BA degree in Philosophy.
In a recent interview, Richmond looked back and forward at what has led him to this point, and what he sees in his future:
Q: How did your education at SAC affect your life, and your opportunity to participate in the NFL Combine?
A: My experience at Santa Ana College helped me mature, and it helped me learn how the college system worked. Getting my AA degree also showed me that I could succeed in college.
Q: Were there special people on campus who influenced you?
A: Rey Rebledo was a great counselor; he laid out a plan and got me started on the right path. Then he and my football coach, Geoff Jones, and all my other instructors really taught me what I needed to do to succeed on the field and in the classroom.
Q: Rey Rebledo was a great counselor; he laid out a plan and got me started on the right path. Then he and my football coach, Geoff Jones, and all my other instructors really taught me what I needed to do to succeed on the field and in the classroom.
A: You have to establish your priorities and stay on task. You have to have balance: it’s about education and athletics. You need both. You need to show up in class, in the training room, and on the field. It’s hard. It’s demanding. But it’s what you have to do to separate yourself from the competition.
Q: If you make it into the NFL, what do you want to do when that career is over?
A: Go directly into the Police Academy.
David Buehler, who completed 51 units in his year at SAC with a cum GPA of 3.21 had similar reflections:
Q: How important was your experience at SAC?
A: It was a great introduction to college life.
Q: What area of academics are you focused on at USC?
A: I’m a public policy, management and planning major; my goal is to do real estate development.
Q: How do you feel about the risks that accompany pursuing a pro-football career?
A: I know that sports are just a bonus; you can always fall back on an education. You can’t always fall back on athletics! That’s why I will graduate with a B.A degree in May. And we are called ‘student athletes’ because we are students first, and athletes second. Nothing is more important than completing your education!
Q: What advice do you have for others who may want to play pro football?
A: Keep at it. And remember: in academics and in athletics, there’s no substitute for hard work.