SBCC football is host to No. 1 tackler in California

Vaqueros linebacker Morgan Nevin, No. 33, at La Playa stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Morgan led his team in tackles during the Vaqueros 2013 football season.

Justin Covington

Vaqueros linebacker Morgan Nevin, No. 33, at La Playa stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Morgan led his team in tackles during the Vaqueros 2013 football season.

Rachel Zemanek, Sports Editor

When Morgan Nevin came to City College, the football team was 0-10.

“I think over the past two years, Truckee guys have really helped this program a lot,” said Nevin (No. 33). “We turned it around from 0-10 just two years ago to go to 7-3 now.”

Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 230 lbs., the Vaquero linebacker from the small town of Truckee, CA, has helped turn the football program around to have its best season in over 10 years. The defensive line is ranked No. 1 in Southern California, partially because the No. 1 tackler in the state plays behind them.

Nevin has 139 tackles this season, averaging 15.8 per game. The runner up has 119, averaging 10.5 per game.

“I kind of expected to be in the top in the state in tackles again after last year,” said Nevin. “I wouldn’t settle for being less than one of the tops because of last season. I just feel like each year, I should be improving.”

Although he is the leading the state, he isn’t invincible. During the last home game of the season against Glendale, Nevin was kicked out for unsportsmanlike conduct.

He said it was one of “the dirtiest games” he has ever played.

The penalty took him out for the rest of the last home game and for the last game of the season against West LA.

Feeling like he had let his team down, he wrote a letter of apology to the head coach of Glendale, the officials, Vaquero head coach Craig Moropoulos and to his defensive coordinator, coach Kevin Almlie.

“No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes,” said Ryan Byrne, athletic director. “It’s how you respond to those mistakes that is what counts… The way that he responded to that and the character that he had and the manner in which he responded to it really shows what type of person he is.”

Since he could not be at the last game, he cheered his team on from home, listening to the game on the radio.

Nevin graduated from Truckee High School in 2011 as All-State Defensive MVP, First Team All-State, All-League Defensive MVP and First Team All-League.

Although he didn’t have any offers right out of high school, he redshirted for one season at Southern Methodist University. After feeling the financial strain of a four-year college, Nevin and fellow linebacker Jackson Weed (No. 42) decided to make their way to Santa Barbara and join the three other Truckee High School standouts.

“Me and Jackson both talked with coach Moropoulos and told him we were both linebackers from Truckee and wanted to come make the team better,” he said.

On top of dedicating so much time to football, Nevin is in great standing academically. With a 3.57 GPA and taking an average of 14 units per semester, the student athlete knows what it takes to succeed in a college environment.

“As good of a football player he is, he’s an even better person,” said Byrne. “He’s a model representative of our program.”

After the 2012 season, South Dakota State offered Nevin a full scholarship to play but he felt as though he wanted to wait and play another season in Santa Barbara.

“I told all the schools last year that I wanted to wait,” said Nevin. “That’s been my dream throughout coming here and I feel like it wouldn’t have been worth it if I took a scholarship to a smaller school and settled for that. It wouldn’t have been the same,” he said.

Nevin has been talking with schools like Sacramento State, UCLA, Utah State, University of Utah, and UNLV. His top choice for transfer is University of Nevada, Reno and UCLA.

He hopes to pick up an offer for a mid-year transfer with his 2 for 2 transfer eligibility. He has earned his associate degree in sociology but football is his main goal. His backup plan is to become a firefighter and EMT.

“I just want to let them know that I’m a real person over here and not just another video that comes across your computer screen,” he said.

Nevin was also named the American Pacific Conference Player of the Week twice this season and once last season. He’s hoping to earn Defensive MVP again this year but the awards will not be announced until December.

The football team finished its season with a 49-38 win over West LA, bringing the overall record to 7-3 and the conference record to 4-3.