James Choy News

April 27, 2012

Seattle Seahawks’ Bruce Irvin is a good humble guy

Photo Courtesy of Seahawks.com

As a beat reporter for Mt. SAC football in 2008 and 2009, Bruce Irvin was always mild-mannered and all-business in the practice field.

The amount of criticism, hatred and insecurity in Irvin’s off-field stuff is very, very overrated.

Question the Mt. SAC teammates and coaching staff and they will tell you otherwise.

Question the West Virginia players and coaching staff and they will tell you otherwise.

When Bruce and I went to Appleby’s one early Friday at 50G (football building at Mt. SAC) to converse and do our interview (see full storyHERE), I didn’t know what to expect from a large 6-foot-4-inch 235-pound beast.

But as we proceeded to our interview, what I discovered from this intimidating presence was a somewhat shy but open-minded gentle individual.  

Contrary to what happened in Irvin’s past – those days are and have been a distant memory.

Irvin’s time at Mt. SAC was positive and uplifting. Nothing of what the media are saying and are wondering today has ever been known during Irvin’s junior college days.

Did people know that Irvin would leave right after football practice (on some nights) to go to study hall and/or the library to study and catch up on his studies?

Did people know that when defensive coaches were instructing and training other players, that Irvin was on his own training himself and practicing on his speed?

Did people know that amongst his teammates, Irvin was a mild-mannered, humble guy who was never the talker, but the observer and the watcher?

As I was assembling this huge feature story together, I had a talk with Mounties football coach Robert Jastrab and asked him some questions regarding Irvin and Jastrab expressed his happiness and was real proud and appreciative of what Irvin  has accomplished.

In fact, it was rather shocking to see Jastrab almost shed a tear seeing how well Irvin was doing at Mt. SAC. It showed how much Irvin has changed to better his life. Jastrab was never one to really show that kind of happiness of a player.

It showed how much Irvin has grown from his past and how much he wanted to leave the past behind him. At the time, Irvin wanted to get through Mt. SAC and move on to a four-year school.

Irvin was like one of the guys, but more quiet and more to himself.  The amount of adversity Irvin had faced while at Mt. SAC is a lot more than what people can imagine.

With the financial strain of tuition and non-residential payments, the time away from family, the hard practice days and continuous late study nights in the library … and also the aggravations he went thru that normal everyday people deal with … there was no time for Irvin to have ‘off-the-field issues’.

90% of the media who blasted Irvin’s ‘baggage’ don’t know him on a personal level and are way too quick to jump conclusions on his wrongdoings.

Most of what Irvin did wrong in his past was from a very young age.  Irvin has grown out of that and clearly has moved on from it.

As a reporter who followed him throughout 2009, Irvin is nowhere near an ‘issue’ and all that happened in the past is rightfully behind him.

His days at Mt. SAC was nothing but positive, humble and of good character.

My days sitting around talking and chatting with him was just like when two friends talk to one another–normal.

I never seen/heard him raise a voice at anyone.

I never seen him fight or rob anyone or engage in any criminal activity.

I never seen him having any sort of violent tendencies.

I never seen him in any negative manner — and I have practically lived and wandered around campus and on the field.

Again, all the troubles Irvin went through was from a young age.  The media is blowing up his negativity way too much.

Irvin gets a horrible bad rap from his past and he is not that man no more.

Irvin deserves everything good that has come to him.

He changed his life for the better … most definitely worked his ass off to be at West Virginia … and flourished to become a 1st round draft pick with the right people who recognized his game.

Kudos to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks for recognizing Irvin.

If I know Bruce, he is going to work to give the Seahawks a big season and he will do it.

From where he’s been to where he’s at …. he has turned his life around successfully and he will continue to.

The only conclusion to make about Mr. Irvin …

is that he’s a winner and he’ll continue to be.

October 22, 2010

Iowa State gets Mounties’ Ernst Brun for 2011

The following story is a repost from HERE.

PHOTO BY JAMES CHOY - Mounties tight end Ernst Brun will resume his football career at Iowa State after verbally committing October 21.

Mounties sophomore tight end Ernst Brun made his verbal commitment to play for the Iowa State Cyclones in 2011 on Thurs., Oct. 21.

The 6-foot-4-inch Georgia native went to visit the Iowa State campus a week ago during Mt. SAC’s bye week.

The sights and the sounds from the people of Iowa State were surprising and impressive, Brun said.

“I was speechless when I saw the facilities and the atmosphere,” he said. “The fans, the people were holding signs with my name … they made me feel really welcome.”

With the coaching staff happy to see Brun visit the school, the hospitality was very genuine and appreciative, Brun said.

“Coach [Bobby] Elliot told me I’m the best tight end he’s seen in California,” Brun said. “He said he likes that I can use my body but also catch the ball.”

Brun’s ability to play both the wide receiver and tight end position has enabled him to block, run the ball and make plays.

In 2009, Brun capitalized on big yardage as a tight end despite only receiving 16 passes.

His biggest contribution came during his performances against College of the Desert where he recorded 3 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.

His other big game came against L.A. Pierce College where he only caught the ball twice but ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the effort.

This season, Brun only recorded 202 yards total after six games played.

PHOTO BY JAMES CHOY - Mounties tight end Ernst Brun had a handful of schools like Mississippi State, Kansas State, Washington and Washington State looking at him, but he decided that Iowa State was the place where he wanted to commit to.

Part of the reason why his receiving yards haven’t been known stems from the matchups he’s had with the opposition, he said.

Without his ability to catch and run for yards, Brun said he “learned to run his routes away from other receivers to allow a better chance for them to receive the pass and to make them more open one on one.”

“My case is different not in height but in athleticism,” he said. “I can run by a defensive back easily—running cross routes and re-routing from the opposing linebacker.”

As a utility tight end Brun uses his size to do whatever required.

“I may not hold my ground as a 250-pound tight end would against a 300-pound defensive end but I got heart, I’m not going to back down … I’m going to hold him,” he said.

With a number of schools looking at Brun, Iowa State’s presentation and invitation was enough for the tight end to make his commitment swift.

“Nevada, Kansas State, Washington, Washington State, Kansas State, Memphis, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Houston, TCU, Oregon State and Mississippi State were the schools interested in me,” Brun said.

After winning the state and national championship last season for the Mounties, Brun’s time spent at Mt. SAC, “has changed him tremendously.”

“Being at Mt. SAC has changed me a lot,” Brun said. “When I first came to the school I was real selfish and approached like I was the man, but the time spent with the players and the coaches made me from a selfish player to a team player … a role player …. a captain … a leader.”

As the Mounties find themselves again in contention to repeat as state champions, Brun is more adamant to practicing hard but also working out even more.

However his education is one thing he has his mind set on right now.

“You can’t go anywhere without your grades,” he said. “I’m focused on my education and doing my work and taking care of business.”

Brun and the Mounties will play against Grossmont this Saturday at Grossmont with kickoff set at 1:00 p.m.

For more information on Mt. SAC Football, log on to athletics.mtsac.edu.

October 4, 2010

BLURB: Mt. SAC beats Bakersfield 34-20

Filed under: Mt. SAC Football — jameschoynews @ 9:19 am

Check out my blurb on the game between Mt. SAC and Bakersfield this past Saturday HERE.

September 27, 2010

PHOTO/STORY: Mounties beat Riverside 36-10

Filed under: Mt. SAC Football,Mt. San Antonio College Sports — jameschoynews @ 12:46 pm

Check out the story I wrote for Mountiewire regarding the football game by clicking HERE.

September 9, 2010

Food and health talk with Lamaison and Gaisie

I met up with Mt. SAC quarterback Nick Lamaison and cornerback Deshawn Gaisie and spoke to them about nutrition and how they manage their health before and after football.

James Choy is also correspondent for Mountiewire.com, a media publication of the journalism program at Mt. San Antonio College.

September 7, 2010

Tuitele will skip college ball to try the NFL

Lancer Tuitele, formerly known as Lancer Iosefa, was unable to make it on the 2010 Hawaii football roster, but the 5-foot-9-inch former Mountie instead will workout and train for the NFL in 2011.

Tuitele had written a waiver letter to the NCAA requesting a late entry to the Warriors football team, but was denied due to his time alloted to play for a Division I school.

“Since my D-1 clock is up, I was speaking to some D-2 schools about playing for them but it was too late to apply there as well so for the time being I will train here in Hawaii and get ready for Pro Day,” he said.

Tuitele said a number of professionals and former professionals from the NFL were impressed with his skills and felt Tuitele has a good chance to play in the pros.

“Mt. SAC has been a huge stepping stone for me,” Tuitele said. “Hawaii would’ve been real nice but the NFL is better.”

Tuitele was part of the 2009 Mt. SAC football team, who won the state and national championship by beating San Mateo by a score of 7-6.

It was the Mounties’ second title, their last won back in 1997.

After graduating from the junior college, Tuitele had been looking to play for a Division I school. But after a long search, Hawaii was one destination that Tuitele really wanted to be at.

“Actually I wanted to go to Hawaii all along,” he said. “During the season, I had my sights set on going there.”

But with the problems that came in getting Tuitele on board, he was optimistic regardless.

The Hawaii coaching staff did their best to get me on board, Tuitele said.

“They were expecting big things from me, but no worries, I’ll make it happen at the next level,” he said.

During his training, Tuitele plans to take several classes at Hawaii and later hire an agent during his preparations for the NFL.

His younger brother Burton currently is in San Jose with the family and may proceed to enroll in Hawaii come January.

“I’m not sure what his plans are but we’re both going to move forward no matter what,” Lancer said.

September 1, 2010

Lamaison’s Return to the Mounties is A Personal Thing

PHOTO BY JAMES CHOY - Lamaison will lead the Mounties in 2010 as the top ranked team in the nation, according to JCFootball.com and JC Grid-wire

Many won’t see it, nor will they say it, but Nick Lamaison, from my eyes is an angry man.

With such an eloquent and professional demeanor, one would argue and dispute my claim but I still feel like he’s screaming and drooling deep down his well-composed manner.

Going back to the past … how many different paths would be possible after what Lamaison had endured since the beginning of 2009 when he stepped foot at the University of Tennessee?

Having the opportunity to be instructed by one of college football’s most intriguing coach in Lane Kiffin (along with Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron and company), one would think that Lamaison had the best going for him.

Unfortunately, when Kiffin and company halted their coaching careers having only completed a year at Tennessee, Lamaison’s road to college playtime would appear to no-time as the Volunteer football program underwent a massive overhaul.

During the transition period, Lamaison’s path had led to no destiny. And without a destiny, his career in football would dwindle to almost oblivion after the emergence of quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Chris Simms to Tennessee overshadowing his chance to showcase his stuff.

This led to Lamaison’s decision to bounce back to Mt. SAC and at this point … the six-foot-two-inch quarterback is out for redemption.

Maybe he’s got more than just something to prove.

Maybe there’s more that we’re not seeing.

For 2010, Lamaison has work to do, but with what he’s been through, I feel like his time has begun … once more but this time for the best.

San Jose State QB La Secla will start against Alabama, Faulkner may play also


Jordan La Secla will get the nod to lead the Spartans against the top-ranked team in Alabama this weekend to kick off the 2010 NCAA Football season.

Faulkner may get some minutes playing during the game, according to inside sources.

View complete article HERE.

August 14, 2010

The In-Depth Analysis of the Former Mountie Playmakers

Football fans will be marking their calendars on Sept. 4, the first Saturday of college football, where 53 games are scheduled to begin the 2010 season.

The first set of games however will start on Sept. 2 where 18 games will be played followed by two more games the following day.

A handful of those games will be aired on ESPN during the three-day period, a few of them featuring former Mountie football players. The names are as follows:

VIDEO: (April 1, 2010) Hebron “Loni” Fangupo discusses his return to practice and his marriage.


POSITION AT MT SAC: Defensive Tackle
GAME TIME: Sept. 2 @ Hawaii – 11:00 EST on ESPN, ESPN3
ANALYSIS: After breaking his leg in a game against Washington State on Sept. 26 (and seeing the video on how he broke it, ouch), I cringed at how the bone was broken once the X-rays and MRI were revealed. The one thing that I knew about Loni (his nickname) was that he wasn’t going to let this be the end of his football career. He’s been through too much in his young life for it to just stop and that wasn’t going to happen.

According to an article from the OC Register written by Michael Lev in June, USC suffered a blow in their defense when their senior defensive tackle Christian Tupou suffered a season-ending knee injury in a spring game on May 1.

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said Fangupo and two of his teammates were needed to step up and make adjustments to fill the void Tupou occupied.

Earlier this year (around May), I met with Fangupo and his girlfriend (now his wife) Rebecca during his off-time discussing plans for his marriage (he asked me to be his photographer for his wedding). Fangupo said his leg was sore but was feeling fine and pretty much on the way in getting back in shape. He said that his mobility was an issue but he was ready and willing to get back to where he needed to be through progressive rehab.

As far as his persona goes, he was the same Loni I knew back when he spent his time at Mt. SAC–happy, cheerful and enjoying life. He still had that distinctive laugh that you would hear every now and then during a conversation. Fangupo has a kind of humor about him that leaves you appreciating him. Aside that, Fangupo has a strong will and knows what he wants and very likely gets what he wants.

With an extra year of eligibility granted stemming from his leg injury last September, Fangupo will be ready to go and ready to pound. During his time playing at Mt. SAC, Fangupo had persevered through most of the season hampered with a shoulder injury that slowed him down before coming to USC. Pain has never been an issue on the field with Fangupo. His heart and determination will completely overshadow that once he steps onto the field.




GAME TIME: Sept. 2 @ Hawaii – 11:00 EST on ESPN, ESPN3
ANALYSIS: Based on 2009′s statistics, Harfman has fared rather well against opponents in punting and kickoffs.

Opponents have averaged 40.9 yards in punting while Harfman has averaged 39.8. His longest punt was a 59-yard boot–including 4 other kicks that went beyond 50+ yards. Nine of the punts have gone inside the 20-yard line with no blocks recorded.

On kickoffs, Harfman has averaged 65 yards from the distance with 11 touchbacks and two going out of bounds.

Harfman has always been someone who works continuously on mechanics and technique. From his Mt. SAC days, his long distance field goal kicking was always in tact. On most days in practice, I saw him consistently unloading the football through the uprights in the 40-49 yard range without any trouble.

I was rather intrigued by one stat in which Harfman went for a field goal 50+ yards out during a game. I wonder if Coach Kiffin will even look into that at all during this fall. From recent reports, Harfman and Houston have been dueling it out for that job—may the best kicker win.


VIDEO: The footage shows a handful of plays and moves from Lancer when he was with Mt. SAC in 2007 and 2009 (redshirted in 2008).


SCHOOL: University of Hawaii
GAME TIME: Sept. 2 VS USC – 11:00 EST on ESPN, ESPN3
ANALYSIS: Lancer Tuitele (formerly known as Lancer Iosefa) is a class act. As a person he is very professional, very approachable and respectable a person can be. During our one-on-one conversations, Tuitele has answered all my questions thoroughly and ranked among the few interviewees that made my job rather easy.

His character and his leadership showed last season as he and his brother Burton (who also may be playing for Hawaii) were few of the vocal leaders for the Mounties.

From my observations, I have never ever seen any of the coaches (Jastrab, Craft, Russell or Purcell) mention or instruct anything to the brothers. Tuitele always seemed to know exactly what the next drill was and was a step ahead of almost everyone during the plays. He knew what his role was.

The one thing I found real entertaining during practice drills was his roadrunner-like speed that he displayed during 7-on-7′s or 11-on-11′s bumping into one lineman and then another moving through the pocket bobbing and weaving and clearing aside the opposing secondary out to the open. Tuitele is a passionate person when playing and is a presence as a running back and during warm-up drills. On occasion he is quiet, but also can be vocal and encouraging to his teammates.

In 2007, Kevin Craft and Tom Craft came to Mt. SAC with an offensive game plan. This game plan centralized on executing various pass plays and routes which put some limitation to Tuitele’s abilities. Having played third behind running backs William Woods and Craig Williams, Tuitele managed to lead the backs in touchdowns with 7 that year.

With only 54 carries as opposed to Woods’ 131 and Williams’ 93, Tuitele made it count where it was needed–scoring the touchdown. His best performance came in the second game against Mt. San Jacinto where he went for 6 carries running a total of 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The main weapons in the Mountie offense came from the receiving end. Former Utah receiver/special teams Aiona Key had 80 receptions for 1,112 yards and 17 touchdowns while teammate Matt Austin (playing for Utah State) caught 69 passes for 985 yards and 9 touchdowns. The rest of the receiving pack combined for 17 touchdowns–adding that to the totals of Kevin Craft minus the running game.

Had Tuitele been the leading running back, he might’ve recorded more than what he had statistically as he recorded 54 carries with 214 yards.

Aside that, Tuitele was a 3.0 student at Mt. SAC. The off-time that he spent on 2008 allowed him to concentrate on his studies and his work. This proved well academically as he was able to focus in more on his playing time the following year which led him to obtaining a state and national championship before leaving Mt. SAC.

Before the 2009 season, Craft wanted to devise a special running game that combined with the various passing plays. He wanted to use Tuitele and Burton to help add production from behind the pocket with special formations rather than the constant schemes of the passing game. Tuitele was able to step into the limelight in his second year doing more than what he did in 2007 and ended the season drastically improving his stats with 122 carries for 509 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns.

By adding everything up from the moment he came to Mt. SAC to the time he stepped off the gridiron, Tuitele has collected his awards and accomplishments and has made an open road to success.

Now in Hawaii, still with much to prove, Iosefa’s determination and character is going to take him far and with that, it will surely be a factor to his success.

At one point during his time at Mt. SAC, BYU had expressed interest in signing both Lancer and Burton. I wonder why they never revisited that offer to both.

For Sept. 4, I’m not expecting much to happen in the start of Tuitele’s first year (seeing that he will be behind the current backs who are starting for Hawaii), but any kind of contribution that he does make will be more than satisfactory from observance. Tuitele is so much more than what’s written on paper and I’m hoping the Hawaii coaching staff takes note of this.



SCHOOL: University of West Virginia
GAME TIME: Sept. 4 VS Coastal Carolina – 3:30 EST on ESPN3
ANALYSIS: The one thing I really liked about Irvin during his time at Mt. SAC was his humbleness.

Irvin knew at the JC level, he was going to be bigger than life. Irvin knew that there was buzz about his athleticism–his freakish speed to go along with his tall 6-foot-something frame. But above all that, Irvin knew it all but went about it in modesty-a quiet guy who did what he was told and at the end of the day, it was just another day at the job.

He rarely smiled. But when he did, he would let you know that he was enjoying that moment.

At Mt. SAC he had a lot to smile about.

With offers coming as far west as it carried to the far east, choosing where to go was a rather big deal for Irvin.

During one-on-one conversations, Irvin said that as long as he was given playing time, he’d go anywhere. Much of the talks during the time were him going to Tennessee, USC or Arizona State. But to West Virginia?

I never heard West Virginia being an option during our ‘off-the-record’ talks.

But Irvin will fit right in with the team and I believe he’s made the right choice for the school he’s playing for.

What more can I analyze about Irvin?

He can run, he can use his body well for speed and strength and for his height, it’s amazing to see how he zig-zags against the opposing linemen.



SCHOOL: Utah State University
GAME TIME: Sept. 4 at Oklahoma – 7:00 EST
ANALYSIS: I want to leave football for a moment and talk about Austin’s athleticism.

Matt Austin is an amazing basketball player. During the off-season from Mt. SAC football, I happened to roam in the campus gym and saw a large number of guys playing a pickup game. One of the guys I noticed was Austin himself and here’s what I picked up from his playing:

Austin can handle the ball extremely well. While he doesn’t dribble-drive too much, he’s extremely quick going down the key and is always scoring for the team.

Austin can shoot … he can shoot … he can shoot. And when he misses, the opposing rebounders stop and stare and before they know it, Austin has snagged the rebound and scooped it in for a two points.

Austin hustles. His vertical leap is amazing. For his tall 6-foot-3-inch height, he jumps with shocks coiled tightly beneath his sneakers.

Getting back to football, add everything that I’ve mentioned and integrate those skills to his football game.

Austin is a fun-loving, outgoing, outspoken person. He enjoys the company of friends and has a passion for sports. But he also knows when to turn off the switch and turn on his football game switch.

When Austin plays, he makes them. He uses his height and leaping ability to his advantage and at Mt. SAC, there have been more than enough highlight plays that I’ve witnessed in practice and in games.

Despite the broken foot he suffered last season, Austin plays with energy but he knows how to harness it on the field.

The big question is how will he fare against Oklahoma’s secondary and how will he adjust if he goes on a funk early in the game. Do I predict first-game jitters from Austin? Maybe so.

But once he finds his niche, no matter how tall his defender is, Austin is going to be everywhere in the field.

This will be a big game for him and his fans.



SCHOOL: San Jose State University
GAME TIME: Sept. 4 at Alabama – 7:00 EST on ESPN3
ANALYSIS: San Jose State had a bad 2009.

To make matters worse, three of their first four games will be against big time schools.

The Spartans will start the season against the number one team in Alabama at Alabama. Then they’ll travel to Wisconsin to play against the Badgers the following week before their home opener against Southern Utah on Sept. 18. As they return back to the road, they’ll be facing Utah a week after.

Spartans head coach Mike MacIntyre has his hands full.

So does Matt Faulkner.

My analysis: There is no other person that I would have in this situation than Matt Faulkner.

Faulkner is not what you call a human highlight of limelight proportions. Faulkner is not a flashy media-expose’ type of person.

Faulkner studies, works at what he does and executes.

This is why he won the state and national championship at Mt. SAC.

To put it simply, Faulkner is all-class. At 6-foot-2 205 pounds, he may seem like your typical All-American quarterback but behind his healthy build, there lies more than that smile on his face.

Statistically, going 217-for-355 with a total of 3,303 yards passing and 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions is not bad in anyway.

Who he was off the field is what mattered to me as he carried that persona on the field.

To others, Faulkner was a genuinely nice guy. He was nice to the media, nice to his players, his peers and his family.

Someone once told me, ‘Character counts and when it does everything else falls in place.’ If this saying goes for many then Faulkner is one who is capable of accomplishing any task — great or small.

With the beginning of the season near, this is a big task for Faulkner.

He is a coach’s perfect pupil. He will listen and do. He works hard at whatever mistakes he makes and once handled he will produce.

This is what I saw of him in 2009.

Come September 4, against the number one team in the nation, he will have his hands full. But don’t be surprised if his hands are emptied before the clock goes to zero.



** Eddie Williams and UCLA at Kansas State – 3:30 EST on ABC.
** Chris Ramos and Idaho vs. North Dakota – 9:00 EST

August 12, 2010

Mounties are ranked at the top in pre-season polls

The Mt. SAC Mounties will enter Fall 2010 as the top ranked team in the pre-season polls, according to the California Community College Football Coaches Association and JCGridiron.

After the scheduling changes made in the off-season, the Mounties will face tough competition as they go head-to-head with six nationally ranked schools which includes Fullerton, Cerritos, Saddleback, Palomar and Grossmont.

Their first game will be at Victor Valley on Sept. 4 with kickoff scheduled at 1:00 pm.

Head Coach Robert Jastrab will be without former offensive coordinator Tom Craft, who is now the head coach at Riverside Community College.

Jastrab will face his former assistant on Sept. 25 at Hilmer Lodge Stadium with game time set at 1:00 pm. Riverside is nationally ranked at #27 in the pre-season polls.

Log on to http://athletics.mtsac.edu for the latest in Mt. SAC Football.

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