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Freshmen/Transfers: Montana, Bateman Among Top Newcomers For PCC Football

Freshmen/Transfers: Montana, Bateman Among Top Newcomers For PCC Football image

With the addition of redshirt freshman transfer Nate Montana, son of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, the Pasadena City College football team has perhaps the most interesting and intense competition it has ever had at the quarterback position. Acting Head Coach James Kuk likes the potential of Montana, but is making it clear that the program has three players that are challenging for the starting position going into the 2009 season.

Montana, who attended the University of Notre Dame last season but did not appear in any games, chose to transfer to PCC in a much publicized move that has attracted attention to the program, both nationally and locally.

Kuk is excited about the team's direction at quarterback as Montana is challenging two returning sophomores, Nick Ponce and Jonathan Troast for the No. 1 signal caller role.

"It's a healthy competition," Kuk said of the pre-season practices at QB. "It keeps everyone hungry and on their toes. Nate has a strong pocket presence, is mechanically sound, but he lacks in game experience. Ponce and Troast both know the program as returners, both have game experience, and each does a few things well that the other doesn't. You don't have that luxury often where three players each could make a legitimate case for the starter's job."

Kuk will announce his decision on his game 1 starter early next week as PCC prepares for the '09 season opener at Mt. San Antonio College Saturday, Sept. 5. Kickoff for the Lancers' 85th opener is 1 p.m. at the Mounties' Walnut home field, Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

Kemonte Bateman, a 6-foot, 180-pound wide receiver from Crenshaw High, could be PCC's most talented newcomer, according to Kuk. Bateman was spectacular in his senior season at Crenshaw, totaling 66 receptions for 1,104 yards and 12 touchdowns. The All-LA City standout, who originally signed with Arizona State, was rated in the top 15 among the nation's best prep receivers by Sports Illustrated last year. He is currently ranked in the top 10 prospects in the country by JCFootball.com.

"Bateman is an impact player with great hands and lightning speed," Kuk said. "We had a couple of all-conference sophomores last year in Owen Dixon and Titus Mack and he's almost a combination of the two. He's going to stretch the field for us."

PCC's sophomore transfer corps is led by running back/wide receiver John Roberson, who played at Palomar College in 2007 and was an All-LA City back at Dorsey High. Roberson could have the inside track at starting tailback for the Lancers. Kuk called him the team's "most versatile offensive player." Second-year wide receiver John Thompson (transfer from El Camino College) will lend experience and "veteran leadership" to the Lancers' offense.

Other top newcomers include offensive lineman Bradley Henderson (6-1, 285 pounds, from Mayfair High), who already tops the depth chart and has the ability to play all three OL positions.

Coming from Griffin High in Georgia is Ahkeem McKinney, a 6-6, 280-pound defensive end. McKinney bounced back from South Carolina State as a redshirt freshman. A talented pass rusher, McKinney made 10 sacks in his senior prep season.

Kuk is also pleased with the additions of two frosh defensive backs in Kevin Ayers, Lynwood High and the younger brother of touted UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, and DJ Ross, who played at Agua Fria High in Arizona. Both were talented running backs at the prep level and provide speed at both cornerback and safety for the PCC secondary.

Will Do, a bounceback outside linebacker from Fresno State via Temple City High, and Kyle Bailey, a 6-2, 250-pound lineman from Washington High, each are vying for starting positions on a deep PCC defense. Bryan Henry, a 6-3, 250-pound defensive end from North Port, Florida, was a participant in the South Central Florida Seniors All-Star Game. Henry just enrolled at PCC this week.

PCC's placekicker on extra points and field goals looks to be Brian Gonzalez, a freshman from Alhambra High who was selected to the 2008 Pasadena Star-News All-Area First Team.

[Photo: Nate Montana participates in passing drills during PCC football practice, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 08/26/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu