Morgan Nevin will bring his bruising brand of football a bit closer to home next season.
Nevin, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker who starred on Truckee’s undefeated 2009 and 2010 state championship teams, signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to play at Sacramento State University.
“I wanted to play close to home. Family is a big part of what I’m about. My parents love to come watch me play,” said Nevin, who dominated the past two seasons at Santa Barbara City College. “The Big Sky is a good conference and I felt this was the best fit for me.”
Nevin said he considered transferring to several colleges, including the University of Nevada, Reno. Ultimately, though, Sacramento State became the clear choice after offering him a full-ride scholarship.
“I was looking at a few schools, but Sacramento State was the only school to show serious interest,” Nevin said Thursday while driving home for the holiday break. “I wanted to go to UNR, but they had one other ‘JuCo’ linebacker transfer, and they went with him. They only needed one.”
The past two seasons have been productive ones for Nevin, who was awarded first-team All-American Pacific Conference honors both years.
This past season, he ranked No. 1 in the state with 139 tackles, while his average of 15.4 tackles per game was nearly five more than the closest runner-up. Nevin led the Vaqueros in tackles for loss (11.5), sacks (6.5) and fumble recoveries (3), and set a school record with 28 tackles in a game.
His freshman season wasn’t bad, either, as Nevin was an All-State Region 5 pick and ranked No. 1 among Southern California players with 118 tackles.
“I had a great time at Santa Barbara. I couldn’t have asked for much more,” said Nevin, who joined a handful of former Truckee teammates when he transferred to Santa Barbara in 2012, after he had walked on as a freshman at Southern Methodist University. “I got to play and live with my best friends, and we helped turn that program around.”
After finishing 4-6 in 2012, Santa Barbara started the 2013 season 6-0 and finished with the most wins since 1991, at 7-3.
In all, the Vaqueros had five former Truckee football players on their roster this past season, including linebackers Jackson Weed and Jake Pettit, safety Colin Christian, and lineman Dillon Sheedy. Mitch Nelson and Braden Waters also played at Santa Barbara in recent seasons, as did Randon Nunez in the mid 2000s.
Sheedy was recently named to the All-American Pacific Conference team along with Nevin, while almost all the former Wolverines played significant roles on defense for the Vaqueros.
Next season, however, Nevin will likely compete on the opposite sideline from his Truckee brethren.
Two Truckee alumni, Zak Pettit and Erik Holmer, play for Sacramento State’s longtime rival, UC Davis, which is a fellow member of the Big Sky Conference. In addition, Truckee grad Luis Aguilar is a linebacker at Eastern Oregon University, which is on Sacramento State’s schedule in 2014, Nevin said.
Nevin signed his letter Wednesday alongside Santa Barbara teammate and quarterback Jarred Evans, who signed with Cincinnati.
“When you sign in mid-year like these guys did, it means you’re academically ready to go. That’s a credit to the work they’ve put in,” said Santa Barbara coach Craig Moropoulos. “Needless to say, their football abilities are tremendous. We’re very proud of them… It’s all about character, and I know they’ll be successful.”
Santa Barbara City College athletics contributed to this story.