Ready to move onto the next level in their athletic careers, 17 PCC football players from the 2017-2019 seasons take part of the first wave of 4–year university commits for the transfer fall 2020 academic term and football season.
After closing out the season with a 6-4 record, and their first winning season since 2008, Lancer football awaited an impressive number of players to officially sign off to various offers.
However, amongst the 17 players, 3 from the fall 2018 and 2019 seasons emerged as top picks, here’s why:
Sophomore punter Jonathan Borashan, a 2-year letterman starter, has signed on with NCAA division I Dixie State University in Utah. As a Las Vegas native, Dixie State is a way for Borashan to stay close to home on the west coast, though the majority of his division I offers were on the east coast.
“I went to a football camp over winter break at Dixie, even though I didn’t really feel like going, and all the coaches ended up being jaw dropped after they saw me kick and were talking to me the entire time I was there,” Borashan said “It’s kinda funny because I had emailed [Dixie State coaches] over 12 times, sending them my film, but never got a response. After they saw me in person is where it all took off from there.”
Coming to California was Borashan’s only option for wanting to play sports, with no options left back at home to compete at any local community college that would give him the chance that the Lancers did.
Borashan improved in his sophomore season, winning Special Team Player of the Week for the state of California Junior Colleges after completing a 24-yard pass in a late-season win over LA Harbor, as well as that game’s 41-yard average. Borashan reached a 33.5 yard average for the fall 2019 season.
“I never wanted to just play for the stats and end up hurting my team after trying to pursue something for my own personal gain,” Borashan said.
Currently, Borashan isn’t feeling much of an effect under the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic on current athletes and their canceled seasons.
He is currently utilizing the 8 turf football fields that are five minutes from his home to prepare for his upcoming season at Dixie State.
“I’m trying to punt in the NFL, for sure. I’m working really hard and I’m getting better every day. I’m actually even changed right now to go to the field again,” he remarked.
Onto the two-time, All-SCFA offensive linebacker, Hector “Monte” Palacios, has committed to Division III Cal Lutheran University.
As a freshman for the 2018 season, Palacios made 30 tackles and led PCC with 6 sacks. This past season, Palacios led the Lancers with 29 tackles (14 behind the line of scrimmage) and 7.5 sacks.
“Being the shortest player on the field at 5’7, [Palacios] always played with passion and heart,” said head coach Steven Mojarro. “For a person of his stature, you wouldn’t always expect for him to be performing at such a high level in community college. For him to come out and have the sack record that he did, it puts him up there as one of the sack leaders in the history of PCC….he accomplished everything he had set his mind to and more!” Mojarro added.
Palacios had always kept Cal Lutheran in the back of his mind when searching for his 4-year commitment football transfer, viewing it as a prestigious institution, conveniently located close to home, and a suitable fit to complete his BA in business. Equally, Palacio has no hesitation picturing himself as a captain on the field, a leader by voice and example, disciplined, and one who has the backs of his future Kingsmen teammates and coaches.
“The recruitment process was a bit challenging, not going to lie,” Palacios said. “My advice is definitely to market yourself and reach out to coaches when in the process. The best thing you could do is send coaches your film and get your name out there.”
Playing football since the age of 5, Palacios has 15 years worth of knowledge of the game. He believes his exciting energy and extensive work ethic rubs off on his teammates, allowing him to work best for the game he loves.
“I work extremely hard all year around and I have very high expectations for myself football, school, and career wise,” Palacios said. I definitely will add a ton of experience and veteran leadership, for sure.”
Palacio’s prime goal in transferring to Cal Lu is to be the sack leader on the team for his next 2-3 seasons, with hopes to also be named all-SCIAC First Team defense.
“I love the individual stats, but the team always comes first. So if I have to sacrifice for the betterment of the team I most definitely will,” Palacios said. “Though I’m still definitely improving all aspects of my game, I’ll be even better and probably at my best these next two seasons!” he assured.
“I’ve had to adjust, for sure…but we’re athletes, we are used to facing adversity.” Palacios added about his transition within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “My trainer and I have created great alternatives without all the equipment. I run a ton more, I’m doing lots of body weight workouts that are just as effective, I also do lots of cardio, specifically jump rope.”
Already taking on his early 2020 football season commitment as a spring 2020 transfer, all-SCFA First Team linebacker Mark Navarro has moved on to NAIA Kansas Wesleyan University.
The 2-year lettermen led PCC with 63 tackles and 2 interceptions.
With coach Mojarro regularly recognizing Kansas Wesleyan University’s football program throughout the season, and reflecting on previous Lancers’ success on the Kansas Wesleyan team, Navarro never hesitated to keep the Coyotes in mind when competing for his spot at a 4-year commitment.
“They’re consistent with their football program, their winning, and I knew that would be the perfect fit for me” Navarro said. “I know my hard work and effort is what I’ll be bringing to the table,” he added.
Navorro had not stepped foot on a football field for 7 years before joining the Lancers for the 2018 season.
“Mark has a really amazing story, you know. He was supposed to be the star player in high school, but never got it going academically back then, so he was always ineligible to play besides for his freshman year [of high school],” said Mojarro.
When having the opportunity to bring him to Pasadena, both coach Mojarro and coach Louie Corona aided Navorro to further complete and graduate from high school, after dropping out in 2012. Eventually, Mark found his path academically and in football within the two years he attended PCC, and was able to maintain his full ride scholarship to Kansas Wesleyan University.
“He represents the type of athlete that community college is all about, giving people a second chance…if community college wasn’t around, people like Mark wouldn’t get this opportunity, and it’s amazing that he’s moving onto the 4-year level,” Mojarro added.
The remaining 14 Lancers—with 11 sophomores of the 2019 season comprising for the majority of the signings—initiating their 4-year university commitments include defensive linemen Omar Delgado and Robbie Kindle, headed to NAIA Dickinson State in North Dakota. Center Randy Ruano will attend NAIA Midland University in Nebraska, along with 2017 Lancers linebacker Aquinas Hunter. 2019 defensive lineman Alejandro Palacios, joined by cornerback Marquis Williams, are headed to Division II Azusa Pacific University. Offensive linebacker Sam Pyne and offensive linemen Kaleb Zhang alike will be on their way to play at NAIA Ottawa University in Arizona. Fullback Alex Herrera heads to NAIA Kentucky Christian University, also fullback Jeremiah Wittmer’s next stop will be at Division III University of La Verne. Linebacker Jasper Iheaso transfers to Division II Adams State University in Colorado, while defensive lineman Lionel Humphrey III of the 2018 lancer season has signed with Division II East Central University in Oklahoma. Tight end Kaleb Prejean will walk-on for Division I Temple University in Pennsylvania, and final wide receiver Ryan Kotey transfers on to NAIA Graceland University in Iowa.
The Lancer’s current football roster is composed of 52 players, but Mojarro awaits 110 and counting incoming freshmen transferees, with hopes that they show the same capability, effort and drive to replace the spots of the 2020 class.