Lending valuable experience
Transfers quick to fit in at CMU
Colorado Mesa University football coach Russ Martin knew junior college transfers Will Harvey and Ian Driskill would play significant roles for the Mavericks.
With a rash of early season injuries, their experience has become invaluable.
“It’s been good having them because — like we’ve been talking about with some of the injuries we’ve had — to give us depth and playing time both on the defense and special teams,” Martin said. “It’s nice to have some guys with experience that have played college football games.”
The Mavericks have lost seven defensive players to injuries for at least one game, and three are out for the season.
Harvey and Driskill, who transferred in the spring from Bakersfield (Calif.) College, were prepared to fill in from the start.
“The nice thing about Will and Ian is they bought into our team and expectations from Day One,” Martin said. “They immediately jumped in and worked their tails off. They never really say a whole lot. They do what the coaches ask them to do. They showed by their work ethic they wanted to be a huge part of this program.”
Former Bakersfield transfer and Mesa assistant coach Seth Damron recruited Harvey, a defensive end, and Driskill, a linebacker. Damron’s father, Brent, and grandfather, Duane, coached the Bakersfield program for several years.
“Bakersfield is a good connection to have,” Martin said. “They’ve had not only good tradition, they do a good job of getting kids academically on track.
“There’s a lot of (junior colleges) that will have some great players, but academically there’s no way.”
Martin said he would prefer to build the Mesa program with freshmen, but he will bring in some junior college players to fill holes.
If Mesa pursues junior college players, they will be from programs where Martin knows the coaches and the character of the program, he said.
“They’ll do a good job of keeping their players on track,” he said. “It’s the same thing we look for in the high school programs, but they just have some college experience.”
Harvey and Driskill were happy to find a college where they could continue to play and finish their education.
“I got on the phone and started talking to (Seth Damron),” Harvey said. “He said it’s a great area. The weather’s a lot nicer than back home. There’s fishing and camping. When I came out on the recruiting trip, I loved it out here.”
Driskill said he was hoping to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a scholarship, but the offer was pulled.
“I was looking at my other options,” Driskill said. “I talked to Will, and he had already been on his official visit. I called the coach, and it went from there.
“Will said it was nice. I could’ve stayed at Bakersfield in the spring. I wanted to leave and do something else.”
Both players transferred to CMU in January and participated in spring ball.
“It was odd at first, being a new guy, but everyone is nice,” Harvey said. “Within a couple weeks, I knew everyone just about.”
Going to Mesa together made the adjustment a little easier, especially for Harvey, who was in the midst of a position change.
Harvey played linebacker through high school and into college, but moved to defensive end his second year at Bakersfield.
“I’m trying to get better on my pass rushing,” Harvey said. “The best thing about it is, I don’t have to know everyone’s position on defense. I just have to do my job right.”
Martin is happy to have two college transfers fit into the program, something that can be difficult with transfers.
“They’re good examples of young men you want in the program,” Martin said.