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Nine Recruits Sign NLIs in Regular Period to Play Football at Cal Poly

Nine Recruits Sign NLIs in Regular Period to Play Football at Cal Poly


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Three transfers, two from the community college ranks, and six high school student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent or financial aid tender during the Regular Signing Period for Division I football. The announcement was made Wednesday by 10th-year Mustang football coach Tim Walsh and Cal Poly director of athletics Don Oberhelman in the Cal Poly Football Office.

The class of recruits is heavy on linebackers with three signing NLIs. Also in the group are three offensive and defensive linemen, one quarterback and two slot backs.

Cal Poly signed four players during the inaugural Early Signing Period on Dec. 20, as well as one transfer from West Hills College in Coalinga. That group included two offensive linemen, a linebacker, a cornerback and a safety.

"We are excited to see the end result of a lot of hard work the past year in the recruiting process," said Walsh. "We are looking to strengthen our offensive line with three freshmen and a community college transfer. Our offensive skill guys include three running backs and one wide receiver as well as a quarterback."

"We are looking at a host of junior college and four-year transfers to help with some immediacy on the defensive side of the ball, especially on our linebacker positions," Walsh added. "It is always an exciting day and we look forward to speaking about it all as the letters of intent roll in!"

The Early Signing Period ran from Dec. 20-22 while the Midyear Community College Transfer Period was open from Dec. 20 through Jan. 15. The Regular Signing Period opened today and ends April 1.

Cal Poly captured the Big Sky championship in their first season in the conference (2012), is 26-22 in its first six years in the Big Sky, has claimed five conference titles in the last 14 years, including four in the eight-year existence of the Great West Conference (2004-11), and earned its fourth NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth in 2016.

The Mustangs have won 61 of their last 83 home contests (73 percent) and, overall, Cal Poly has won 99 of its last 172 games (58 percent) going back to the 2002 finale.

This fall, senior fullback Jared Mohamed became the 14th Mustang to earn All-Big Sky Conference first-team honors after rushing for 1,172 yards and four touchdowns. The 21st Mustang to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season rushed for more than 100 yards in a game seven times (eight for his career), including a career-high 194 yards in the Mustangs' lone win this year, a 35-28 decision against Portland State. A third-team All-American, Mohamed also had 97 yards against San Jose State and is 10th on Cal Poly's all-time single-season rushing list.

The signees (listed alphabetically):

Jojo Falo, DL, 6-2, 290
San Diego, Calif. (Madison High School/Air Force Prep)

A transfer from Air Force Prep, Falo is a 2017 graduate of Madison High School in San Diego, which also produced Mustang defensive lineman Tiasamo Savusa. Under the guidance of head coach Rick Jackson, the 2016 Warhawks claimed the California state 2AA Division championship after capturing the CIF-San Diego Section Division I title. Madison was 13-2 overall in 2016. Falo made 58 tackles (28 solo), including 7.0 for lost yardage and three sacks. He also notched five quarterback hurries, broke up two passes and was a center on the offensive line. Selected to play in the 2017 Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu as a three-star recruit, Falo earned first-team All-San Diego Section honors as a senior and second-team accolades as a junior. Three times he earned All-Western League honors — the first team as a senior and junior and the second team as a sophomore — and Falo also landed on the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team. Also recruited by most Big Sky and Mountain West teams along with Army, Navy, Air Force and South Dakota, Falo decided to transfer to Cal Poly "because it was the only school that gave me a second chance at my dream of playing college football and having a great future. It is a great school with great degrees and a great football program."

Vatulele Finau, OL, 6-2, 265
Lennox, Calif. (Serra High School)

An offensive and defensive lineman under head coach Scott Altenberg at Serra High School in Gardena, Finau was recruited as an offensive lineman and was considered for All-Mission League honors. The Cavaliers finished 6-5 overall last fall, posting a 4-2 mark for third place in the Mission League. Serra qualified for the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. In addition to Cal Poly, Finau was recruited by San Diego, Western New Mexico, Columbia and Air Force. "I chose Cal Poly because the players really felt like family when I visited. The academics are great and the coaches are great people." Finau, a full Tongan, aspires to be a civil engineer or aerospace engineer. He did not start playing football until reaching high school. He was a starter as a tackle as a sophomore, a guard as a junior and a center as a senior. "I will play anything the team needs me to play," said Finau.

Dusty Frampton, SB, 5-11, 214
Linden, Calif. (Saint Mary's High School)

Under head coach Tony Franks at Saint Mary's High School in Stockton, Frampton rushed for 1,648 yards and 24 touchdowns last fall and 2,345 yards and 42 scores as a junior in 2016, shattering school rushing records. Frampton averaged 8.3 yards per carry in 2017 and 9.1 yards in 2016, leading the Rams to a 25-5 mark and a pair of Tri-City Athletic League titles the last two years. Saint Mary's defeated Folsom 56-25 for the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title in 2016 and fell to Folsom 50-21 in the championship final last fall, a game in which Frampton was injured on the first play. His prep career numbers include 552 carries for 4,703 yards and 83 touchdowns, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. He also caught 13 passes, three for touchdowns. A middle linebacker on defense, Frampton notched 22 tackles as a sophomore and six more as a junior. Named TCAL Offensive Player of the Year and All-CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section by last season, Frampton produced 10 100-yard games, including 336 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns against Cosumnes Oaks. He also had 10 100-yard games as a junior, including career highs of 37 carries and 359 yards against Freedom, scoring five times, in addition to 30 carries for 283 yards and three scores against Folsom and 21 carries for 265 yards and six touchdowns versus Serra. Frampton also had a pair of 100-yard games as a sophomore, giving him 22 for his career. Honors after his junior season include first-team All-Tri-City Athletic League, All-Area as chosen by the Stockton Record, second-team offense on the Junior All-American Team by and Rivals All-Norcal. Sacramento State, North Dakota and Montana also recruited Frampton, who chose to become a Mustang because "I believe that Cal Poly offers the best of both worlds — great education and great football." Frampton will be the first member of his family to go to college, "a personal achievement of mine."

Jalen Hamler, QB, 6-2, 200
Los Angeles, Calif. (Lawndale High School)

Hamler passed for 4,372 yards and 49 touchdowns with just six interceptions in 342 attempts and rushed for 1,437 yards and 21 more scores in his varsity career under head coach Travis Clark at Lawndale High School. Hamler twice earned Ocean League offensive most valuable player honors and led the Cardinals to the quarterfinal round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs last fall and the semifinals of the Division 6 playoffs in 2016. Lawndale was 11-1 in 2017 and 8-5 in 2016. As a senior, Hamler completed 85 of 156 passes (53 percent) for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions while rushing for 825 yards (11.0 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns en route to team offensive MVP honors. His junior-year stats included completing 111 of 183 passes (61 percent) for 2,534 yards and 26 scores with two interceptions and rushing for 612 yards (7.4 average per carry) and eight scores, earning Ocean League offensive MVP, team MVP and first-team All-CIF-Southern Section 5 accolades. He also played in two varsity games as a sophomore in addition to playing basketball in the 2015-16 season. As a senior, Hamler completed 16 of 19 passes for 362 yards and six touchdowns against Santa Monica and rushed for 192 yards and two scores against San Pedro. In 2016, he passed for 369 yards and four touchdowns versus San Pedro and 321 yards and five scores against West Torrance while rushing for 122 yards and two scores against Torrance. Also recruited by Montana State, Northern Iowa and New Mexico, Hamler chose Cal Poly "because it was the best place I felt I could become a better football player as well as a better man over the next four years. This is a great family to be a part of."

Daniel Machado, OL, 6-3, 270
San Jose, Calif. (Valley Christian High School)

Coached by his father, Mike Machado, at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Daniel Machado excelled on the offensive and defensive lines, earning honorable mention honors for the Chronicle All-Metro and All-Bay Area Newsgroup teams on offense. He also landed on the West Catholic Athletic League first team and the All-CIF-Central Coast Section first team. Machado made 12 total tackles, including a half-sack and four tackles for lost yardage, in limited duty on defense last fall and led the Warriors to a 9-3 overall record, 6-1 mark for second place in the West Catholic Athletic League and a berth in the semifinal round of the CIF-Central Coast Section Division Open Division 2 playoffs. Machado also competed in track and field, capturing the WCAL shotput title as a sophomore. Also recruited by Sacramento State, Army, Fresno State, Cal and UC Davis, Machado decided to become a Mustang because "Cal Poly is an amazing campus with a great education and a great football program with a tremendous staff."

Xavier Moore, SB, 6-1, 188
Tracy, Calif. (Tracy High School)

Under head coach Matt Shrout at Tracy High School, Moore rushed for 309 yards and six touchdowns, caught 39 passes for 646 yards and five more scores and averaged 17.7 yards on 14 kickoff returns as a senior. He has run a 4.59 40, scored three touchdowns against Lincoln on runs of 3, 1 and 9 yards and also scored 26 points against Kimball with two rushing touchdowns, a pair of receiving scores and a two-point conversion run. Moore led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record, second-place finish in the Tri-City Athletic League and into the quarterfinal round of the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Division I playoffs. Moore earned first-team All-TCAL honors as a running back and also was named MVP of the Passing Down's NorCal Regional and earned the team's Weeks Award for highest grade-point average on the team (4.50) as well as the team's Tommy Greenhow Scholar Athlete for GPA and field performance. He also was named a San Joaquin Scholar-Athlete, won Diamond All-American Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors and was invited to play in the Diamond All-American Game. As a junior, Moore rushed for 316 yards and two scores, averaging 9.3 yards per carry, and caught six passes for 160 yards. He intercepted a pass on defense and earned second-team All-TCAL honors as a running back. Also recruited by Yale, Columbia, Azusa Pacific and UC Davis, Moore is coming to Cal Poly because "the atmosphere and area are unmatchable. In addition, I feel that, academically, Cal Poly is a great fit for me. I also love the small-town feel of San Luis Obispo, and it feels like home."

Anthony Rosales, LB, 6-0, 220
Chino Hills, Calif. (Chino Hills High School/Mt. SAC)

Rosales earned first-team All-America Community College honors as a sophomore at Mt. San Antonio College after notching 56 total tackles (33 solo), including 7.5 tackles for lost yardage and two sacks. The team captain also broke up five passes, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles. Rosales helped the Mounties to an 8-3 record, a tie for first place in the National Division's Central League and a berth in the Western State Bowl. He was named Southern California Football Association National Division Central League Defensive Player of the Year and landed on the All-California Community College Region III first team. As a freshman, Rosales made 28 tackles (12 solo), including two tackles for lost yardage, 1.5 sacks and a pass breakup. He is a 2016 graduate of Chino Hills High School, where he made 252 career tackles in three varsity seasons (35 games). His career numbers also include 29.5 tackles for lost yardage, 17 sacks and five quarterback hurries. As a senior, Rosales made 90 tackles, 16 for lost yardage and 8.5 sacks, and caught seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown en route to first-team All-Baseline League and All-CIF-Southern Section West Valley Division honors. He made 75 tackles and intercepted five passes as a junior and 87 tackles, seven of them sacks, as a sophomore. Rosales' career high for tackles in a game is 16 against Great Oak as a sophomore. He also made 13 stops against Los Alamitos as a senior and produced four career double-digit tackle games. Chino Hills was 10-3 during Rosales' senior season in 2015, winning the Baseline League title and reaching the semifinal round of the CIF-Southern Section West Valley Division playoffs. He also played baseball as a freshman and sophomore, hitting .344 during his sophomore season. Rosales also was recruited by Texas A&M-Commerce, West Texas A&M and Midwestern State before choosing to become a Mustang. "The deciding factors for choosing Cal Poly are the top-notch education that is provided, the opportunity to play FCS football, the location of the school, the campus itself, and the bond between the players and coaches," said Rosales, who will major in communication studies and wants to be a firefighter. "All of the coaches are great people and I enjoyed hanging out with the team on my visit."

Corey Thomas, LB, 6-2, 200
Upland, Calif. (Upland High School)

Named defensive MVP of the Baseline League, Thomas made 114 total tackles (70 solo), including 9.0 tackles for lost yardage, and six sacks along with 26 quarterback hurries as a senior under head coach Tim Salter at Upland High School. Upland finished 12-1 in 2017, won the Baseline League title with a 5-0 mark and reached the finals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. Thomas recovered three fumbles, returning one for a touchdown, broke up two passes and blocked a field goal en route to first-team All-Area honors as chosen by the Ontario Daily Bulletin and the All-CIF-Southern Section Division 2 squad. He made a career-high 15 tackles against Los Osos and recorded six quarterback hurries against Tesoro. As a junior in 2016, Thomas earned 104 total tackles (53 solo), including 7.0 tackles for lost yardage, all sacks, earning first-team All-Baseline League and first-team All-Inland Empire. He also was credited with seven quarterback hurries and intercepted a pass. He notched 14 tackles against Mountain Pointe. For his career, Thomas made 229 tackles, including 13 sacks among his 16 tackles for lost yardage, and hurried the quarterback 33 times. Thomas recorded 11 games with double-digit tackles. Also recruited by Azusa Pacific and Idaho, Thomas elected to choose Cal Poly "because of the location and the magnitude the degree from Cal Poly carries."

Matt Wright, LB, 6-2, 225
Monterey, Calif. (Monterey High School/Hartnell College)

As a freshman at Hartnell College last fall, Wright earned 38 tackles (23 solo), including 13 for lost yardage and eight sacks, and also recovered four fumbles and broke up three passes. Hartnell was 5-5 in 2017, finishing tied for third in the American Division's Golden Coast League at 4-2. As a freshman in 2016, Wright recorded 27 tackles (19 solo) in seven games with six quarterback hurries, five sacks, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a blocked kick as Hartnell finished 6-5 and qualified for the Stadium '76 Bowl. As a senior under head coach Dan Brown at Monterey High School in 2015, Wright made 31 tackles (21 solo), including 7.0 tackles for lost yardage and four sacks. He also forced two fumbles and broke up a pass. On the other side of the ball, Wright caught 25 passes for 547 yards and three touchdowns and carried the ball eight times for 104 yards and another score. He earned All-Monterey County honors as a junior. Wright also attended Trinity Christian High School in Monterey, where he played 8-man football as a freshman and made the school's honor roll. Also recruited by Kansas, Southeast Louisiana and Portland State, Wright signed on with Cal Poly "because of the great opportunities on and off the field. I'm going to be getting a quality education which will serve me well after my football career is over. The coaching staff and I have built a strong relationship and, defensively, I will be able to get off the ball and make plays."

During the Early Signing Period in December-January, Cal Poly announced the signings of:

Andrew Cokley, OL, 6-4, 265, Folsom, Calif. (Vista del Lago High School)
Dustin Grein, LB, 6-1, 205, Turlock, Calif. (Turlock High School)
Kevin Howell, CB, 5-10, 185, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Thousand Oaks High School/Nevada)
Caden Ochoa, S, 5-11, 185, Bakersfield, Calif. (Bakersfield High School)
Apefai Taifane, OL, 6-3, 290, Amanaye, American Samoa (Leone High School/West Hills College)