Football season has been over for the Thunderbirds since Nov. 15, but after hiring head coach Carl Hargrave the team is preparing for a long run at the Valley of the Sun Bowl next year.”Recruitment is job one,” said Hargrave at a press conference where he was introduced as the new face of the MCC football team.
Since that statement Hargrave has recruited more than 26 players, of which 16 have either been named First-Team All-Conference, First-Team All-Region, or received some other sort of award for their athletic performance.
“Our recruiting has been tremendous, we have gotten a lot of players out of the East Valley that we really feel good about and hit every position that we needed,” Hargrave said.
The team has also picked up players out of South Mountain, Cactus and the Phoenix and Scottsdale area.
“It’s a good energetic group of freshmen and a number of them are qualifiers which you are starting to see at the junior college level,” Hargrave said.
Athletes who are “Qualifiers” have met the NCAA qualifications to play at the Division I level, which includes a minimum grade-point average in core classes and an appropriate SAT or ACT score based on that GPA.
Tryouts for the MCC football team began on March 25 in order to take advantage of any opportunity to find players that will work well in Hargrave’s new system.
According to Hargrave, 25 men and one woman showed up for the try outs.
Hargrave plans on taking five players from the tryouts to help back up the team for the long season ahead.
For spring ball, the team is allowed 20 practices and plans on using every one of them to develop the team’s chemistry.
Looking ahead to the football schedule for next year, the Thunderbirds will face off against one of their rivals Scottsdale Community College, in the home opener before traveling to Thatcher and Yuma to face Eastern Arizona and Arizona Western.
“We feel good about the schedule, as coaches, you always look at the schedule in a positive way,” Hargrave said.
“I think it fits with what were trying to do and give us a chance to play one of our close rivals right away and see where we’re at.”
Hargrave is also very satisfied with the coaching staff he has put together.
He has brought in Richard Solomon as assistant coach and defensive coordinator along with Scott Player, former punter for the Arizona Cardinals, as the special teams coach.
The team will host a fundraiser, the 6th Annual Thunderbird Golf Tournament, on May 1, with all proceeds benefiting the players on the team.