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Vaquero All-American Headed for Northridge

January 15, 1987|GARY KLEIN | Times Staff Writer

Glendale College's Rob Huffman, an All-American quarterback and the Western State Conference Player of the Year, said the chance to stay close to home and help Cal State Northridge win an NCAA Division II national championship were the reasons he decided to sign a letter of intent last week with the Matadors.

"A lot of people said I made a mistake going to a Division II school, but I don't agree," said Huffman, who played at Verdugo Hills High. "I have a great opportunity to start at Northridge and they run a similar offense to the one we used at Glendale."

Huffman, 6-3, 200 pounds, was 20-2 in two years as starting quarterback for the Vaqueros, who spent most of last season as the nation's No. 1-ranked junior college team.

Glendale was upset by Riverside, 28-10, in the Pony Bowl in December, but that had no effect on the Northridge coaching staff's opinion of Huffman.

"Right now, he has to figure as our starter," said CSUN Coach Bob Burt, whose team went 8-3 and finished second last season in the Western Football Conference. "I don't think there is any problem with that. His being our quarterback gives us a quality, intelligent and experienced leader.

"Guys on our team who have been around the office are really excited--and he hasn't even taken a snap yet."

Huffman visited the University of Miami after the season but was only offered the chance to make the team as a walk-on by Hurricane Coach Jimmy Johnson. Huffman said he turned down a scholarship offer from Louisville because he did not like the location of the school.

Huffman made it known that he was interested in going to Northridge a few weeks ago during a pickup basketball game with Glendale teammate Rocky Palamara and Palamara's brother, Tony, who played at CSUN last season.

Said Burt: "When there is a guy we're interested in, who we think is going to be heavily recruited we say, 'Hey, we're interested in you. If you want to get together, let us know.'

"You're definitely a factor in recruiting until the player tells you he's going somewhere else. Rob intimated through a friend that he would be interested in talking to us, so we got back to him."

Huffman, who will begin classes at CSUN Jan. 29, is one of several Glendale players who recently signed letters of intent and will transfer to their selected schools for the start of the second semester.

Others include strong safety Kevin Henderson, who signed with Cal State Fullerton, cornerback Chris Bahr (San Diego State) and linebackers Mike Sweeney (Cal State Long Beach), Tommy Lopez (San Jose State) and Mark Sampson (Pacific).

After verbally committing to USC during the NCAA's down period last week when players could not sign letters of intent, defensive back Chris Hale signed with the Trojans. Other players that made their commitments formal were center Dave Ewing (Fresno State), offensive tackle Todd Vradenburg (San Diego State) and linebacker Don Scott (Rice).

Defensive lineman John Bavaro, who has visited Miami, Oregon and Northern Arizona, will take two more recruiting trips before deciding where he will sign. Defensive lineman Steve Calabro will choose between San Jose State and Oregon State.

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