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Amerson Felt No Family Ties When He Selected Northridge

September 28, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK

Drew Amerson might easily have chosen Northern Arizona over Cal State Northridge following his brother's lead as a Division I-AA playmaker.

But Amerson opted instead to follow Marcus Brady, his teammate and quarterback at San Diego Morse High, to Northridge, where he led the Big Sky Conference with 72 receptions last season.

"I wanted to come here," said Amerson, a sophomore. "I wanted to be with Marcus, be closer to home."

Now, if he could just get back in the game. But Amerson's desire might pay off sooner than expected.

Amerson, who suffered a hyper-extended right knee returning a kick three weeks ago at Southwest Texas State, might play Saturday against Idaho State in a Big Sky game at North Campus Stadium.

Although the initial prognosis was bleak, rehabilitation has gone rapidly for Amerson, whose 10 catches tie him for the team lead.

Amerson practiced this week and is considered questionable.

"I've been cutting hard on it and it's getting better every day," Amerson said. "But I'm still taking it day by day. If you ask me, I'm going to play. But we'll wait and see."

Amerson was recruited by Northern Arizona, where his brother, Archie Amerson, excelled after graduating from Morse. Archie Amerson set a Big Sky single-season rushing record with 2,079 yards in 1996 and received the Walter Payton award, given to the top player in Division I-AA.

Amerson's rushing record was broken by Charles Roberts of Sacramento State in 1998.

Today, Archie Amerson is following his brother's lead. Although listed as a running back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Amerson ranks third in the Canadian Football League with 58 receptions.

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Northridge's running game, averaging only 120 yards in three games, remains a topic of concern.

The Matadors rank eighth in the Big Sky in rushing and last in rushing touchdowns with two.

Bruce Molock and Terrelus Wright have logged the most carries but have been prone to fumble. Matt Hicks, a former North Hollywood High back who transferred from Air Force in August, is lagging in preparation and likely will redshirt.

"I'm fine with that," Hicks said. "It'll just give me a chance to get better."

Julien Sells, a junior defensive back and transfer from Fresno State, has been moved to running back. Sells rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at San Diego Castle Park High.

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Shawnbay Jones, former Northridge defensive end and among its leading tacklers the last two seasons, would have helped the Matadors this season. But his appeal for another year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA because he played too many games as a freshman at Sacramento City College.

Wednesday, Jones and former defensive back Chazz Moore, visited Northridge to copy videotapes of their performances. Both are seeking tryouts with the fledgling XFL, scheduled to begin early next year.

Jones said he has been offered a tryout by the league's Los Angeles franchise, and Moore, a two-year starter for Northridge, said he had a tryout last week with the Las Vegas franchise.

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