Photo courtesy of Orange County Register

Cal Poly football commit and Huntington Beach High School standout Kai Ross accounted for 3,100 total yards and 40 touchdowns as a quarterback for the Oilers this past fall.

Rafael Salinas
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Cal Poly football head coach Tim Walsh announced the signing of 11 high school players, one community college transfer and two transfers from four-year schools on Wednesday at the National Signing Day party. The new players were signed to National Letters of Intent or Grant-in-Aid offers.

“We’re real excited about what we’ve accomplished; I think our coaches deserve a lot of credit and I think our community deserves a lot of credit,” Walsh said.

The defensive line will be without Sullivan Grosz, Nick Leyden, and Barrett Wangara, who will all graduate. But that is not to say the defense will be a weakness this upcoming season.

The Mustangs made major additions to the defensive and offensive lines, as five of the 14 signees will play on either the offensive or defensive line.

“I think defensively we’ve done what we needed to do to make us the number one defensive team in our conference,” Walsh said.

The new signees to the defensive line include Augustino Elisaia, Tiasamo Savusa and Washington State transfer Logan Mayes.

Savusa was the 2014 San Diego County lineman of the year. He stands at  6-foot-1, 285 pounds, while Elisaia is an imposing 6-foot, 295 pounds.

The linebacker squad will welcome Burton De Koning, Clayton Hibbert and Noah Letuligasenoa, brother of former Cal Poly player Lefi and current player Josh Letuligasenoa.

The offensive line had some big additions, as well. Calvin Sandeen, Sam Ogee and Zachary Shallcross are the three new additions to the  unit.

Ogee’s highlight tape showed him finishing blocks with regularity and his assignments routinely ended up in the turf.

The Cal Poly quarterback squad sustained a several injuries in 2013, and a beefed-up offensive line will look to lend much more protection to the quarterback position this season.

“I think with our passing game, we’re heavily play-action or quick game,” offensive line coach Saga Tuitele said. “I think with the length, the long arms, they’re able to attack defenders quickly.

Four different quarterbacks played in games for Cal Poly this past season and a lack of protection may have played a factor in the multitude of injuries the position experienced.

The coaches emphasized size and speed were the two areas in which the Mustangs were looking to improve. Speed was addressed on both sides of the ball, with the additions of defensive backs Aaron Johnson, Solomon Dixon and Mekai Sheffie, players secondary coach Neil Fendall said would make an impact on the defensive end.

“The kid flat out brings it,” Fendall said of Johnson’s ability.

Fendall also described Dixon as a “true lineup cover lockdown corner.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Alex Suchesk and Lance Mudd are the newly signed running backs.

“You have a guy that can stick his foot in the dirt and take it to the house,”  running backs coach Aristotle Thompson said, when describing Mudd’s running style. “I’m fired up for both of these guys.”

A new quarterback will also be added to the Cal Poly competition this offseason. Kai Ross out of Huntington Beach High School is a player Walsh said the coaches are excited to have signed.

“Kai Ross is a good enough player in his own merit that we would have been stupid not to take him,” Walsh said.

Ross displayed an ability to move in the pocket and create space to make throws down the field in his highlight tape.

“I had him in my office on his official visit, we talked football for an hour and a half, I was extremely blown away with his football IQ,” quarterbacks coach Juston Wood said. “He has a tremendous foundation with the things that he’s been asked to do.”

When asked to compare Ross to a single pro quarterback, Wood promptly answered, “Russell Wilson.”

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