With both national and local public success, Chris Gocong, Cal Poly’s defensive end football payer, was honored as player of the week after recording six sacks and one touchdown just four weeks into Cal Poly’s 2005 football season.
The general engineering fifth-year student was runner-up for last year’s Buck Buchanan award, given to the top defensive player in NCAA Division 1-AA. Gocong fell just behind first-place winner and teammate Jordan Beck. This year Gocong remains on the Buck Buchanan award watch list for his third year in a row.
“Chris has extraordinary ability and to go along with that he has an extraordinary work ethic,” coach Rich Ellerson said. “He impacts how we make our game plans and how other teams make their game plans.”
Gocong was also named 1-AA.org’s 2005 Division 1-AA Preseason All-American first team. He was also selected to the All-Under Appreciated third team by the Consensus Draft Service and had a school-record of 17.5 sacks in the 2004 season.
Despite his public and personal success on the field, Gocong’s awards are rarely what motivate him on the field, Ellerson said. Regardless of recognition and honors, the players are more concerned with the team’s overall success, according to Ellerson.
“What motivates these guys is the success of the season,” Ellerson said.
Gocong said that he set his own goals for this season, but the team’s goals always come first.
“My individual goal is to beat my sack record this year. I had 17.5 sacks last year and my personal goal is 20,” Gocong said. “But winning the division title would be a lot better than breaking that record.”
With daily football practice, weekly games and on-going schoolwork, Gocong said that the combination of school and sports have often made him forgo the average college student lifestyle.
“I think the biggest sacrifice is time commitment. I can’t go out on Friday night because I have a game Saturday, and I don’t get to go out and party,” Gocong said. “But I think this experience is as enriching as any other college experience.”
However, Gocong has not only sacrificed for football, but for his education as well. According to Ellerson, many of the players chose Cal Poly for both the opportunity to play football and to receive an exceptional education.
“We accommodate those kind of conditions, the best players are here because they wanted both.” Ellerson said. “They wanted to be scholar athletes. They wanted to test themselves on the field and in the classroom.”
Gocong has gained success both on and off the field and his strong work ethic will only increase his success throughout the year, according to Ellerson.
“Chris is off to a great start,” Ellerson said. He is impacting the game and doing a tremendous job of what we ask his position to do. He has fulfilled that role.”