New recruits hope to deliver 3-peat for SMC football

The Santa Monica College Corsairs football team is coming off back-to-backconference championships for the first time in decades.

As they prepare to defend their title, one benefit their impressive record affords them are standout recruits even players formerly from Division I programs.

"With our recent success, word has spread how we treat guys," said head coach Gifford Lindheim. "Winning back-to-back conference championships, guys going on and doing well, word has spread it’s a good place to go."

Among the Corsairs' incoming standouts are running back Dezden Petty, offensive lineman Dontae Levingston, and linebacker Daveed Carter.

Petty is no stranger to Southern California, a former star at Gardena High School. He also played quarterback before departing for the University of Washington.

"I loved the University of Washington," said Petty. "While I was there, I got better and tougher as a running back."

One reason for Petty’s transfer to SMC has a lot to do with his Southern California roots.

"Our offensive coordinator had a lot to do with me coming to SMC," said Petty. "He was my offensive coordinator my freshman year in high school, so there was a lot of familiarity there."

Though having a Division I pedigree does have its advantages, it does not guarantee first-string-roster spots by any means. In this program, all spots are up for grabs.

"We have a culture of competition," said Lindheim. "You always have to compete, though our recruits will be prominent in our rotations."

Helping shore up the defensive side of the ball is Carter, a former University of Toledo linebacker. Described by his coach as being "very smart" and having a "high motor," Carter’s goals on the season are much bigger than just posting a good record.

"We definitely want to win that third [conference] championship, but I really want to be a leader for this team," said Carter. "Other than that, I want to get my grades right, meet some new people and hopefully secure a scholarship."

Helping clear out the gaps for the Corsairs' running game will be Levingston, an offensive lineman formerly of Southern Methodist University.

Levingston was a major recruit out of high school, and according to Lindheim, the team is "happy to have him."

Levingston is optimistic about what the upcoming season holds.

"The Santa Monica offense puts me in a good spot to be seen," said Levingston. "While I’m here, my main goal is to not take any plays off and finish the season as the top offensive lineman."

Even though the talent these players bring to the field would seem to be their biggest attribute, Lindheim has a slightly different perspective. He is not just excited for their skills, but also their experience, and hopes for tutelage as well.

“We get high level players with good knowledge that hopefully rubs off on the younger guys,” said Lindheim.

The Corsairs open their season on the road against Mount San Jacinto College this Saturday at 1 p.m.