Thursday, April 15, 2010

Former Cal Running Back Slocum Now a Walk-on at Fresno State

Fresno Bee

Tracy Slocum graduated from Clovis East High in 2006 as a top-20 running back recruit nationally and took off to play for Cal.  The Bee's 2004 Player of the Year is now back in town, hoping to walk on at Fresno State. "Hopefully, I can have a huge impact; that's the goal," Slocum said. "That's why I'm working so hard. You know, it's my last go-around. Of course I'm going to give it my all ... but we'll have to see."  Slocum has been accepted into Fresno State as a student this fall and is taking courses online and at a local junior college. He needs to have about 96 units completed -- including courses he took in previous years-- to be eligible to play as a senior this fall, and is waiting to hear back from Fresno State as to whether he'll be able to reach that level.

Until then, Bulldogs coaches aren't saying much about his future with the team.  While being back in football would be grand, he said his main goal is continuing his education and putting himself in position to take care of his family, including two children, via that education or through football. Slocum said he'd like to take football as far as he can.  "I could have easily quit [football] and went to school," he said. "But to not even try, I would have regrets."  Slocum said "bad decision making" led to his departure from Cal. He was suspended for the Bears' bowl game in December 2008 and dismissed early the next year.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford called Slocum "a good kid," but "through the development process and maturation process here, there were a series of violations of team rules that ended up forcing us to release him."  The final straw leading to the suspension, Tedford said, was Slocum missing two MRIs. The checkups were to see whether he had a fracture; he had a history of that injury in high school.

Slocum said he missed the appointments because he was "going through it." Being away from family depressed him, the tough academic schedule wore on him, and he wasn't getting much playing time. "All of that stuff added up," he said.  Said Tedford: "I released him from the team and told him he could come back if he made sure nothing happened. Then he got in a fight in a party. We had to release him, we had no choice. ... I hated to do it because I really liked Tracy."   When Cal dismissed Slocum from the team, he was lost.   "Being a Cal football player was my life," he said. "Once that was taken away, I had to sit back and look at everything and kind of be around my family and appreciate life and appreciate everything I'm blessed with because sometimes you don't get that second opportunity. It was tough. It was tough."  But it was a learning experience that may have benefited him in the long run. Clovis East coach Tim Murphy said his former running back "is a completely different person."

"He's come a long way," Murphy said. "He's definitely seen the light and is definitely doing the right things."  Slocum, 22, agreed.  "I've grown up a lot," he said. "I'm not a kid anymore. I know what I want, and it's time for me to go handle my business. I'm a lot older and, I can say, smarter."  Slocum has been lifting weights twice a day and also running every day since last fall. He said he's added muscle and weighs 207 pounds, more than the 185 he weighed in high school and the 198 at Cal. Tedford said Slocum had the bad fortune of playing behind future NFL players Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett and soon-to-be draft pick Jahvid Best. Slocum had 22 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown in 2008. In 2007, he played only special teams. He redshirted in 2006.  The way Tedford described Slocum, he could be a player Fresno State coach Pat Hill loves. Tedford said Slocum is tough, hard-nosed and very competitive and added that he's a good blocker, a good runner and catches the ball well.  He said Slocum "was a great special-teams player for us as well." If Slocum is eligible, he'll compete with Robbie Rouse, Michael Harris, A.J. Ellis and incoming freshman E.J. Schexnayder at the running back position.

No comments: