Anthony Soto, a familiar name to UC Davis football fans, is back where he belongs.
“When the opportunity came up for Anthony to be a part our family, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Aggie head coach Ron Gould, who was introduced to the former UCD wide receiver by assistant Kevin Daft. “When I met with him, I was very impressed. I didn’t know him before he came in, but I had the opportunity to watch him on film and saw that he was very competitive.”
Soto was hired this winter as offensive quality control manager, replacing the departed Quinn Tedford, who joined his dad Jeff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Soto feels like he never left. Familiar faces. Traditional colors. Aggie Pride. A cast of receivers that brings back memories of when Soto broke in behind the likes of Bakari Grant, Chris Carter and Sean Creadick in 2008.
“A lot of our guys today have the ability to get to (the level of that trio),” said Soto, who spent the past season coaching high school football in his native Fresno. “Some of our current guys just don’t have the experience yet, but there is a lot of speed out there and I think we have the kind of guys that have the opportunity to be that good … it’s just a matter of getting the experience and putting the work in.”
Soto’s smile widens when he’s asked to elaborate about the current Aggies:
“Jermale Jefferson can really fly. He’s moving full speed (on that first step). Once (injured) Alex Cannon is back, he is one of our fastest guys.”
And there are returning seniors Chris Martin, T.J. King and Corey Galindo … With another freshman Keelan Doss (Alameda High) joining first-year rocket Jefferson (Dorsey of Los Angeles), Soto sees plenty of fresh flyers heading downfield when the UCD season opens.
As QC manager, his role is to assist coaches in getting ready for practices, break down films and script plays for scrimmages. When the season starts, Soto — like his colleague defensive quality control assistant Robert Haney — will break down opponents’ tendencies.
“And any kind of projects the assistant coaches need done, I’ll take care of that, too,” the 24-year-old Soto explained, adding that he hopes his return to Aggie Nation will be a rung on the ladder to a coaching gig:
“It’s great. I always wanted to get into college coaching. It’s a great opportunity to come back, work with this staff, work with coach Gould. It’s been really exciting getting this season going.
“And the guys are doing a really good job. There’s a lot of intensity, a lot of energy out here … so it’s been a lot of fun for everybody.”
UCD camp is in the middle of Week 2 as the locals prepare for the Aug. 30 season opener at No. 11 Stanford.
“Anthony’s doing an outstanding job,” Gould told The Enterprise. “All the little things we need as they relate to the offense and the playbook are well-organized by him. I’m very, very pleased with what he’s doing.
“I just wish he could line up and play wide receiver for us again.”
Notes: Saturday’s 10 a.m. practice at Toomey Field again will be open to the public, Gould announced Tuesday. … A 2012 graduate with a community and regional development degree, Soto collected 109 balls for 1,291 yards and 10 touchdowns during his five years on campus (he was a redshirt freshman in 2008). His junior season was his most productive: 44 catches, 551 yards and four scores. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound X-receiver was a three-year All-North Yosemite League selection at San Joaquin Memorial High in football while averaging more than 10 points per game in basketball. … Typical Aggie student-athlete, Soto is a National Honor Society member owning awards in algebra and American history.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.