SDSU Athletes Helped SD Fleet in Its Inaugural Season

The San Diego Fleet had a winning season with the help of some familiar faces from San Diego State University.

The team was at one point tied for second in the western division of the American Alliance of Football.

Part of the Fleet’s success this year was due to the players who made SDCCU stadium their home field in college. Out of the 52 former professional and college athletes on the Fleet’s roster, eight are San Diego State graduates.

“It’s a blessing to be back, San Diego is my second home,” Fleet cornerback Kameron Kelly said.

Growing up in Texas, Kelly was recruited by SDSU in 2013. Throughout his three years starting for SDSU, he had nine interceptions and two forced fumbles. After college, Kelly played for the Dallas Cowboys and was cut after a year. Kelly went back home to Texas and continued to work on his craft, waiting for another opportunity. The SDSU star corner back then made his own opportunity by personally calling the general manager of the Fleet, Dave Boller, selling himself to be given a chance with the team.

That single phone call led to the Fleet picking up one of the most important players on their defense. Kelly led the team with three interceptions and one of those being a pick six against the Salt Lake Stallions in week five.

“I’m thankful for the second chance,” Kelly said.

Another previous SDSU defender who has excelled for the Fleet is linebacker Eric Pinkins. Pinkins tied for fourth in tackles for the Fleet and loves to be back where it all started.

“It’s exciting to be back, I have so many memories here,” Pinkins said.

Pinkins received a scholarship to play at SDSU from 2009 to 2013. He compiled 172 tackles and three interceptions in his time for the Aztecs. Pinkins went on to be drafted in the sixth round by the Seattle Seahawks. He was signed by the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys shortly before signing on to the Fleet. 

“We’re always out here representing SDSU,” Pinkins said. 

Pinkins mentions how he and the seven other SDSU alumni represented SDSU every time they stepped on the field.

Other mentionable SDSU standouts have been kicker, Donnie Hageman, who kicked a game-winning field goal week five against the Salt Lake Stallions and former Cowboy, Gavin Escobar who is third in receiving yards on the team. 

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Player Position Years Enrolled at SDSU
Alex Barrett DE 2013-2016
Daniel Brunskill OT 2013-2016
Gavin Escobar TE 2010-2012
Darrell Greene OG 2012-2015
Donny Hageman K 2014-2015
Kameron Kelly CB 2014-2017
Eric Pinkins LB 2009-2012
Terry Poole OT 2013

The city is fired up and has been waiting for a team, and hopefully we can be that team, Kelly said.

This report was a collaboration between NBC 7 and the SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies.

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