The only team from the Pioneer Football League ever to go to the FCS Playoffs, and of course the only PFL club to win a playoff game, is the University of San Diego Toreros.
USD has at least shared 11 straight PFL titles. Along the way they’ve put players like defensive back Jamal Agnew, tight end Ross Dwelley and quarterback Reid Sinnett on NFL rosters. It’s very likely that Dalton Kincaid will be joining them on Sundays.
Kincaid is entering his junior year and has already landed on two Preseason All-American teams. Interestingly, he landed on campus in San Diego almost by accident.
“I never really expected to end up at USD,” says Kincaid, a Las Vegas native. “As soon as I got the offer from them I started researching the school. I honestly didn’t know even what USD was prior to that.”
The Toreros were the only Division 1 school to give Kincaid an offer. Last year he led all FCS tight ends in yards per catch, beating out Dayton’s Adam Trautman, a 3rd round pick of the Saints.
At 6’5” with good hands and speed, it’s natural to wonder how on earth this kid ended up with the Toreros, a non-scholarship program. Well it’s because he only played one year of high school football.
“I played AAU basketball my whole life, a flag football occasionally. My mom didn’t want me to play tackle,” says Kincaid.
As a senior he transferred to a new high school.
“All my buddies convinced me to play football there so I played football and basketball my senior year and had a great season,” says Kincaid.
Without a full career of tape to work off most recruiters stayed away. USD was the only one to recognize his potential. But they didn’t even really grasp what they had on their hands until freshman football camp, before Kincaid had ever played a single collegiate snap.
“Some of the coaches pulled me aside and said, what do you want to do with this? Do you want to pursue this as a career later on?” says Kincaid. “I didn’t expect to play. I thought I was going to redshirt and do the normal route, as most freshmen do. Getting playing time and being effective I just fell in love with football more and more as the season went on.”
Of his 24 catches as a freshman, 11 went for touchdowns. Only 15 players in the nation, and just two tight ends, got in the end zone more often. But if you’re going to be a tight end at the next level you’re going to have to block. Dalton says, don’t let the glory stats fool you. He likes the dirty work, too.
“A lot of the guys on the team always make fun of me for being more of a pass catching tight end but I love blocking. I’ll throw my head and my body in there. That’s been a big emphasis for the last two years and I expect to take an even bigger role blocking this year,” says Kincaid.
Among his goals for 2020: a 1,000-yard receiving season, at least one pancake block a game, and a playoff win for USD.
“I’ve yet to win a playoff game,” says Kincaid. “They did it the two years before I got there and the last two years we’ve fallen short in the playoffs so winning a playoff game is the biggest goal for me right now.”
That is contingent, of course, on the season being played. The Toreros have been holding Zoom meetings and working out on their own since leaving campus in March. Dalton is hopeful the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t keep the team apart too much longer.
“I miss the guys on the team, not being able to see them and be around them. Everyone’s personalities, just being with the guys, it makes you want to play more football and play for them.”
And, of course, win another PFL ring.