By Gil Milanes
Sophomore – defensive back, Anthony Figueroa, received a scholarship last fall to Oklahoma Baptist University after completing two seasons playing football at East Los Angeles College.
“I made sure all my classes were available to transfer, I made sure my GPA was always high and in the field I put in the work as best as I could,” Figueroa said.
During Figueroa’s two years at ELAC, his statistics totaled up to 28 Solo tackles, 23 Assists, 51 Tackles, averaged 4.6 tackles per game and 2 interceptions.
ELAC’s football coach Bobby Godinez describe Figueroa, “as a coach’s dream kind of athlete. He is a great athlete with great potential. He was our team defensive captain. He started as a quarterback but we moved him to free safety and he lead the defense,” Godinez said.
As part of the process, ELAC coaches submitted a video to OBU. “As soon as the season was over my coaches sent out my film and transcripts to schools all over the country,” Figueroa said.
The video is a collection of the football player’s highlights through the season; the purpose is to demonstrate the players potential on the field.
Figueroa added, “Out of all the schools, Oklahoma Baptist University was one of the schools that called back and said they would like me to be part of the program.”
The offer includes full paid tuition, paid dormitory and paid meal plan.
Figueroa started at OBU this spring. The transition between ELAC and OBU has been gratifying for Figueroa. “The schooling is a little different. There is a lot less people. I have to take classes studying the bible,” Figueroa said.
Although Figueroa is a Catholic, OBU being a Christian university does not require its students to be Christian in order to attend. “At the end of the day it’s about believing in God and his purpose for you in life,” Figueroa said.
Moving out of state and adjusting to a new place has not been an issue for Figueroa,
“I’m adapting well. The weather is a little different but I’m still doing the same exact thing I was doing back home, just in a different place,’’ Figueroa said.
Figueroa also discussed the dynamics in his new team, “this team wasn’t that great from what I heard last season but that wasn’t important to me. When you are a good football player, your goal is to make whoever you are around better. So far, since I’ve been here, it has been a lot of good things, they pick off my energy and we make a lot of good things happen together,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa’s passion for football began when he was in the fourth grade. He used to play tackle football throughout his childhood. “As soon as I started playing tackle football I knew I wanted to continue with it, just because I knew I was athletic enough and it was really fun for me,” Figueroa said.
When Figueroa started freshman year at Whittier High School, he joined the football team, “(by) sophomore year I started (playing) JV and got moved up to varsity half way through the season and from there I just stayed at varsity,” Figueroa said.
Among other achievements, Figueroa was recognized with The Principles List for GPA, All Honorable mention for football and Goldenseal for Bob Chandler (Senior Athlete of the year) Award during high school.