Christian Threadgill was well aware that his slight frame would scare off some college coaches and scouts.
That didn’t keep Arizona Christian University and other National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics programs from making a push for Sierra High’s talented edge rusher. He announced his commitment to ACU on Wednesday, accepting a partial athletic scholarship from the Glendale-based private school.
“I had some D1 (NCAA Division I) looks, but me being underweight they were hesitant,” the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Threadgill said. “I know where my talent is, and as long as I work hard I know something good will come out of that.”
He’ll study communication and aims to play professionally.
Threadgill will reunite with good friend Deshon Thomas, a 2020 Sierra graduate who plays baseball for Arizona Christian. He informed head football coach Jeff Bowen of his commitment last weekend while visiting the campus. The school’s faith-based education was paramount to his decision.
“Their core principal is faith, family and football,” Threadgill said. “That really touched me. I believe that by putting God first he’ll put me in the right situation to be successful. I felt that the best way to put him first was coming to this school.”
Arizona Christian is in its seventh year with football. The Firestorm started the 2020 season with a 3-1 record before play was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic and is set to resume Feb. 20. ACU competes in the Sooner Athletic Conference and owns two titles in the now-defunct Central States Football League.
Threadgill had a breakout junior season for coach Chris Johnson and Sierra in 2019. The Timberwolves went 11-4 and captured the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship, the second in school history.
Threadgill said he weighed only 170 pounds last season, but that did not stop him from racking up 66 tackles and 19 quarterback sacks. His sack total ranked him tied for first in the SJS and fifth in the state.
“Looking back at his (junior) season, he got better and better and had his best games in the playoffs,” Johnson said. Threadgill’s highlight reel includes 3 ½ sacks and a 14-yard interception return in the Timberwolves’ 61-14 blowout of Golden Valley in the Section playoffs.
“He just has some good physical skills,” Johnson added. “He’s tall, has good length, uses his hands very well and has great footwork. Christian is very coachable and works very hard — there’s no half speed in anything that he does. Arizona Christian is getting a kid whose best years are ahead of him. He’s just now filling out that 6-4 frame and I can’t wait to see him when he’s 21 or 22.”
Johnson often jokes that Threadgill had never shaved going into his junior year, illustrating his youth and immense potential.
“I knew I was going to be able to get to that level, it was just a matter of time,” Threadgill said, adding that he reviewed a list of season goals daily to help himself stay motivated.
Even though he has already committed, Threadgill still wants a chance to share the field with a team he considers family. The ongoing pandemic threatens to cancel football in California for the season.
“I very much would like to get a few more games in, even if it’s just league,” Thread gill said. “At least we’d get to play and that’s all I want to do. Playing games brings energy to not just the players playing, but to the entire school. It has been so quiet on campus and we’d like to bring that energy back.”