Billy Sharmoug referred to Wednesday’s signing to play football at New Mexico State as his second chance.
The 2013 graduate of Manteca High came to the place where his arduous journey began, inking his letter of intent with the Aggies in the MHS library surrounded by familiar faces – his parents, Wes and Shama, along with brother Gus, and Buffaloes coach Eric Reis and his staff.
Sharmoug spent his past two years playing football alongside former Buffalo Isaac McClain at Santa Barbara City College. Prior to that, he spent a year at Division II University of Mary in North Dakota.
“I was unhappy there,” said Sharmoug, who spent that first season out of high school as a red shirt freshman.
He was accustomed to being part of a successful program.
In fact, Reis credited Sharmoug’s group at MHS as the ones who helped pave the way for this year’s section championship team. “You guys had left a lasting impression,” he said.
Frustrated with his situation in North Dakota, Sharmoug changed plans after talking to a friend.
“My buddy in Santa Barbara said, ‘if you’re going to play football, you might as well play by the beach,’” Sharmoug recalled.
Santa Barbara CC had the coaching and staff for guys like Sharmoug and McClain to get exposure to the big schools. He credited his offensive line coach Dan Levers for helping him along.
A 6-foot-2, 315 pound center, Sharmoug will continue to play center for the Aggies come next fall. He chose New Mexico State over schools such as Alabama A&M and University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff.
McClain has one more year at Santa Barbara CC. Like Sharmoug, he’s attracted his share of Division I schools.
New Mexico State finished 3-9 in the Sun Belt Conference. Next year, the Aggies will play as an independent, taking Arizona State, New Mexico, University of Texas-El Paso, and Arkansas. Sharmoug, for one, is excited about that schedule.
He’s looking forward to the challenge of playing against some of the big schools of college football.
“It’s been a long journey (for Sharmoug),” said Reis. “It’s not over yet.”
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.