Pirates Set to Make Their Mark in the National Football League

Pirates Set to Make Their Mark in the National Football League

Aside from not celebrating a season-opening win this weekend due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Ventura College football program had a pretty good weekend, celebrating the arrival of a pair of alumni into the National Football League. Pirate alumni Jake Luton '16 and Jessie Lemonier '17, are set to earn their paychecks playing football as the 2020 NFL season opens this week. Luton has been named the back-up quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars while Lemonier has been signed to the practice squad for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Luton, the 2016 SCFA Northern Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the Pirates, was drafted in the sixth-round by the Jaguars, the 189th pick overall, in last spring's NFL draft, and had an impressive training camp to earn the team's No. 2 quarterback job. The Oregon State graduate will back up starter Gardner Menshew II, also was a sixth-round draft pick, who had a high-profile rookie season for the Jags a year ago.

"Jake has been very impressive since the minute he walked into the building," said Jay Gruden, Jacksonville's offensive coordinator, last week in a media videoconference. 

"That's been the biggest pleasant surprise, I would say – is his ability to come in here and learn," Gruden said. "He plays with great poise and confidence for a young player. We've put him in the No. 1 huddle a couple of times, and he has shown no signs of being intimidated. He fits right in there."

Luton passed for 3,351 yards and 40 touchdowns in earning the conference's top offensive award in his only season with the Pirates. He set school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, and he also holds the career mark for passing yards despite just one year in the orange and black. Lutpon continued his collegiate career at Oregon State.

Lemonier, the 2017 SCFA Northern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was signed to the Chargers' practice squad on Saturday. He transferred from VC to Liberty University (VA) where he was a two-year standout for the Flames. He joined the Chargers an an undrafted free-agent signee. Lemonier tied a school record with 14.0 quarterback hurries as a sophomore, totaling 18.0 tackles for a loss (second all-time for VC) and 8.5 quarterback sacks. 

"It's a Very Proud day to be a Pirate," said Ventura College head coach Steve Mooshagian

"Both these guys overcame adversity along their careers, both were SCFA conference players of the year and both are proud Ventura College graduates. After graduating from VC they both went on to finish their bachelor's degrees and now they get to play football for a living!" said Mooshagian.

"(It is a) great lesson of perseverance and success! (We are) so proud of them both!"