Ceres’ Mikey Duran fulfilled a childhood dream by earning a football scholarship.
The 2019 Central Catholic High School grad will move to Southern California this fall to continue his education and athletic career at the University of Redlands.
“I’ve always wanted to play college football. It was one of my biggest goals.”Mikey Duran
“I’ve always wanted to play college football,” said Duran, who stands 6-feet-1 and weighs 285 pounds. “It was one of my biggest goals. It’s amazing being able to do this because only a certain amount of people get this opportunity.”
Duran signed a national letter of intent with the Bulldogs last month.
He was recruited by seven different colleges.
“I signed with Redlands because when I took a visit there, the coaches and my future teammates were amazing,” he said. “I’m going to a program that wants me and will help me financially with school. They’re paying for almost everything. The campus is very nice. It was the best fit for me.”
Duran and 13 other student-athletes from CCHS were recognized during the school’s annual Next Level Celebration on May 16.
More than 20 of Duran’s family members attended the event, including parents Mike and Viola.
“Each of them made me who I am today,” said Duran, who will major in business administration and minor in management at Redlands. “I’m very grateful.”
Duran also praised Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa.
“My coach believed in me and always told me I was good enough to play after high school,” he said. “With his help, I was able to achieve that.”
Duran played two seasons of varsity football at Central Catholic.
The two-way lineman earned first-team all-Valley Oak League honors this past fall for his outstanding play on defense. Duran had 22 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and one pass deflection.
He started at guard on offense for the Raiders, who piled up 5,100 yards and 74 touchdowns.
Duran filled a major role as Central Catholic compiled an 11-2 overall record, advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II championship game and finished first in the VOL (6-0).
“We did amazing,” he said. “I was very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Duran was an honorable-mention offensive lineman during his junior year.
The Raiders went 10-2, advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs and placed second in the league standings (6-1).
Duran’s crowning achievement in high school was being named Raider of the Year.
He was recognized for his leadership and positive attitude.
“All the students and staff voted,” he said. “When I heard my name, I was shocked. Knowing I made an impact on my classmates makes me feel amazing as a person.”
Duran earned invitations to compete in both the 46th Central California Lions and 34th North/South Rotary All-Star Football Games.
He opted not to play after re-aggravating his ankle injury.
“I wish I could have been out there with my friends but I had to make the best decision for me,” he said. “I didn’t want it to get worse and mess up my college plans.”
Duran will join a football program that posted an 8-2 overall record and claimed a share of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in 2018.
Duran’s parents plan to make the five-and-a-half hour drive from Ceres to Redlands to watch him play.
“They’re going to try to make it out to all of our home games,” said Duran, who will contribute at defensive tackle.