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Gresham off to Menlo College
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Brandon Gresham planned to play football at Modesto Junior College this fall. The 2005 Ceres High graduate even attended several orientation meetings to prepare for the upcoming season.

In April, Gresham changed his mind and accepted a scholarship offer from Division III Menlo College.

"I'm excited," Gresham said. "I get to play football for four more years."

"My job would be easy if I had a kicker or punter like him every year," said Ceres High special teams coach Bret Silveira.

Several colleges were interested in signing Gresham, including U.C. Davis, which offered a partial scholarship. He attended a kicker camp at the university the last two summers.

Gresham chose Menlo College for a host of reasons, including cost, size and location.

Menlo College offered a heftier scholarship package, which will pay for just about everything. The cost of tuition, room and board is more than $30,000 per year.

The university has about 700 students, which means Gresham will enjoy smaller class sizes. The college has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1.

"I'm going to major in law enforcement," Gresham said. "I want to become a cop like my dad."

Menlo College is located on a 40-acre campus in the residential community of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gresham will get an opportunity to compete in front of his family and friends.

"Playing close to home is an added bonus," he said.

"My grandparents live 15 to 20 minutes from the campus."

Gresham started receiving phone calls and letters from Menlo College in March. He visited the campus on April 9 and committed several weeks later.

Coach Silveira helped Gresham land the scholarship. He was at the right place at the right time.

Silveira ran into Fred Guidici while refereeing a basketball game at Menlo College. Guidici is recruiting coordinator and special teams coach for the football team.

"I told him I had a kicker slipping through the cracks," Silveira said.

Silveira and Guidici exchanged phone numbers.

Brandon and his mother, Kim Chapman, did the rest.

"I owe everything to him (Silveira)," Gresham said.

Said Silveira: "I helped him during the season but I never made a kick. He deserves all of the credit. He was committed to it. He put the time and effort into it. And he's reaping the benefits."

Silveira worked with Gresham for two seasons.

Gresham handled kicking and punting chores for the 2004-05 Bulldogs, who won a share of the Modesto Metro Conference championship title and made the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Gresham earned first-team, all-MMC punter honors.

"Brandon was such a great player," Silveira said. "He was the best player at his position in this area."

Gresham made 23 of 27 point-after kicks, 5 of 7 field goals and averaged 43 yards per punt. He had five punts over 50 yards and three over 60.

"That's astronomical for a high-school kicker," Silveira said.

Menlo begins its 2005 campaign on the road against McMurray University in Abilene, Texas on Sept. 3.

"I think he'll do well," Silveira said. "He's very coachable. He's a nice kid."

Added Kim: "I'm really proud of him." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier