Fresno City College tight end Lafaele Fautanu didn't know what was next for him after his season ended Oct. 5 against Santa Rosa Junior College when the former Sanger High standout suffered a torn ACL.
"I was thinking why would this happen to me?" said the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder. "I was really disappointed and sad and it was depressing a little bit, but my teammates and family helped me through it."
Fautanu figured a scholarship was out of reach.
Not to worry.
Indiana State offered Fautanu a scholarship and he signed with the university Wednesday along with three other Rams football players:
-- Defensive lineman Josh Gibbs with New Mexico State.
-- Linebacker Nate Palomino with Cal Poly.
-- Defensive lineman Thomas Coronado with Eastern Illinois.
They joined three other Rams who were mid-year transfers: Offensive linemen Patrick Markarian (Indiana State) and Wylie Brand (Southern Utah) and running back Dakota Gordon (San Diego State).
In addition, Reedley College defensive back Rolan Milligan signed with Alabama-Birmingham and former Central High standout Tee Shepard ended up signing with the University of Mississippi. Shepard played last fall at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss..
Fautanu said Indiana State coach Mike Sanford flew out to Fresno to meet with him a couple weeks after his surgery on Nov. 7.
"I talked to him in Coach (Tony) Caviglia's office and he looked more surprised than me that I was already walking," Fautanu said. "He was real happy about it."
Soon, Indiana State offered Fautanu offered a scholarship, much to his surprise.
"Especially at the D-I level -- that surprised me a lot," Fautanu said. "Coach Sanford really believed in me and knows I can play exactly how I was playing before the injury."
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