Westlake, a 2012 Reed High graduate and Arciniega, a 2010 Spanish Springs grad, took different paths after high school. But their paths converged and now both can call themselves Division I NCAA linebackers after Westlake signed to play for the University of Idaho of the Western Athletic Conference Monday. On Dec. 17th, Arciniega gave his commitment to the Syracuse University of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Westlake and Arciniega both played for Sierra Community College (Roseville) this past fall. Despite graduating two years ahead of Westlake, Arciniega was also in his first year at the Roseville, Calif. school.
Arciniega received a scholarship to the University of Nevada after earning the Northern 4A Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season at Spanish Springs. However, a severe concussion derailed his football career momentarily. Doctors told him his football career was over and the Wolf Pack split ties with him during his freshman year due to the injury and diagnosis.
Not to be deterred from fulfilling his dream of playing football in college, Arciniega visited other doctors for second opinions. After receiving the go-ahead to continue playing football and getting a shot to play for SCC, Arciniega made the most of his second chance.
In 11 games for the Wolverines, Arciniega finished with 87 tackles (20 for loss) and 5.5 sacks. He was named to the first team of the Northern California Football Association’s Valley Conference all-star team. Orange coaches hope he can fill a void in the middle of the defense after senior Siriki Diabate graduates.
According to the Scout.com recruiting website, Arciniega is rated a two-star prospect. Other sites have him at three stars.
Arciniega also visited Memphis and had interest from Miami and BYU. Because he is a mid-year transfer, Arciniega can practice this spring with Syracuse and will be eligible to play in the fall.
Westlake is in the same boat after arriving in Idaho Sunday.
“They were the ones who gave me an offer, and I jumped on it right away,” Westlake said. “That’s always been a dream since I was younger. A lot of kids want to play in the NFL, but I always just wanted to play D-I college football. It’s awesome getting my school paid for me and everything. It’s a cool experience.”
Westlake also had a stellar year at SCC. He racked up 92 total tackles and had 5.5 tackles for loss in 10 games.
“It’s been fun. I didn’t know (Luke) that well before. I got to know him and it was fun playing with him. I’m just glad we both got to continue on our dreams of playing football,” Westlake said.
But Westlake will also have to battle back from injury. He had a torn MCL and meniscus repaired in the beginning of December after suffering the injury in the final game of the season.
Westlake said the recovery has been going well and it might be a couple months before he is ready to play again. In the meantime, he has been meeting the other players and coaches and is enrolled in school this semester. He plans on majoring in exercise science.