St. Joseph running back KJ Cusack gets to stay in a green uniform next year.
This time for the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Cusack, one of the most dynamic football players on the Central Coast, has committed to the San Luis Obispo university and will be playing for Tim Walsh and the Mustangs as an incoming freshman.
“When I was little I always wanted to go to Cal Poly,” Cusack remembers. “I just didn’t know if I wanted to play football there.”
Cusack, who finished the season with over 1,800 rushing yards (his 13.8 yards per carry was tops in the state), 33 total touchdowns and 35 tackles as a cornerback, had flown under the radar while leading the Knights to the Los Padres League title and a semi-final appearance in the CIF Northwest Division playoffs.
Cusack decided to remedy his low profile with some self-promotion.
“I gave the coaches my film, plus head coach Tim Walsh coached my uncle Dan when he played at Santa Clara, so my uncle talked to him and he watched the film and they liked what they saw,” Cusack said.
Among his list of potential college choices included Army, as former Cal Poly football coach Rich Ellerson now heads the Scarlet Knights’ football progam.
Cusack, who is set to major in Ag. Business, likes the school and the chances of the football team.
“I chose Cal Poly and the Ag. Business major because I live on a ranch and want to start raising cattle, I’m not one to be stuck in an office and I like to be outside,” he said.
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“I’m really excited and I think it will be really fun and we have a good incoming team and a solid foundation already, so it should be great.”
St. Joseph head football coach Mike Hartman thinks that being a Mustang is the perfect match for Cusack.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Hartman said. “I think it’s a great fit for the young man — it’s a great college and he’ll have nothing but success.”
According to Cusack, the Mustangs don’t quite know where to place the speedy back.
Certainly with his quicks, both offensive and defensive coordinators will be fighting over him, not to mention his prowess on special teams as a kick returner.
“He definitely will be a part of the return game — that’s where the young man excels,” Hartman said. “Whether he is a defensive or offensive player, wherever they put him he’s going to add athleticism and speed.
“There’s no football team that says we’re too fast and he’ll give them big play capabilities wherever they put him.”
According to St. Joe Athletic Director Tom Mott, football players cannot sign a letter of intent until February.
“Obviously the schools recruiting him were high academic schools,” Mott added. “KJ is extremely focused at being the best that he can be in football and in school, he never wants to be second best.”
Cusack will be receiving what is called a “.7 scholarship,” or partial scholarship to be a part of the Mustangs squad.
“Since they don’t have that much scholarship money on hand, they’re trying to get the most out of the players they can,” Cusack said. “It’s more important to me that they’re trying to recruit more players to have a good team than for me to have a full ride.”