Ex-baseball player finds new game at OCC

Ricky Carroll punts the ball during a game against Grossmont.

As a child, he practically grew up on the field. Now, as the punter for the Orange Coast College football team and the interest of many four-year universities, it’s hard to believe he actually grew up on a baseball field.

Ricky Carroll, a 21-year-old business major, had his future planned — he was going to attend Cal State Northridge on a baseball scholarship.

But things changed when he was injured during a game.

“I blew out both of my shoulders and lost my scholarship,” Carroll said.

Upon graduating high school he attended Saddleback College for one year, all the while hoping that he would recover from his injuries and be able to play baseball again.

Carroll said he didn’t want to just go to school as a student, but he wanted to be involved with sports as well.

Realizing that his shoulders were still giving him trouble, Carroll’s father suggested that he play football as a punter.

Shortly after, Carroll contacted the football coach at Mission Viejo High School and was told to call OCC about playing football for the Pirates.

After attending OCC for one semester, Carroll picked up football in March and things began to look up.

“I had a great time playing football and played with really cool people over the last two years,” Carroll said. “It was a good group of guys out there, especially this year.”

Playing football has presented opportunities for Carroll including three schools from Texas, one from Louisiana and Sacramento State University, all of which have shown interest in him, Carroll said.

In fact, on Thursday Carroll kicked for a Sacramento State representative at LeBard Stadium.

“(Kicking) was a lot of fun and it was a learning experience because now I know what to expect for next time,” Carroll said.

Carroll said that he is planning to transfer in the fall and his dream schools include the University of Southern California, the University of Arizona or Arizona State University.

“I feel I have a longer future in football,” Carroll said.

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