By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-In his two years as Garden City Coach, Jeff Sims has had many memorable quotes. But maybe none of them resonated as much as what he said following the rule change that eliminated the out-of-state scholarship rule in the Jayhawk Conference.
"Our plan is to build from inside-out; we will start with Garden City and branch our way out," he said back in September.
During national signing day on Wednesday, Sims lived up to his promise.
Buffaloes' quarterback Jesse Nunez, linebacker Rico Cherico and safety Christian Coreas all inked national letters of intent with Garden City Community College.
"Brian Hill is one of the best high school coaches in the state," Sims said. "And year in and year out you can tell that by his players. Edgar Guzman was going to be a starter for us on the offensive line before he got hurt. A lot of these guys are ready to go on day one."
Nunez is an interesting story. He split time with Derek Hill during his sophomore year before taking over the reins for the final two games vs. Northwest and Dodge City. After a loss to the Grizzlies in week eight, Nunez guided Garden City to a 32-14 victory in the season finale vs. the Red Demons. He would go on to win 16 of his next 19 starts as Hill's signal caller while setting the school record for most career rushing touchdowns and most rushing scores in a single season.
"Jesse has the bravado; the swagger to be a leader," Sims said.
Nunez won't be under center for Sims; instead he will line up as a wide receiver.
"They told me they just want me to have the ball in my hands," Nunez said.
Coreas battled through injuries his senior year but had a very productive junior campaign-registering 49 tackles and a sack.
"Christian is exactly what we are looking for in a college football player," Sims said. "He wants to go to school and wants to be a part of what we are doing here."
Cherico will get the chance to play for his father Sean, who serves as the Associate Head Coach for Garden City.
"I've wanted that guy to play for us since he was in elementary school," Sims said.
Cherico has lived the life of a coach's son. He was born in Bartlesville, OK but started his high school career at Cherryvale. He transferred to Garden City his junior season and was a backup linebacker. An injury to Nalen Rincones gave Cherico a chance to start the regular-season finale, where he tallied seven tackles, including two for loss.
During his senior season, Cherico became a fulltime starter where he recorded 64 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. But the coach's son will not be playing defense for Garden City.
"Rico will probably grey shirt his first year so he can work on his body," Sims said. "Then he'll play fullback for us the following year."
For Cherico, moving to offense will be an adjustment.
"I'm up for the challenge," Cherico said. "But, I'll have to learn new concepts, but it's something I know I can do."