Alumni News

A small collection of featured Professional & College athletes who have photo galleries are listed on the right. For a comprehensive list of SMCHS Football players who have gone on to play at the next level, please check out our master lists of SMCHS Professional Athletes and College Athletes.

Santa Margarita Eagles Football John McCartan '18 signs with Bears. A 1st team All-Trinity League Defensive End for the Eagles. John went on to Oregon State where he played in 54 games, recorded 132 career tackles (77 solo, 55 asst), 9.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions.
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Santa Margarita Eagles Football Carson Palmer '98 and Coach Harry Welch were honored at a home game for their induction into the California High School Hall Of Fame. Both men will be inducted into the inaugural class of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation California High School Football Hall of Fame this November. Coach Welch’s time at SM is highlighted by a 2011 season that included a 13-2 record and a CIF Division 1 State Championship win. Palmer led the Eagles to back-to-back CIF titles and earned All-American, All-State, All Southern Section, All-CIF and All Orange County honors.
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Santa Margarita Eagles Football Brett Neilon '17 USC Team Captain was named a one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation's best center. Brett appeared in 47 games (starting 42) in his career with the USC Trojans. In 2022 he was a First-team All-American. In 2021 he was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention and Pro Football Focus All-Pac-12 first team. He also won USC’s Co-John McKay Award.
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Santa Margarita Eagles Football Carson Palmer and Coach Harry Welch have been elected to the Inaugural California High School Football Hall of Fame. On August 15, the California Interscholastic Federation and Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation announced the names of the 100 players and 13 coaches who will honored in inaugural class of the new California High School Football Hall of Fame. The facility will officially be located at a space inside the iconic Rose Bowl and is an element of the Rose Bowl’s 100th anniversary this year. The venue is set to open in late-November 2022 -- during the week of the CIF-Southern Section Division I Championship game that will be held there on November 25, 2022. This will be the first time since 1944 that the game will be held in Pasadena at “America’s Stadium.”

Santa Margarita Eagles Football Grant Calcaterra ‘17 was selected #198 (6th round) in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. As a senior at Southern Methodist, Calcaterra caught 38 passes for 465 yards and four touchdowns. He was an NFL Combine Invite, Reese's Senior Bowl Invite, Second-Team All-AAC, Mackey Award Watch List, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board, College Gridiron Showcase Watch List, PFF All-AAC Third Team, Phil Steele All-AAC Second Team, NFF Hampshire Honor Society and a Team Captain. He played 3 years at Oklahoma where he caught 41 passes for 637 yards with 9 touchdowns and was an All-Big 12 First-Team selection.

Santa Margarita Eagles Football KJ Costello signs with Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers today signed quarterback KJ Costello. Costello, who participated in the team's rookie minicamp this offseason, played the final season of his college career at Mississippi State in 2020 after spending three seasons at Stanford. Over the course of his four-year career, Costello threw for 7,434 yards 55 touchdowns.
Press Release

Santa Margarita Eagles Football Carson Palmer - College Football HOF
Congratulations to 1998 Santa Margarita graduate Carson Palmer for being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The winner of the 2002 Heisman Trophy, Carson Palmer helped ushered in a new era of dominance at USC and finished his career as the Pac-10's all-time leading passer. At Santa Margarita Carson led the Eagles to 2 CIF-SS championships and the 1997 California Division II State Championship.
Press Release

Stanton & Wolpin invited to NFL Minicamps
Former Eagles Johnny Stanton '13 and Ryan Wolpin '13 received invites to NFL Training Camps. Stanton who was a QB for UNLV has been invited to the Minnesota Vikings’ rookie minicamp. Wolpin who played RB for Boise State has been invited to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie minicamp.

Jeremy McNichols ‘14 was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft (162nd overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2017 NFL Draft. In his Jr. year at Boise State was also a Doak Walker Award Semi-finalist, finished the season with 27 touchdowns which ranked him second in the nation and third all-time in a single season at Boise State. He finished his 3 year career at Boise State with 3,205 yards rushing and 103 receptions for 1,089 yards. Jeremy is the 5th Eagle to be drafted into the NFL.

Pac-12 All-Century TeamKris Farris '95 & Carson Palmer '98 named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team
Pac-12 Networks commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Pac-12 conference with Pac-12 All-Century: Football Team, a program that constructs a dream team of the all-time greatest football players in the conference’s rich history.

Santa Margarita Eagles Football River Cracraft '13 was a four year letter winner and at wide receiver and defensive back for the Eagles. He was All-State, All-CIF, All-Trinity League, All-County and the 2012 Trinity League Offensive Player of the Year. He had a total of 134 receptions while playing for the Eagles, second in school history behind former NFL receiver Brian Finneran, and finished third in school history with 2,043 receiving yards. Rated a three-star prospect he plyaed college football at Washington State. At Washington State he recorded 218 receptions (No. 2 in school history behind teammate Gabe Marks), 2,701 receiving yards (6th) and 20 touchdowns (6th) in 42 games played while at Washington State where he was honorable mention All-Pac 12. Cracraft signed with the Denver Broncos. In 2018 he had one reception for 44 yards, 12 punts returned for 40 yards (3.3 yards per return) and three kickoffs returned for 43 yards (14.3 yards per return) in eight games played.

Max Tuerk ‘12 was selected #66 (3rd round) in the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Max made the 2014 All-Pac-12 first team as well as the ESPN.com All-Pac-12 first team, Athlon All-Pac-12 first team, Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team and CollegeSportsMadness.com All-Pac-12 first team. He won USC's Offensive Lineman of the Year Award. Max was a 2x team captain for the USC Trojans.

Gavin Escobar ‘09 was drafted as the 47th overall pick (2nd round) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 NFL Draft. Escobar, the 6-foot-6 254 pound San Diego State University tight end, was drafted the third tight end off the board and will be suiting up as a Dallas Cowboy receiving catches from Tony Romo. His three-year successful career at SDSU ended with 122 catches, 1,646 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also named a two-time first team all Mountain West Conference selection and a two-time honorable mention All-American.

AJ Cruz ‘09 went on to play at Brown University where he was a team captain, a first-team FCS All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and a three time First Team All-Ivy athlete. AJ played in the Arena League for the Arizona Rattlers and the LA Kiss where he was on the AMC TV show "4th and Loud" which followed the LA Kiss through their inaugural football season. AJ was then called up to the NFL where he played for the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins.

Logan Harrell ‘08 played at Fresno State University where he was a two time first team All-WAC defensive lineman for the Bulldogs. Tied for second on the team with 71 tackles and was second in the WAC and tied for 16th in the FBS with 17.0 tackles for a loss, which also tied for the third-most in a year in school history. He was also named the team's most valuable defensive lineman. He went on to play for the LA Kiss, Toronto Argonauts (CFL) and the San Diego Chargers.

Mark Restelli ‘04 earned a scholarship to Cal Poly (2005-2008), where he started 44 of his 46 games. He had 267 tackles (137 solo), including 16.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 14 passes defended and one blocked kick in 46 games. His 267 career tackles is No. 10 on Cal Poly's all-time career tackles list. He earned 2007 All-Great West honorable mention as a roving defensive back. He went on to play for the Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) and the Miami Dolphins.

Carson Palmer ‘98 won the 2002 Heisman Trophy Award as the top collegiate football player in the nation. After leading USC to a regular season record of 10-2 and a ranking of 4th in the nation, Carson was named the CNNSI College Football Player of the year, CNNSI 1st Team All-American, Football Writers Association of America's 1st Team All-American, CBS Sportsline.com 1st Team All-American, ESPN.com 1st Team All-American, Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, USC's Most Valuable Player, and also won the prestigious Unitas Golden Arm Award given to the top Sr. Quarterback in the nation. Carson was selected as the number 1 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 NFL Draft. Carson went on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Phoenix Cardinals in the NFL.

Kris FarrisKris Farris ‘95 won the 1998 Outland Trophy Award as an athlete at UCLA. The Outland Trophy celebrates the nations top collegiate interior lineman. Kris was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft (74th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Brian FinneranBrian Finneran ‘94 won the 1997 Walter Payton Award as a Wide Receiver at Villanova University. The Walter Payton Award recognizes the top Division I-AA Football player in the nation. Brian went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons.


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