Gilroy native and recent Monte Vista Christian graduate Brendan Doyle wasn’t receiving offers from any four-year programs that piqued his interest, so he did the next best thing—he decided to enroll at the College of San Mateo (CSM).
The Bulldogs annually rank as one of the best community college football programs in the nation, transferring north of a dozen players every year to four-year programs. CSM not only recruits and lands the area’s best high school talent, but it often has four-year bounceback players land on its campus (among others, players who have left high level Division I schools for a variety of reasons).
In short, the Bulldogs are loaded at every position, making competition fierce.
“With the amount of guys they send to D1 schools every year, I thought CSM was the best choice for me and my future,” Doyle said. “I was offered to play quarterback by some other JCs, but I’m going to play tight end at CSM. The main difference with their program is their intensity and the amount of athletes they have. You’re held to a higher standard.”
Doyle is coming off a season in which he earned Santa Cruz Coast League ‘A’ Division MVP honors, leading the Mustangs to a 4-1 record. He was the area’s premier two-way player, passing for 665 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 677 yards on 77 carries and six TDs. Just as important, he made a huge impact defensively at linebacker.
“Doyle was a phenom, he’s a beast,” MVC coach Jeremiah Williams said. “He stands out on the football field both on offense and defense.”
Williams said that Doyle was a unanimous choice for MVP of the league. He said that anyone who had the chance to watch him play knew how special of an athlete he was.
Doyle was a freshman quarterback on the Gilroy High team that won the program’s first Central Coast Section championship in 2017 before transferring to MVC in October of his sophomore year. Even though it was an extremely tough decision, Doyle felt like he needed to make the move.
“I saw what the football program was going through at Gilroy High School and it was rough,” he said. “I could just see it wasn’t going to work out and I needed a better environment for myself because after (former coach) Jubenal (Rodriguez) left, the program was still recovering. I didn’t really see a future for me there. It was definitely hard leaving all my friends, but being at MVC motivated me and gave me a greater focus. It ended up being a good thing and I learned a lot of things and matured there.”
Doyle, who started playing football at age 5 for the Gilroy Browns Pop Warner organization, counts the Mustangs’ CCS title victory and the championship parade a week later as one of the more indelible moments of his life.
“It was a blast,” he said. “Gilroy is such a lovely, small town, and it was just a heartwarming feeling to experience that.”
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Doyle was grateful that he was able to play in five games for MVC in the abbreviated Covid season.
“I obviously wish we had more games, but I was happy to get on the field at all,” he said. “It was a win just getting back on the field and playing.”
Doyle moved to San Mateo in mid June and practices five days a week from 1 to 6pm. The team starts with conditioning on the field before going to team meetings followed by strength-training, additional meetings and then actual practice.
“I’d say my main focus right now is just getting stronger and faster because practices are only 45 minutes and in that time you’re just focused on formations and fundamentals for the new guys like me to learn the basics,” he said. “I have the best coaches and some great teammates teaching me a new position, and I’m learning a lot. I think with hard work it’ll be a smooth process and everything I’m doing will turn into muscle memory.”