Occidental College’s football team has been winning with regularity in recent years, but the Eagle Rock school certainly is not known for producing professional football players.
Jack Kemp, former Buffalo quarterback, and only a few other pros have come out of Occidental, a Division III school that offers no scholarships.
So it came as a distinct surprise when an Occidental player, Vance Mueller, was drafted in the fourth round by the Raiders Tuesday.
Mueller, a four-year starter at running back, said: “My agent, Neal Allen, told me I might go as early as the fourth through eighth rounds, but as for myself, I thought maybe the eighth through 10th.”
Mueller is from Jackson, Calif., in the Sacramento area and grew up a Raider fan. “I think the Raiders are the team everyone wants to play for,” he said. “I’ll tell you one thing. If determination is what it takes to make the Raiders, then I’ll make the team.”
Mueller gained 752 yards in 157 carries and rushed for 11 touchdowns last season, when the Tigers finished with a 9-2 record. He also caught 25 passes for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has scored 50 touchdowns in his career, second best in Division III history.
Mueller said that he suffered a shoulder injury in his senior year of high school and that only Montana offered him a scholarship. A high school teammate, Rick Towner, who had gone to Occidental the year before, talked Mueller into joining him.