Ventura College did not win a football game last season, but sometimes the success of a program cannot be judged solely by its winning percentage.
As evidence, Coach Phil Passno can point to several Pirate players who are either being actively recruited by four-year schools or who already have accepted scholarships by signing letters of intent.
"The four-year schools don't look at your record," Passno said. "They look at the individual talent of the players."
Washington liked what it saw in punter Troy McNair, who is one of three players who already have signed.
McNair was only third in the Western State Conference with a punting average of 39.7, but Washington recruiters liked his consistency. The former Oxnard High player had an average hang time of 4.4 seconds and he kept all but three of his more than 50 punts out of the end zone.
"When you start analyzing things, he's really a good one," Passno said of McNair.
Washington scouts timed McNair's kicks on three occasions during the season, measuring his release time as well as the hang-time of his punts.
"We taught him to two-step kick," Passno said. "In the big time, the difference between two steps and three steps is the difference between getting the ball off or not."
Brian McCarty and Eric Bangs, who played side by side on Ventura's offensive line, signed with San Jose State and Cal State Northridge, respectively.
McCarty, a 6-7, 255-pound guard, started 19 games for the Pirates over two seasons.
Bangs, a high school teammate of McCarty's at Rio Mesa, was a defensive lineman until the past season.
"I would guess Northridge recruited him off potential," Passno said of the 6-5, 255-pound tackle. "He's tall with a lot of potential for more growth and he has good speed."
Northridge, which was 7-4 and finished second in the Division II Western Football Conference last season, also is recruiting defensive tackle Tim Holland. The 6-3, 245-pound Hueneme High graduate also has been approached by Nevada Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Northern Arizona.
Nicko Rising, a 6-0, 178-pound defensive back from Buena, is being recruited by Idaho State, Northern Arizona and Cal Lutheran. Rising was Ventura's MVP last season.
A handful of other players also might sign letters in the upcoming weeks, Passno said. Ventura has had as many as 17 players sign major college scholarships in one season.