By David Burton
Noor Fateh ’11 solemnly drags his feet along the arch of the red rubber track that encircles Ted Slavin Field. Two massive bags are slumped over his shoulders as he lethargically makes his way to the storage bin behind the opposing team’s bleachers. It is a cold and brittle November day; the leaves are changing their dark green color and accepting new radiating colors of yellow, orange and magenta. Fateh glances across the green turf, up the stone bleachers and at the grandiose buildings that lift the campus into the sky. He is not ready to let go.
Fateh is finally at the storage bin, and with a somber nod to Miguel Acevedo, the equipment manager, he reaches into his overstuffed bag and pulls out his shoulder pads, leg pads and helmet. He looks across the field before handing his gear over and can still see the friday night lights, the sea of red and black filling the stands, the sounds of a battle, the smell of the turf, the rough but friendly leather of the football, the….BANG!! Acevedo shuts the storage bin door, bringing Fateh back to reality.
“I can’t believe that it’s over, this football season was so much for me and my teammates,” Fateh said with a sigh. “Even though we did not have the explosive success that we all wanted, we all bonded into a brotherhood throughout the season. It’s just tough to let go.”
After seeing limited playing time throughout his junior campaign, Fateh had a productive season in which he recorded 70 receptions, 13 touchdowns, 1036 receiving yards and 440 return yards. Despite his stellar performance senior year, he has not received the same college recruiting buzz as quarterback Max Heltzer ’11 or standout kicker Will Oliver ’11.
“I haven’t gotten many looks from colleges because I am a bit undersized,” Fateh said, “I work hard and I’m just humbled by the opportunity to play football. It is what I love.”
Head Coach Vic Eumont agrees that his top senior receiver, sporting a 5-foot, 10-inch, 165-pound frame, is undersized compared to other prototypical college football recruits, but notes that there are many aspects to Fateh’s game that makes him a valuable addition to a team. His speed helps him run sharp routes and get past defenders for extra yardage after th catch.
“Without a doubt he is an aggressive player, and his stats prove his skill set,” teammate and running back Jamias Jones ’12 said.
Fateh’s playing style is reminiscent of a young Wes Welker; he is undersized and underestimated but has a keen ability to break through defense for large gains. KCAL 9 highlighted Fateh for his performance against Chaminade Oct. 15, when he had 10 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns. One of the highlights of the game was a 76-yard connection from Heltzer to Fateh.
Like most high school recruits looking for college exposure, Fateh has used this video footage from KCAL 9 and has also compiled game film into a highlight reel to send off to colleges.
“I have sent my highlight tape to a lot of colleges, some realistic, some not,” Fateh said. “It’s always worth a try.”
Although he has sent his film to the University of Southern California, the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Florida, Fateh’s highest bids are on Division III schools. He is most interested in Wesleyan, Georgetown and Division I Lehigh University.
“My family has always stressed academics, so I am looking for a college where I can get a great education and at the same time be in the running for some playing time,” Fateh said.
Not receiving one college letter or call during his junior season, Fateh was motivated to work hard during the offseason and earn a college scholarship offer.
“I had to give it all that I had for the team, any successes that I might have had, I owe to my teammates and coaches,” Fateh said.
As a two-sport athlete, Fateh is entering the premature stages of the basketball season.
“We have a lot of talent on the team, I am just trying to find my niche and contribute to the team in any way I can, ” Fateh said. “I will always be able to bring toughness and intensity to the court.”
Although he is now switching his mind to basketball, Fateh is still receiving interest from some schools for football and is looking to commit soon.
“Although this is a tough process, it is really comforting to know that I have the support of my teammates, friends and family. They push me to be the best that I can be,” Fateh said, “I owe them.”