Alex Barrett became the first Desert Ridge football player to make an NFL roster this week.
He didn’t get drafted out of San Diego St., but signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder received more reps early on in camp because of injuries along the Lions’ defensive front, but kept getting opportunities after he showed the ability to make plays at the game’s highest level.
At SDSU he played nose tackle a good portion of the time in the 3-3-5, but was moved to defensive end with the Lions.
“Playing inside was more (for the benefit) of the team,” Barrett told the Detroit Free Press about his college role. “We had injured guys, so I just had to step up and take the role for the team. Going out to end last year, it’s different but I could pick up things real quick. Up here, same thing. It’s really fun.”
Barrett’s first NFL game is this Sunday as Lions host the Arizona Cardinals.
“It is awesome to see an Desert Ridge kid make a NFL roster,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said. “This gives kids hope that this isn’t just a dream and that it can be a reality. In the age where everyone leaves for different reasons, Alex is a home-grown kid that lives one minute away.
“He did it in his own school when at the time he was freshman and Desert Ridge wasn’t anything in football. I’m proud of him.”
Back on the mound
Westwood product Hever Bueno, a 2013 graduate, was a ninth round pick to the Rangers out of Arizona in 2016. He is pitching again after a year off to recover from Tommy John surgery.
In 11 games, including eight starts, Bueno is 2-1 with a 4.86 ERA overall at two different levels.
He started out in the Arizona Rookie League and went 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five games including two starts.
After being promoted to Northwest League in Short A Ball, he has started six games with no record and a 5.57 ERA. His last start came on Aug. 29 and he had 10 strikeouts in four innings, while allowing five hits and three earned runs.
The Arizona Wildcats have two players from Mesa schools on its roster in redshirt freshman offensive lineman Josh McCauley (Red Mountain) and true freshman defensive end/linebacker Jalen Harris (Desert Ridge).
Arizona State has a few more in senior running back Jacom Brimhall (Mountain View), freshman offensive lineman Jonathan Sanchez (Westwood), freshman wide receiver Curtis Hodges (Mountain View) and defensive lineman D.J. Davidson (Desert Ridge).
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send information on athletes from Mesa high schools playing professionally or in college to firstname.lastname@example.org.