Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Lavon Coleman comes from a long line of distinguished Lompoc High School running backs.

After a star-studded career at Lompoc, he went on to the University of Washington. The redshirt senior has picked up there where he left off at Lompoc.

Last year, Coleman broke the school record for yards per carry for a Huskies team that went 12-2 and won the Pac-12 North Division championship. Coleman ran for 852 yards and averaged 7.5 yards per carry.

The Huskies are 2-0 this year, and Coleman has made a solid contribution. He has 77 yards on 17 carries. Coleman has one rushing touchdown and has caught one touchdown pass.

Coleman leads a contingent of local players who have gone on recently to play for four-year colleges. Meanwhile, former Hancock College star running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who went on to play at Auburn, is playing for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL.

He was a part of Carolina's 2016 Super Bowl team. He had no stats in Carolina's 23-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the 2017 season opener.

Here is a summary of some other area standouts who have gone on to compete at the next level.

Malik Williams

Williams made a lot of things happen as a return man at Hancock. This year, the senior is making a lot of things happen as a ballcarrier for Louisville.

The North Carolina native rushed for 149 yards on 13 carries in a 47-35 win at, yes, the University of North Carolina. Williams did not score a touchdown, but he did have a 74-yard run.

Williams is the second-leading rusher for a Cardinals team that is 2-0.

Garrett Owens

The Arroyo Grande High School graduate has found his groove just fine after transferring to Iowa State from Oregon State.

The redshirt senior kicker has made everything he's tried this year. Owens is two-for-two on field goals and 11-for-11 on extra points.

The Cyclones are 1-1 after losing in overtime to Iowa last Saturday.

Ainuu Taua

The redshirt junior was a headliner as a defensive end at Lompoc. At UCLA, he has settled in on special teams after playing some fullback last year.

The Bruins are 2-0, having routed the University of Hawaii after shocking Texas A&M with the comeback of comebacks for a 45-44 win in a season opener.

Patrick Laird

The Mission Prep graduate is the leading rusher for the Cal Bears, who are 2-0 on the young season.

The redshirt junior has 200 yards on just 15 carries. He has rushed for three touchdowns. Laird is a former walk-on who eventually earned a full scholarship. He also has three  catches for 66 yards and another touchdown.

Bailey Gaither

San Jose State (1-2) has struggled during the young season, but Gaither has done his part for the Spartans.

The Paso Robles graduate has three touchdown catches. The sophomore has 156 yards in receptions and 43 more in kickoff returns.

Gaither leads the team in reception and kickoff return yardage.

Curry Parham

The St. Joseph and Hancock College graduate had a solid year at quarterback for NAIA Tabor College, which is located in Hillsboro, Kansas.

The senior helped quarterback the Blue Jays to a conference championship in 2016. He had a rough 2017 debut, going 13-for-33 with a touchdown and two interceptions as Morningside College, the same team that trounced the Blue Jays in a bowl game last year, routed them in a season opener this year.

More area standouts who have gone on to play for four-year colleges will be featured next week. If you find any others that you think we may miss, email Kenny Cress at