Former San Jose State quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Mike Jordan were a pair of feisty redheads battling Ralph Martini for the starting quarterback job in 1990. Eventually, Martini would win out over Garcia, who would go on to become the school leader in career total offense, and Jordan, whose best Spartan moment was pulling San Jose State within three points of powerhouse Washington on a touchdown pass in the final moments of the second game of the 1990 season.
With Garcia ticketed for a redshirt year and Jordan emerging as the #2 signal caller, the Spartans had one of their best seasons in the 20th century with a 9-2-1 overall win-loss record, a California Raisin Bowl win over Central Michigan and a national ranking at 20th by the United Press International panel of voters.
Little did they know, their San Jose State football experiences would pay off more than a generation later.
Today, Jordan is in his 11th year as the head football coach at Grossmont College and 22nd as a member of the Griffins' coaching staff. And, with his encouragement and counsel, walk-on quarterback Michael Carrillo would like to duplicate Jordan and Garcia's 1990 experience -- a conference championship and a bowl game victory.
"I have all the respect in the world for Coach Jordan. He's meant a lot to me as a player. I'll always be indebted to him for that. He told me about his time here and the experiences he had," said Carrillo, who originally applied to San Jose State as a junior college transfer last fall. He was accepted, went through the University's spring orientation process and found time to meet with Spartans' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Al Borges.
"He (Coach Jordan) reached out to he coaches here and put in a good word for me. I'm really appreciative of that. He enjoyed his time here and I think part of him wants me to experience some of the same things he did here -- enjoy myself, be part of a real good team and have a great education in the process."
In his two seasons at Grossmont, Carrillo passed for more than 3,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Since he was admitted into school, Carrillo participated in the players' summer workout program and fit in seamlessly.
"Any time you can come together and play the best game on earth with guys you enjoy being around and getting after it," said the Poway, Calif., resident. "Having the opportunity to play the game I love is a blessing."
Garcia also factors into Carrillo's learning curve as a quarterback. As a high school player at Christian High in El Cajon, he would attend the passing camps conducted by the former Spartan great. What he learned paid off. In his junior and senior seasons, he passed for 4,226 yards and 51 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions and helped his team to 2013 league championship.
Carrillo is battling junior college transfer Sam Allen, returning redshirt Josh Love and incoming freshman Montel Aaron for the highest possible spot on the depth chart. Returning starter Kenny Potter is entrenched as the number-one quarterback heading into the September 3 season opener at Tulsa.
The Spartans take the field for their fourth practice, Monday, August 8, at 4:15 p.m. It will be their first day practicing as an entire team. The next day, San Jose State will be in full pads for the first time.
Tickets for all San Jose State football games are available at sjsuspartans.com. For an early look at the Spartans, come out for the annual Fan Fest, Saturday, August 20, 4:00 p.m. in CEFCU Stadium -- Home of the Spartans, located on 7th Street between Humboldt and Alma.
2016 Preseason Football Stories
Aug. 6 - San Jose State Athletics & CEFCU team up for a stadium naming rights partnership.