ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Vallejo makes impact in Cardinals debut; Sweet places sixth at Knoxville Nationals
While the logos on Tanner Vallejo’s helmet keep changing, his ability to sniff out the ball and make tackles remains constant.
The 2013 Nevada Union graduate made his presence known in his first game action for the Arizona Cardinals, notching three solo tackles in the team’s 17-13 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers last Thursday.
Vallejo, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound linebacker, is battling for a roster spot with the Cardinals, his third team in as many seasons since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 draft.
The Cardinals claimed Vallejo off waivers from the Cleveland Browns in February. He is one of eight inside linebackers battling for spots in the Cardinals 3-4 defensive scheme. He currently sits behind Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker on the teams depth chart.
Since joining the league, the 24 year old from Penn Valley has made steady progress. Vallejo spent his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills, playing mostly on special teams. He saw action in 16 total games, helping the Bills go 9-7 and snap a 22-year playoff drought.
After being released by the Bills just before the start of the 2018 season, Vallejo was claimed by the Cleveland Browns. He started one game and played in 13 total for Cleveland, notching 20 tackles on defense and another seven on special teams.
Across his first two seasons in the NFL, Vallejo has 33 total tackles in 29 games played.
While at Nevada Union, Vallejo notched a school record 419 tackles in his three-year varsity career. He was also a two-time Sierra Foothill League Defensive MVP, three-time All-Metro selection and three-time All-Sac-Joaquin Section selection. Vallejo led the Miners to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, the last two times NU made it to the postseason.
Vallejo was heavily recruited out of high school and chose Boise State over several Pac-12 options. He played in 42 games and made 275 total tackles in his four-year college career with the Broncos.
In Vallejo’s sophomore year at Boise State, he was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team and earned Defensive MVP honors in the Mountain West Championship Game and Fiesta Bowl. He received All-Mountain West honorable mention in his junior and senior seasons.
Brad Sweet, a Bear River graduate, raced to a sixth place finish at the Knoxville Nationals Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.
Sweet was sixth in qualifying and that’s where he finished in the feature race. David Gravel won the race. Logan Schuchart was second and Daryn Pittman placed third.
The Knoxville Nationals is considered the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series’ preeminent event. A year ago, Sweet won the race and the $150,000 prize that came with it.
Sweet has 12 wins this season, five more than any other competitor. The veteran driver also has 32 top-fives and 42 top-10s in 47 races entered this season.
Next up for Sweet and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is a pair of races in South Dakota Friday and Saturday.
Josh Roenicke, a 2001 Nevada Union graduate, took the mound for the Uni-President Lions last Friday, tossing 4.2 innings and striking out nine in a 10-5 loss to the Lamigo Monkeys.
Roenicke, a right-handed starting pitcher, was cruising before allowing five earned runs in the fifth inning.
For the year, Roenicke has appeared in 11 games, has a 3-4 overall record and a 3.54 ERA.
Roenicke, 37, is now in his second season with the UniLions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
After starring at Nevada Union as a three-sport (baseball, football, basketball) standout, Roenicke played college baseball at UCLA. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 10th round of the 2006 MLB draft. He worked his way into the Majors shortly after and had stints with the Reds, Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins from 2008-2013. From 2014-16, Roenicke bounced around multiple minor league teams in the United States before heading to Mexico to play for the Pericos de Puebla in 2017. He originally signed with the UniLions in February of 2018.
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