When Oregon and Ohio State play in the Rose Bowl game January 1 in Pasadena the Ducks will have a rooting section from Santa Monica.
That’s because center Max Forer played at Santa Monica High, graduating in 2006. His parents, Jeffrey and Michele, have lived in Santa Monica the last 15 years. His sister, Rachel, is the goalie for the Samohi soccer team.
“I’m trying to get tickets from my teammates,” Forer said. “I want them for my crew.”
Forer isn’t a star or even a starter. As a reserve he gets in when needed. But his journey is a story of hard work and dedication.
He was a recruited walk-on at Oregon, essentially being noticed and wanted but he missed the cut when the Ducks ran out of scholarships.
“I liked Oregon and wanted to go there.” he said. “But I had to beat out guys just to stay on the roster as a walk-on. I played on the scout team in practice for three years.
“During the first year it was difficult but my dad, Jeffrey, encouraged me to stay and keep working. I owe him a lot for doing that. He was a lineman at UCLA and then played semi-pro football and in the Canadian Football League.”
This season Oregon broke USC’s string of seven straight Pac-10 Conference championships. A convincing win over the Trojans in Eugene was the highlight of the season.
“It was the sweetest win,” said Forer.
Oregon’s wide-open spread offense requires a different blocking scheme than most college teams have. Forer played defense too at Samohi but the Oregon coaches thought he had the tools to be a center in their system.
Forer is 6-foot-3. He came to Oregon weighing 245 pounds. He’s about 275 now with increased muscle.
“In a power running offense each lineman tries to beat his defender one on one,” said Forer. “In our system there’s a lot of zone blocking and we’re trying to create a gap. A good running back, like our LaMichael James, can find the gaps and go through.”
Forer has kept in touch with Samohi athletic director Norm Lacy and some of the kids who were with him at Samohi.
“I played Pop Warner football and when I was 16 we had a lot of talent,” he recalls. “I played on teams with Ryan Katz and Cameron Collins, who are now at Oregon State, Luis Adeyemi, EJ Woods, Damon Middleton, Robert Garcia and others who were very good.”
Mike Burnett was the Samohi coach in Forer’s senior season. Zach Cuda, who became head coach the next season, was an assistant. Forer has met present Samohi coach Travis Clark once.
Included in Forer’s memories is the 1999 Rose Bowl Game between UCLA and Wisconsin, the only one he has attended.
Well, he’s going to attend this one too.
“Both of my parents are attorneys and I’d like to be an attorney too,” said Forer.