Former Hornet receiver scoring big in Hollywood

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Ryan Coogler was one of the Hornets’ top wide receivers; now, he is one of the film industry’s brightest rising stars. (Sacramento State/Randy Allen)

In just a few years, writer and director Ryan Coogler has gone from making catches on the football field to making Oscar-nominated films in Hollywood.

Coogler (’07, Business Administration) was one of Sacramento State’s most dynamic wide receivers and a three-time winner of the Big Sky Conference’s All-Academic award, but this year he’s bringing in a whole other kind of hardware: His latest film, the highly touted Rocky sequel, Creed, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – the first Oscar nod for one of the young director’s movies.

It has been a whirlwind ride for Coogler, 29, who first got behind a camera while a business major at Sac State; still, despite his relative youth, he clearly has no problems directing A-list talent:

Creed’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is a category came for a performance by megastar Sylvester Stallone, who won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of a world-weary Rocky Balboa. The film also netted Coogler the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association “Next Generation” Award.

The awards are the culmination of this past year’s buzz surrounding Coogler’s latest film, which was both a critical and commercial darling. His major motion picture debut Fruitvale Station grossed $16 million worldwide; Creed netted more than two and a half times that its first week in theaters.

Coogler still is just getting started as a Hollywood filmmaker, though you would be hard-pressed to tell given his body of work to date. With demand for his talents surging and even bigger directing projects on the horizon – including Marvel’s Black Panther for 2018 – it is hard to imagine that Creed will be his last Oscar-nominated film.

Click here to check out Ryan’s Made at Sac State story.

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‘Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine’ back for Season 2

Made at Sac State — The Video Magazine Season 2

The award-winning Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine is back for another season, this time with even more incredible stories from California’s capital campus.

Viewers can stream every episode online now. Click here to watch Season 2 of Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine.

Created and hosted by longtime Sacramento television reporter and Sacramento State Public Affairs executive producer Gloria Moraga, Season 2 takes viewers from the banks of the American River to the legislative chambers of the capitol and everywhere in between, showcasing the real-world impact that Sacramento State students, faculty and staff are having on the capital region and beyond.

Each of the season’s eight 30-minute episodes spotlights one of the University’s colleges and the inspirational work of the people within them.

Shot throughout 2015, Season 2 delves even deeper into the people and stories that make Sacramento State the unique, dynamic, and influential institution it is today.

Highlights from the season include:

  • A high-speed ride in Hornet Racing’s Formula SAE race car, a top-20 finisher in international competition this past July.
  • A look inside the public process through the eyes of capitol interns.
  • Insight into the groundbreaking research and farming methods at Sacramento State’s Sustainable Technology Optimization Research Center (STORC) that are changing the way food will be grown for future generations.
  • A peek backstage at how student actors and dancers juggle performances with their studies.
  • A view from behind the camera with Hollywood director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed).
  • And many more.

Watch Season 2 of Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine at www.csus.edu/made/tv, and catch up with season one on YouTube.

Former Hornet linebacker now Super Bowl champ

Todd Davis has gone by many names over his football career — Spirit, Hornet, Saint, Bronco — but the latest one really sticks: champion.

Hornet linebacker Todd Davis
Todd Davis, pictured during his senior year at Sacramento State, totaled the second-most tackles in Hornet history before playing on the game’s biggest stage in Super Bowl 50. (Sacramento State Athletics/Bob Solorio)

After racking up the second-most tackles in Hornet history, Davis, 23, found himself atop the football world on the game’s biggest stage Feb. 7 with the Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos.

“I just feel truly blessed to be here,” Davis, freshly decked out in a “Super Bowl Champions” hat and T-shirt, said in a post-game interview. “Super Bowl 50, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

“We did it, Sac State. We’re here,” he said, raising an outstretched pinkie finger. “Stingers up.”

As a member of Denver’s vaunted linebacking corps, Davis helped the Broncos limit opponents to the fewest yards in the league this year en route to a Super Bowl berth.

On Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Davis took the field for 25 snaps and was part of a defensive performance for the history books: Denver held the explosive Carolina Panthers’ offense to 10 points and posted a record seven sacks with four forced turnovers.

It has been a wild two years for Davis since he last took the field for the Hornets in 2013. Despite a prolific college career — Davis totaled 351 tackles, 9.5 sacks, six interceptions and was the Hornets’ two-time defensive MVP — he went undrafted in 2014.

He signed with the New Orleans Saints, was placed on waivers, and then claimed by Denver later that year. In 2015, he played in every game for the Broncos, registering 21 tackles as part of the NFL’s stingiest defense.

In two years, Davis has come a long way since his days at Hornet Stadium, and he has reached a level of competition that veterans twice his age often never experience.

Now, he has the ring to prove it.