Thursday, December 27, 2012
LB D.J. Calhoun has title aspirations
By Mason Kelley
EL CERRITO, Calif. -- After seeing what D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) can do on a football field, Kenny Kahn is happy he is the 2014 standout’s coach, instead of an opponent the linebacker has set his sights on.
“I would never want to play against him, because I see how hard he hits,” the Gauchos’ coach said.
The ESPN Watch List member has earned a reputation for hard hits and his ability to make plays all over the field. Calhoun's play has earned him the attention of programs including UCLA and Arizona State. And while he will be one of Washington’s top junior targets, there will be no shortage of schools vying for his attention.
“He has limitless potential,” Kahn said. “He’s a really aggressive player that makes good reads. He has great closing speed. His motor goes all game long, all four quarters, offense, defense, special teams.
“He’s really hard to take off the field.”
Calhoun takes pride in those hard hits that his coach has grown accustomed to watching. He patterns portions of his game after NFL veteran Ray Lewis.
“I’m not going to say I’m the best, but I play like nobody can hit me,” he said. “I play like I’m a savage. The whole point of football, to me, is hitting. If you don’t like to hit, you shouldn’t be playing.
“You’ve got to be aggressive.”
During his junior season, Calhoun helped El Cerrito to the CIF North Coast Section Division III championship game. The Gauchos fell to Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic, 31-28.
“We told Coach Kahn, when we’re juniors we’re going to take him somewhere special,” Calhoun said. “We ended up making it to the championship.”
Instead of being satisfied with a successful season, Calhoun has set a higher standard for his senior season.
“Senior year, we’re going to take it,” Calhoun said. “No doubt. My goals moving forward are trying to win state, trying to leave a legacy for the school.”
Calhoun has already started to work toward leaving that legacy. Once El Cerrito went on winter break, the Gauchos started to train for 2013. In fact, it is not uncommon for Calhoun to be the first teammate to arrive for morning workouts during his vacation.
When asked about where Washington fits into his future, Calhoun said he likes where the Huskies are headed.
“I think they’re doing good,” he said. “I like their defense, they way they play. They’ve got a lot of good recruiters there, too. They’re one of my top interests.”
Right now, though, Calhoun said he really likes what he has seen from UCLA.
“I like the Bruins a lot,” he said. “I met the coaches, everything. The players, they’re cool, too. They really got me a little.”
Calhoun is also receiving plenty of interest from SEC schools. But, instead of looking ahead to college, he remains committed to getting the Gauchos a section title next season. The attention, accolades and scholarship offers will continue to roll in.
“I’m not trying to make my head too high with this recruiting stuff,” he said. “I’m just a junior. I’ve got another whole season.”