Friday, April 26, 2013
Interest increasing in Alemany safety duo
By Erik McKinney
Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany is always going to feature an exciting offense under head coach Dean Herrington. Last season, the Warriors scored more than 27 points in every game and averaged nearly 43 points per contest. This season, the Warriors will need to find a new quarterback as well as replace dynamic receivers Steven Mitchell and Devin Ross, who signed with USC and Colorado, respectively.
But it's on the other side of the ball where Alemany could get a boost, with a senior safety tandem as productive as any in the region.
Brandon Boyd is back at free safety, where he recorded eight interceptions as a junior. But joining him will be a new face in the secondary, as Quentin Tartabull makes the move from linebacker, where he has played his entire career. Only a handful of practices into the switch, Tartabull said things have gone well.
"Safety is where I'm fitting the best for the next level, so I'm transitioning now," he said. "I'm learning a lot, but I'm picking it up fast, so it should be good. I love it. I like seeing more of the field and being able to play the run and the pass. It's fun back there."
There certainly won't be many questions about speed for the 5-foot-11, 186-pound athlete after he turned in a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at the recent Los Angeles Nike Camp -- a very impressive time for a fulltime linebacker with no track experience or true speed training.
"I had no idea about that," Tartabull said. "I had no idea I ran that fast of a time until the end of the camp. It was a big surprise, but I worked hard for it."
In fact, Tartabull's SPARQ rating of 110.91 is still the top mark for any safety in the country, and it's helped lead to some serious interest from Pac-12 programs, including Arizona State, Cal, UCLA, USC and Washington.
The Golden Bears could be the closest to an offer -- Tartabull said he believes something could happen within the next week or two -- but he's had the most contact with Arizona State, where he took an unofficial visit for a junior day earlier this spring. Tartabull said he'll get back to Tempe this summer, as he will compete at the Arizona State summer camp. He wants to attend several summer camps, as he's been invited by all the aforementioned Pac-12 programs, but only Arizona State and USC are guarantees at this point. The rest will depend upon his schedule.
While the three in-state schools -- Cal, UCLA and USC -- are the most familiar for Tartabull due to the fact that he's lived in California his whole life, he said he'd like to learn more about the rest of the schools that have contacted him. Coaches from Arizona, USC and Washington were among those at a recent practice, where Tartabull's coverage skills at safety were on display in a four-team passing event with other local high schools. After a strong performance, it wouldn't be surprising to see attention increase from those programs.
"It's starting to get busy, and coaches are starting to come out and look at a few of our players," Tartabull said. "It's starting to go right now."
Boyd will receive some of those looks this spring, but he too will head out this summer to compete at several camps. He said he's hearing mostly from San Diego State, Washington and Washington State, but UCLA and USC have been in touch, as well. He added that he probably would attend both local camps, but he also could make the trip north to camp with the Cougars.
"They like my ball instincts, and they say I'm a ballhawk," Boyd said of interest from coaches. "They've sent letters that say they like the way I play and they'll keep tabs on me throughout the season."
Boyd said he's excited at the prospect of getting Tartabull to pair with at safety, as the former linebacker is the team's most consistent and solid tackler, which should allow Boyd to roam the secondary as a center fielder and add to his career interception total. He added that he would like to work some at wide receiver this season, to help make up for the losses of Mitchell and Ross.
But it's on defense where Boyd will make his biggest contributions this season, and the new safety tandem could go a long way toward shaping what kind of season the Warriors have this fall.