City College of San Francisco coach George Rush considers the 2011 freshman football class to be his best in the past 10 years.
“We put a lot more energy in the recruiting process this year, and it paid off,” Rush said, while tempering the optimism with his common refrain. “But everybody looks good in August.”
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At the quarterback position, Broughan Jantz hopes to replace his graduated brother, Steele Jantz, signal-caller of last year’s 11-win campaign. The team’s lone defeat was at the hands of Mt. San Antonio College in the California State Championship.
While Broughan is engaged in a battle for the starting job, brother Steele won the gig at Iowa State and will start Saturday.
“This kid should be an Olympian decathlete,” Rush said of the younger Jantz. “Broughan is a major running threat with an extremely strong arm.”
In a pass-oriented offense that features a rotation of seven or eight receivers, Rush is seeking more consistency than what he has seen in fall camp from Jantz and Turner Baty, a standout QB from Menlo-Atherton High School.
“Neither has separated from the other,” Rush said. “Both have moments of brilliance and both have ‘what the heck are you doing?’”
Rush is expected to name a starter Friday.
Replacing the departed Aaron Horne, who is at Iowa State catching passes from Steele Jantz, is H-back Daniel McKinney and a stable of talented receivers, including freshman sensation Dezmon Epps out of Sacramento.
Sophomores Bobby Burton and Deshae Bowen-Edwards will split time in the one-man backfield while Johnny Greene recuperates from an offseason foot injury.
The Rams’ offensive line is anchored by two 320-pound native Swedes: center Olle Norberg and guard Elias Groon.
Coach Rush expects “giant things” from defensive end Iosia Iosia. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound sophomore out of Aragon High School is bigger and faster than last year and is perceived to be a legitimate NFL prospect.
“Tough as nails” nose tackle Steven Hill will clog the middle.
Counted on for their leadership will be linebacker Ruben Ibarra and strong safety Blair Wishom, as they’ll be heading up a defensive corps heavily populated with players from the talented freshman class.
Will the August optimism hold up in November? Rush hopes for redemption on the grand stage and another trip to the state championship in his 35th season as Rams coach.
“When you get to the big game, you have to play like you’re in the big game, and we didn’t,” Rush said of last year’s loss to Mt. San Antonio. “It’s not the losing that bothered me; it’s the not playing well.”