Here’s hoping everyone’s week is going well and know it’s been a busy one with another stock of talented Arizona high school ballers putting pen to paper to continue their academic and football futures for another 4-5 years.
Despite being the off-season, there’s always plenty to get to so let’s hussle to the line of scrimmage and go up-tempo for this week’s “Zone Read.”
This week we start with a little defense from a guy who knew how to play it quite well.
KVB To DV
If you’re a long-time Arizona Cardinals’ fan or grew up anywhere near the great state of Nebraska or neighboring Iowa, Kyle Vanden Bosch needs no introduction.
A 2001 second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, the 11-year NFL pro tallied 464 tackles and 58 sacks during his time in Arizona, Tennessee, and Detroit.
Now the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end will be sharing his knowledge and craft at the high school level near his home in the southeast Valley.
— Desert Vista Football (@thunderfbfamily) January 29, 2021
New Thunder head coach Ty Wisdom, who’s from Nebraska, said he connected the dots through some mutual friends “back home” he and after connecting with Vanden Bosch, found the fit a perfect match.
“Coach Wisdom reached out to me when he was hired and we met,” Vanden Bosch explained to the “Zone Read.” “We had a great conversation about his philosophy and his vision for the Desert Vista football program. I walked away very impressed and excited about helping in any way that I can.”
Not only was Vanden Bosch tough as player, he was also smart. The 6-foot-5, 278-pounder was an Academic All-Big 12 member three consecutive years and was presented the National Scholar-Athlete Award for academic excellence by the National Football Foundation.
With Wisdom now at the helm, big things are coming to DV and KVB is looking forward to the process of helping turn around one of the true blue blood programs in Arizona high school football.
“After having met the rest of the staff, it is apparent that hard work, determination and excellence will be a part of every level and position group,” Vanden Bosch noted. “I take the most satisfaction in my career from being a part of helping turn around programs. I expect that to happen at Desert Vista, as well.”
I’m extremely proud to be associated with this group of young men. They have huge hearts. Big things ahead. pic.twitter.com/Ksz2m9sSX9
— Kyle Vanden Bosch (@Kvandenbosch93) October 17, 2020
You could say Vanden Bosch is invested in the product. He has twin seventh-grade boys that will one day wear the Midnight blue and Vegas gold in southern Ahwatukee.
Someone who doesn’t follow this stuff too closely recently asked me to describe the college football recruiting process in just a handful of words.
After a moment or two of thought, I simply stated, “Often cruel and unforgiving.”
It’s stressful for most student-athletes who experience and get dragged through “the game” and sometimes simply doesn’t make sense.
Every year a handful of talented players simply fall through the cracks for one reason or another.
— Highland Hawks Football Recruiting (@hawkfbrecruiti1) February 3, 2021
It’s hard to imagine a college who wouldn’t want a player like Highland’s Max Davis. I don’t have to remind you of his resume, take a look for yourself above.
So what gives?
“I’m not sure why he hasn’t gotten more [recruiting attention],” Highland head coach Brock Farrel said to the “Zone Read.” “Maybe he needed more attention as a junior. Maybe it’s the pandemic and the NCAA granting more years to returning athletes so the scholarships aren’t there. I don’t know why.”
Yeah, neither do we.
FAST FACT: Highland RB Max Davis led 6A in rushing with 1,604 yards. He went over the century mark 7 times in the Hawks’ 11 games, including a 327-yard night against O’Connor.
— Gridiron Arizona (@gridironarizona) January 29, 2021
Let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder doesn’t have all the “measurables” colleges want but outside of Boulder Creek’s Jacob Cisneros, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded and durable workhorse back than Davis who tallied nearly 1800 total yards and 26 combined touchdowns in 11 games last fall as a senior helping lead Highland to the 6A State Championship Game.
Quite simply, he was the Offensive Player of the Year in a region which included the Chandler Wolves and Hamilton Huskies.
“Max can ball and he demonstrated that against the best the state has to offer,” Farrel continued. “He truly is Captain America. He leads the charge and takes the hill, no matter what. Then he smiles and is kind to everyone off the field. He would instantly improve any program that takes him the [moment] he walked on campus.”
Your time is coming, Max.
Staying the Course
One player who did sign his letter of intent on Wednesday was South Mountain athlete Travis Gammage.
So proud to become a Mustang! Very excited and can’t wait to get to work! Thank you so much for the opportunity… Silver City here I come!!! #mustangs #rarebreed #Classof2025 #Classof2021 @WNMUFootball pic.twitter.com/4zsEV4Kk7Z
— Travis Gammage (@GammageTravis) February 4, 2021
I’ve mentioned the Jags’ wide receiver/kick returner/cornerback before in this column and for good reason. A stud on the field and, more importantly, in the classroom – Gammage and his 4.3 GPA are headed to Silver City, New Mexico.
He’s also someone “Zone Read” has gotten to know and even mentor a bit during the trials and tribulations of the entire college football courtship process. “Bebo” as he’s known to his teammates and coaches at South, helped his own cause by making himself recruitable and taking the extra steps AWAY from the football field to stand out.
Maybe you’re not a Power 5 or Division I-type athlete but if you can play AND your off-the-field successes and accomplishments mirror that standout Hudl tape, you can bet there’s a school out there for you.
Gammage garnered a college scholarship after only playing three games as a senior due to the pandemic.
Again, congrats to all the signees and for those who haven’t yet, there’s still time.
The recruiting game sometimes takes its own unexpected path to find you.