Introducing the 2004 Class: Nate Kimbrough

The Sun Devil coaches perceive Nate Kimbrough as an impact player, and the wide receiver will not disagree with that assessment. Nevertheless, Kimbrough told DevilsDigest that avoiding a redshirt year cannot be done on talent alone, but also requires a strong work ethic.

"My plan is to make an early impact," said Nate Kimbrough. "I don't plan to redshirt. The coaches told me that I have to work hard so I won't redshirt. They told me that they need to have more depth at wide receiver, so I know that if I work hard I can play early. If I have to redshirt that's OK. I'll get bigger, stronger, faster, and get more familiar with everything. But I want to play early."

As a junior, he earned first-team all-C.I.F. honors at both wide receiver and cornerback. Naturally, his talent didn't go unnoticed by ASU who first contacted the Santa Fe High School standout following his junior year. "The first coach I met was Coach Osborne," recalled Kimbrough. "He told me he was looking for players that would make an impact on the team. I was flattered that he said that to me, no other coach told me that. My first impression was that he's a nice coach, and somebody I can work with." Ironically, Kimbrough added that the first school to offer him a scholarship was Arizona, and ASU followed with an offer shortly after.

Going on unofficial visits in the summer between one's junior and senior year, are usually rare unless they're associated with any kind of team camp. Consequently, Kimbrough didn't plan to visit Tempe in June, but circumstances dictated otherwise. "I wanted to go to school with (fellow incoming freshman) Jeremy Payton," said Kimbrough. "So, when I heard that he was visiting ASU last summer, I said ‘let's go together. I wanna see this school anyway because they offered me a scholarship.' I just kinda tagged along with Jeremy. He was more excited about visiting ASU than I was."

"I didn't think I was gonna commit on the trip," Kimbrough continued. "But it wasn't a hard decision to make. Jeremy also committed at the end of the trip, but I influenced him (smile). I said ‘you need to come here for school.' I don't think we were a package deal – it just happened that way." The receiver cited the facilities as a factor that heavily influenced him, and the Sun Devil coaches were another aspect that made a great impression. "I was impressed by the coaches and what they wanted to do with the team. Coach Koetter has a plan to build this team, and I wanted to be a part of that plan."

The wide receiver was rated as the No. 34 player in California and a Preseason All-American by SuperPrep. His senior stats included 58 receptions, 1,019 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interception returns for scores. "I need to work on my hands and having quicker feet," he said when assessing his skills. "I'm fast and I have long strides. When the defender is trying to tackle me, they think I'm at one pace but I'm actually at a different pace, and I go right past them (runs a 4.48). I also need to improve my mental game and be a student of the game."

Even though he was an accomplished defensive back (coached in the secondary by former ASU defensive back Jeff Mahlstede), he stated that his sights are clearly on the other side of the ball. "I just want to play wide receiver," remarked Kimbrough. "In high school, I had to play defensive back because no one else was playing there. It does help to play both positions, because when you play receiver you know what the defensive back is thinking." Kimbrough commented that he might be interested in being on ASU's track team, and did talk to the Sun Devil track coaches about that prospect on his trip.

Kimbrough, who will graduate high school in two weeks, has already made up his mind concerning his college major. "I'm planning to do something in the music field," He said. "Maybe a record producer or a (studio) engineer. I met up with one of the music teachers at ASU and he was a cool guy." The receiver does plan to attend the school's bridge program in June, as well as work out with the team in the off-season conditioning program. He told us he has no regrets about coming to the valley only a few weeks after completing his high school studies. "It's no big deal that my summer will be cut short. Every summer it's been all football for me, so now it's the same thing again."

Through out our conversation, it was hard not to notice Kimbrough's self-confidence ooze in every word and sentence. He fully realizes that this trait can go a long way in helping an incoming freshman achieve success on and off the field. "I know the defensive backs are after me, and I have to compete with other receivers. I know that the better they are, the better I have to get." Nate Kimbrough is already an accomplished receiver. Nonetheless, he vows to constantly improve his game, which can only be comforting for the maroon and gold fans yearning for quality depth at wide receiver.

Recruit Profile

Name

Nate Kimbrough

High School Santa Fe HS (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.)

Position

WR

Height

6-1

Weight

175

Date of Birth

4/9/86

Birthplace

Inglewood, Calif.

Nickname

"Tank. In Pop Warner I was a big kid, and I used to run players over like an Army tank (smile)."

Favorite TV Show

"The Simpsons."

Favorite Movie

"Shrek."

Favorite Singer/Band

"Diplomat."

Favorite Food

"Chicken."

Favorite Drink

"Gatorade."

Favorite Athlete

"Dante Hall."

Favorite Pro Team

"Los Angeles Lakers."

Person you most admire

"My dad. No matter what we go through, he always stays strong."

First Football Memory

"In my junior year we were down by a touchdown with 57 seconds left. We had to kick an on-side kick, and I caught the ball. The next play the quarterback threw a streak to me down the field, and I scored. After that I scored on the two-point conversion and we won the game."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a very hard worker, and sometimes my personality doesn't show that."

Why did you choose ASU?

"The facilities."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Be in the pros. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to be in the music field as a producer or a (studio) engineer."

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