Baugh could be Cal's next elite tight end

Riverside (CA) J.W. North tight end Marcus Baugh likes how he would fit in the Golden Bears' pro-style offense.

LAS VEGAS – The current renaissance at the tight end position started with Tony Gonzalez, so it is no surprise that Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North tight end Marcus Baugh models his game on the California two-sport star and future NFL Hall of Famer.

"I just like how he always plays big," Baugh said at the New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 Tournament at UNLV. "He was fast, still is fast. I just like how he plays.

"He is one of the best receivers in the league, I mean tight ends in the league."

Baugh's Freudian slip is indicative of the way the position has changed, with the emergence of dominant pass-catching tight ends at all levels of football.

In the Pac-12 alone, which also produced New England Patriots record-breaker Rob Gronkowski and emerging Washington Redskins star Fred Davis, there are no less than six proven standouts entering the 2012 season.

But the Golden Bears haven't had that breakout player capable of creating mismatches by being split out wide or stretching the field by attacking the seam. Baugh might change that.

"Cal is probably first on my list," he said. "They have a highly-ranked academic school and I always factor that in first."

Schools that run spread offenses like Ohio State and Arizona State are pursuing Baugh as more of an H-back, while the Bears' scheme is more in line with what he prefers.

"I don't think they'll use me as an H-back. They're pro-style and I like running pro-style too," Baugh said.

Oregon State is pitching Baugh as a tight end and defensive end. He also holds offers from Florida, Miami, Nebraska, UCLA and Washington, just adding one from Hawaii.

"They have a really high-powered offense," Baugh said of the Warriors. "And I have family out there being Samoan," his uncle living on the Islands.

Baugh credits his work with the B2G Five Stars 7-on-7 team with helping get "my speed down, speed and route running."

But he is quick to note he is more than just a super-sized wide receiver.

"Our offensive line coach says I down block pretty good. He says that I have one of the best reach blocks he has ever seen," Baugh said.

Baugh also shows off his athleticism playing basketball on the Compton Magic AAU team, which also features Oregon-bound defensive tackle Arik Armstead and future Arizona shooting guard Gabe York.

But unlike Gonzalez, who helped Cal reach the 1997 Sweet 16, Baugh admits he isn't an elite hoops prospect and plays solely for fun.


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