Dressed in nothing but a track jacket, basketball shorts, cleats and gloves, Quentin Tartabull went up against fully-padded receivers on Witter Field on Sunday, and in his first two one-on-one reps, he picked off two passes. In his first five reps, he picked off three balls and deflected another. He knocked around with opposing players, he was physical, he was fearless. It's nothing new.
"Honestly, two days ago, he had a really bad foot injury," said Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany assistant C.J. Fulwilder. "At least, I thought it was bad. His recuperative powers, I mean, a guy stepped on his foot when he got an interception, and it turned black and blue. I told him to go to the doctor, and he said, ‘I'm not going to the doctor, because the doctor is not going to have anything good to say.' That was just two or three days ago.
"I've always said this, if he's going to make it at college, and if he makes it at the next level in the NFL, he's one of the guys that's going to have one of the highest tolerances for pain. He has such a tolerance for pain."
The next day, Alemany held a passing tournament. Fulwilder asked Tartabull if he'd be alright. He said: "I'm ready."
"He's a humble soldier, but he's definitely a soldier. He's a front-running guy. I call him a true roughneck," Fulwilder said. "He is not afraid to mix it up, he's not afraid to hit the ground. I watch kids all day protect themselves in tackle leagues, protecting themselves so they don't get hit. When I was growing up, we played street football, and we played tackle, with no pads on, nothing. Kids don't do that nowadays. He seems like the type that would play street football and have no problem with it."
On Friday, he played, he dove all over the yard, completely unencumbered.
"I'll bet you that foot is still black and blue," Fulwilder said. "I'll bet you that foot is still black and blue. There's no way it could have changed."
Fulwilder first met Tartabull as a freshman, when he was still a running back. Since then, he's become a jack of all trades on the football field, a factor that helped him earn his California offer.
"When I first met him freshman year, he was a running back, a highly-touted running back. He came to Alemany as a receiver, and then, when we moved him up, the year we played Chaminade, we moved him up because one of our linebackers got hurt, and he had a phenomenal game," Fulwilder said.
As just a sophomore, Tartabull went head-to-head with future Nebraska signee Terrell Newby -- the No. 17 back in the nation.
"He made this play -- our game against Chaminade was probably the fourth or fifth game of the year -- and he made a play, when Terrell Newby came out of the backfield and went up the hash, and Tartabull had a check run, turned to run with him, and he made the best defensive back play of the year, when he was playing linebacker," Fulwilder said. "He was running shoulder-to-shoulder with Newby, the ball was in the air, and Newby went for it and he just knocked it out of the way. That was as a sophomore. I said then, ‘This kid can play safety, easily.' He has great ball skills, and he's the second-best receiver on a team that's known for its receivers."
Fulwilder has had plenty of interest from BCS-level schools, but because much of his film is at either receiver or linebacker, those schools have been reticent to move on Tartabull. Now that he's committed to the Bears, he isn't looking anywhere else, no matter who comes calling.
"No one is coming and stealing him from Cal," Fulwilder said. "He's committed to them. I talked to him, and he said, ‘Coach, I'm going to commit to them. I like the campus, I like the education, this is just what I want, and they showed me that they want me. I'm committed to them. That's it.' UCLA doesn't mean nothing. It isn't getting better than Cal. His exact words were: ‘I'm responsible for making Cal better than USC and UCLA.'"
BTC: Tartabull is "a true roughneck"
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