Recruit Profile: OL Justin Cheadle

Last season the Bakersfield High football program finished with a 12-2 record and a central section Division I CIF championship. Quite an accomplishment considering wide receiver Phillip Thomas took over the quarterback duties mid-way during a week five match up with Clovis (CA) High. The Drillers lost the game 20-9, but didn't look back and finished the season with eight consecutive victories

One of the road-graders who paved the way for Thomas, who rushed for over a 150 yards three times, is Justin Cheadle (6-5, 250, 5.0).

Cheadle had a break-out junior season and he provided reasons why.

"I just worked hard, I got some more experience under my belt, I matured a lot and had a lot of people making sure I was on the right path, so I could become successful."

Cheadle may have received guidance, but Bakersfield head coach Pail Golla explained, Cheadle's successes were all about his desire.

"Justin is a tireless worker," Golla said. "He's a guy who's the first one to practice and he doesn't rely on his athletic ability, which he has a lot—he's also very smart. He's our team leader and he hasn't missed a work out in three months. He hasn't missed one zero period work out and they begin at 6:30 in the morning."

Some of the workout schedules high school athletes have are unbelievable. Their workouts mirror those of college athletes, making the transition from high school to college much easier. But there's not much time in the day for anything but working out, going to school, eating and sleeping.

Cheadles dedication rivals any.

"For me it's a every day thing," Cheadle said. "I have zero period in the morning and we run and do speed workout, and sometimes we lift. Then seventh period comes along and I end up playing basketball or lifting weights. Then after school I have practice for whatever sport I might be in--basketball, football, track and field. Then after practice I?ll go to the gym for about two hours and come home and do homework. By that time after I do my homework and take a shower it's 11 o'clock--then I talk to my girlfriend and go to sleep."

Although Cheadle isn't flying under the radar, he plans to gain as much exposure as possible.

"I'm supposed to attend the USC Junior Day and I was invited to the Cal-Berkeley Experience for my grades and being African-American," Cheadle said. "So, I plan on going to that and maybe I can meet some of the coaches at that time."

He said he'll also attend a Nike Camp at Stanford and possibly the Scout.com All-American Combine in Los Angeles.

Cheadle said he's hearing from a number of schools, but he favors USC and UCLA.

"I like the football program they have at USC," Cheadle said. "I have an uncle and a cousin who went there, so I know USC would challenge me academically.

"I like UCLA a lot for the exact same reasons as USC. They're close, they have good athletic programs and they have a good medical program. If football doesn't work out for me, I've always thought about becoming a doctor someday. I know if I went to UCLA, I'd be in one of the top medical programs."

His interest in becoming a doctor, doesn't necessarily mean he'll major in medicine.

"I'm definitely keeping my options open," Cheadle said. "I really just want to play football in college and get a good education, so I don't know what I'm going to major in. I'm bouncing back in forth because my mother wants me to be a doctor or lawyer, but my mind is thinking about majoring in engineering or business."

USC and UCLA are the schools Cheadle favors, but he has written offers from Fresno State and Arizona, and hell strongly consider both schools.

"I was real excited when Pat Hill offered," Cheadle said. "He's a real nice guy and I look forward to talking more with him, and visiting there. Fresno State is a good school to play for.

"I'm definitely interested in Arizona. That's a school that's also close and I could still play in the Pac-10. One of my goals is to stay in the Pac-10.

Working out, studying film and practicing are all necessary in preparation, but it's the intangibles that separates the men from the boys.

"My attitude is one of my best qualities," said Cheadle. "Even though I play on offense, I have a defensive mentality because I love to hit people and knock them on the ground. I'm quick off the line, I use my hands pretty good and I stay on my blocks. One thing that I always try to do, if my guys get free, is to block for the entire play and beat them to the end-zone. I don't stop until the whistle blows."

Cheadle has blossomed into one of the top offensive linemen in the Central Valley and said he's looking beyond being one of the top prep linemen.

"I want to become faster, stronger and work on staying low with my blocks, because I'm kind of tall," said Cheadle. "I think working on fundamentals and the basics are important because in college, everyone is going to be just as big and just as strong. Success will come down to work-ethic--and who wants it more".


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