BERKELEY, Calif. -- Given the new high school football offseason contact rules, it’s tough to tell much from camps, when it comes to linemen and running backs, but on the first day of California’s three-day pads camp, it’s still hard to miss Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo’s Sterling Strother.
Considering that, at this time last year, Strother was a complete unknown, that’s downright remarkable.
“It’s ridiculous,” Strother says. “At this point, last year, my dad and I were getting on a plane to go visit Tufts, Williams, Middlebury, Hamilton College – all for D3 basketball. I think I went to one football camp last summer, and that was Holy Cross, and I went as a tight end.”
Back then, Strother was a two-sport athlete, spending time on the hardwood. He stood 6-foot-4, 212 pounds. Now, he’s just shy of 270, and measures in at 6-foot-4.5, with football scholarship offers from Army, the Bears, Colorado, Columbia, Fresno State, Harvard, Kansas, Nevada, Northwestern, Oregon, Princeton, Utah, Vanderbilt and Yale.
It’s been a crazy year for Strother, including a state title win and lots of interest, starting in December.
“It’s a wild ride, since this time last year,” Strother muses. “I kind of fell in love with football more, over last summer, and during the season, it kept ramping up, and what an incredible team. Hopefully, we can keep building off of that, this year, and get back to that spot. Once that first offer came from Kansas in December, it was like, ‘Wow, OK, this is real. This is happening.’”
Strother did not play hoops last season, in order to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger.
“When our season started, I was 212 pounds,” Strother says. “I’m now just under 270, and if I had played basketball, I still would have put on a little bit of weight, but not enough. I wouldn’t be able to put it on like I’ve been able to. I’ll probably be back out there this winter, after football season, but we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Strother has cut his list to 10: Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Cal, Oregon, Northwestern, Boston College and Stanford, and with a 4.3 GPA for the second year in a row, it’s no surprise that so many academic heavy-hitters are in the mix, though he does regret his single B in Pre-Calculus.
“I’m taking my last round of visits after this camp, actually. We’re leaving the day after, and I’ll be trying to make a decision in early July, mid-July,” says Strother. “I was at Stanford’s camp earlier today. I’ll find out form coach [Mike] Bloomgren in a week or two where I stand with them.
“The schools I’ll be hitting on my last swing will be Vandy, then going up to Boston College, and Boston College said, basically, ‘We’ll offer, depending on if you have a good camp.’ It’s a three-hour session. I’ll probably do an individual workout afterwards, and then visit. I will probably jump over to Harvard, just because we’ll be in the area, and then I’ll hit Yale on the 27th.”
One of his top 10 may not be an option: Northwestern.
“It looks like Northwestern, they actually got a big string of commits, recently, so I feel that they’re going to be – I’ve talked on the phone with their line coach, and they’ve said that they’re basically shutting it down until probably the fall,” he says. “I will have made my decision by then, so that’s probably the only school that’s not completely in it. There are some other schools that are more or less involved at this point, but I’m keeping that between me and my parents.”
Again, while it’s tough to tell much from a camp with the new contact restrictions, Strother did flash several times, driving his defender back and locking out well, but he still, more often than not, is more of a catcher than a driver. That works well in pass sets, but it would still be nice to see him drive off the ball better. Strother shows good feet, but not exceptionally quick. He does plant well and holds the point of attack. He did get beaten on one bull rush during team scrimmage work against Saratoga, but that was because his back foot slipped on the Witter Rugby Field turf. He shows good technique, which should give him a leg up at the next level, but needs to be more consistently mean.
One way or another, though, Strother will get his college paid for, something that didn’t look like it would happen a year ago.
“I’m excited,” he says. “After this round, I’ll have visited everywhere that I’m really looking at, hard, and I should be able to make an informed decision.”
Decision Coming Soon for Strother
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