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Foothills Area Should Have Wealth Of QB Talent

Oregon-bound Rodrigues Tops List
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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With the start of the high school football season just a shade over four weeks away, it's safe to say foothills-area teams have question marks as they prepare to navigate the 2011 campaign. But while several squads may be looking for a bruising back to pick up the tough inside rushing yards, a go-to receiver for third-down situations or a special linebacker to utilize on blitz packages, one thing is for sure: There will be no shortage of returning top-flight quarterbacks. From Roseville to Grass Valley, encompassing the Sierra Foothill, Pioneer Valley, Capital Valley and Capital Athletic leagues, no fewer than seven teams have returning quarterbacks that are coming off outstanding junior seasons. Topping the list is Jake Rodrigues of Whitney. How good is Rodrigues? Let us count the ways. "He's the best I've ever had," coach Mike Giminez said. "He's a good one." Rodrigues is so good that the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior already has verbally committed to play at Oregon in 2012. He’s one of the few quarterbacks from the Sacramento area to verbal a Pac-10 scholarship offer at the position since Randy Fasani came out of Del Oro in 1997 and signed with Stanford. Rodrigues recently was one of 24 quarterbacks from across the nation that competed in the Elite 11 quarterback challenge. During the recent spring recruiting season, Rodrigues waded through scholarship offers from Tennessee, UCLA, Colorado, Nebraska and Washington, just to name a few. “He does everything well,” Giminez said. “He passes, runs and is a leader.” In 2010, Rodrigues passed for 2,039 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns. He helped lead Whitney to a 7-5 record. Rodrigues will be featured when Whitney plays defending Idaho state-champion Coeur d'Alene in a showcase game Sept. 17 at the Univerity of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome. While Rodrigues is at the top of the QB list, he should have plenty of company. Here's a quick look at other returning quarterbacks that should shine: Brendan Keeney, Granite Bay: The Grizzlies should be in good hands with two-year varsity starter Kenney back at the controls. He passed for 2,547 yards last season in leading his team to a 9-4 record and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal berth. Kenney has Division I size at 6-4, 210 pounds. Ryan Shields, Oakmont: Shields, at 6-4, 175, flew under the radar much of last season despite passing for 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns. His stock rose last spring with several outstanding performances at combines. Bobby Heatherington, Del Oro: Saying Heatherington is a winner would be an understatement. The senior enters 2011 having never lost a high school game he has started at QB. That was 10-0 as a freshman, 10-0 as a sophomore and 7-0 last season after taking over and leading the Golden Eagles to the Division III section title. Heatherington completed 61 of 116 passes for 993 yards and seven touchdowns with only two interceptions. He also rushed for 270 yards. Austin Young, Colfax: At 6-5, 220, Young enters 2011 having drawn Division I college feelers. A year ago, Young earned an all-league honor while guiding Colfax to the PVL championship by hitting 59 percent of his passes (167 for 283) for 2,406 yards and 25 touchdowns. Shaun Mize, Woodcreek: While Mize may be better known for his exploits on the baseball diamond, he'll also draw attention on the gridiron this season. A year ago, Mize sparked the Timberwolves by connecting on 87 of 146 passes for 1,355 yards. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was 17-5. He also ran for 353 yards and four scores. James Harris, Bear River: A two-year starter, Harris returns for his senior season listed at 6-4 and 200 pounds. He passed for 762 yards and five scores last season while running for three TDs.