When tested or when given the opportunity, Class of 2018 all-purpose athlete Isac Velasquez has been showing out for Diamond Ranch High School this season. High school football fans in the southern California area watched Velasquez rip opposing defenses apart last year but now they are getting to see him stop the opposition’s offense as well as make special team defenders look foolish.
Throughout the 2016 season, Velasquez was Mr. Electric on offense pulling in 50 passes for 998 yards with 11 touchdowns and logged 17 carries for 229 yards with another score. He showcased his speed and agility on punt returns taking five back the other way for 88 yards. A dabble on the other side of the ball last year with Alta Loma High School ended up being a foreshadowing of things to come.
Velasquez worked his tail off during the offseason making the rounds at camps, 7v7 events, and going through the rigors of the Panthers spring and summer ball. The Diamond Ranch coaching staff knows just how special a player Velasquez is on the field placing even more responsibilities on his shoulders during his senior year. Stats posted through five of the Panthers six games show their standout with 10 carries for 154 yards with two scores and three receptions for 65 yards. He has made an even bigger impact on special teams taking four punts back for 102 yards and has returned seven kicks covering 223 yards.
Recruiting interest was already coming in for the 5-10, 178 pound, speedster with a verified 4.45 time in the 40-yard dash, but his play at corner is bringing even more looks. Velasquez already has 14 tackles, 13 solo, a tackle for a loss, and four picks. Velasquez barely played defense last season, but in the short time that he did, he registered an interception, once again proving just how special of an athlete he truly is on the gridiron. The long list of teams that have shown interest in the student-athlete sporting a 3.6 GPA includes Colorado, San Diego State, Fresno State, Nevada, Army, San Jose State, Cal, and USC, to name a few.
In a Recruiting News Guru in-season interview, I sat down with Velasquez going over his play on the field with an update on his recruitment.
Isac, you have a well-deserved reputation as a game changer on offense at receiver but this year you are earning a reputation as a show stopper at corner. How did the opportunity to play corner for the Panthers come about and what is contributing to you doing so well at such a tough position?
“My playing a new position came about because of our former coach who played at Washington State, Coach (Daniel) Simmons. Coach Simmons played corner at Wazzu. I look up to him. He was trying to teach me what he had learned. He passed that down to me and the other DBs at Diamond Ranch and now I am doing my best out there.”
What are you doing well out there as a corner?
“Man-press. With my speed, I can catch up to receivers if there is any separation. Playing receiver, I know all the routes. Knowing what they will do has helped, and knowing how to read keys on both sides of the ball.”
You’re also showing off your athleticism on as a return specialist, what is your mentality when fielding a punt?
“Honestly, one-cut and go. Nothing to it. I just try to get as many yards as I can.”
The coaching staff at Diamond Ranch are finding great ways of getting you the ball on offense this year. What are some of the designed plays or ways they are using your abilities to help win ball games?
Ryan Wrighta.k.a. the Recruiting Guru, has been working in mass media and news markets since the mid 1990’s. Ryan has worked as a sports writer and journalist with articles featured on Scout.com, The Bleacher Report, Sports-at-Work, LA Times online edition, and was the editor for Razorbackers.com in association with Sports Illustrated and FanSided Network. RecruitingNewsGuru.com for more interviews and in-depth analysis on college recruits from across the country.