Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rising star watch: Chris Paz

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno has assembled powerhouse running backs and big linemen for the college ranks over the years, but could the Panthers have a versatile wide receiver/tight end on the horizon?

Chris Paz could be that guy judging from what I saw in the Cali Gold Mine film room.

Paz, Class of 2016, has already begun to gain steam in the recruiting world with schools in the Mountain West, Big 12 and programs from the Football Championship Subdivision gaining interest.

Here's a breakdown of Paz:

WHAT TO LIKE: A big target at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds. As a receiver, he does an excellent job of adjusting his body to make either the jump ball catch or haul a reception low to the ground. Has a good burst from the line and is a mismatch for smaller cornerbacks. Fights off jams well. Does a consistent job of extending his hands in front of his chest to reel in the reception. Has powerful legs and can move a pile with him after the catch. For a 200-pounder, he has good elusiveness in the open field. Without the football, he's a viscous down field blocker who can knock opponents five yards back. Also a valuable return man with good vision and a burst through the hole. On defense, he has solid reaction skills to the football at safety. A good hitter who can knock the ball loose.

Photo courtesy of the Fresno Bee

WHAT TO BUILD ON: Though he runs a 4.6 40-yard dash time, he can always bring that down. Tends to run upright and not keep himself low, but that's common for tall players. If he's to line up at tight end, will need 10-20 pounds of muscle by the time he's a senior. Doesn't have the quickest feet when trying to get off of his wide receiver breaks.

OVERALL: Paz is a possession target and red zone threat, but Memorial has used him in a variety of ways. His size, versatility, hands and blocking ability convinces me he'll have a home on offense. His blocking ability reminds me of former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who was a devastating blocker. The usually run-heavy Panthers have gone to a spread offense look. This could mean an increase in touches for Paz since he's SJM's biggest target. Wyoming, New Mexico, Sacramento State, Portland State, Eastern Washington and Oklahoma have already taken notice of Paz. He's also teamed with high-powered talent evaluator and recruiting guru Tony Perry in Fresno to assist him on the recruiting trail.

More on Paz:

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