Chris Paz’s three hour road trip to Sacramento ended with a good vibe, as the San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) wide receiver said he liked what he saw and heard from the Sacramento State coaches during his unofficial visit on Aug. 15.
Paz - who lives in Reedley and is entering his third varsity season with the Panthers - has mainly been scouted as an outside linebacker by several college coaches in the PAC-12, Mountain West and Big Sky Conferences. However, Paz said one Hornet coach likes what he does on the perimeter.
“The wide receiver coach (Jason Pollak) really likes me and I think they can offer me after the first three games (this season),” Paz said. “Sac. State is one of the few schools that like me at wide receiver better.”
Paz, who holds one scholarship pledge from Cornell of the distinguished Ivy League, said he doesn’t mind playing linebacker at the next level. But, if he had to choose which position he prefers, he said “It would be wide receiver. Just having the ball in your hands is the best.”
Paz has the build of a tall NFL possession target. He stands at 6-foot-3, weighs 205-pounds, and tortures one-on-one coverage.
The blue-collar Paz has a running back-like stiff arm that not only gets unleashed on a press defender, but can knock the cornerback over three to five yards back. Paz shows breakaway speed on short screens, as he’ll dodge an oncoming tackler then bolt his way to the end zone. With his size, he’s been dominant in the red zone. Paz fakes out his defender during zone schemes then adjusts his body to haul down the tough end zone corner grab.
During the offseason, he started working out at the Bod-E-Shop gym in Clovis, which has helped develop UCLA true freshman running back Bolu Olurunfunmi, UCLA wide receiver commit Darian Owens, Oakland Raiders safety Tevin McDonald, current Dinuba quarterback Isaac Leppke (has drawn interest from Ivy League, Mountain West and Big 12 schools), Major League Baseball prospect Jacob Gatewood and former Cal standout and NFL linebacker Zack Follett. Paz has also latched on with TMP Elite in Sacramento, who has Alabama soft verbal Najee Harris, Norte Dame quarterback commit Ian Book and Stanford pledge Beau Bisharat on the roster.
Fresno State, Cal, USC, San Jose State, Cal Poly, Yale, Montana and Harvard are among a growing list of schools observing Paz, who starts his senior year with SJM on Aug. 28 at home against Washington Union (Fresno).