Arik Armstead is 6-foot-8 and 290 pounds of intrigue. He has barrel-thick legs and muscled arms, seemingly long enough to dust the crossbar of a goal post or basketball rim flat footed.
And those limbs are being stretched by the hour.
The Pleasant Grove High School two-sport star and one of the biggest national football recruits ever out of the Sacramento area is getting tugged from all angles.
Every major college football coach wants him to play defensive end as early as spring workouts. Basketball coaches want Armstead to grab rebounds and hit 12-foot jumpers, and the sooner the better.
Notre Dame football and basketball coaches stopped by the Elk Grove school this week to eyeball Armstead, 18, and look over his academic transcripts that reveal he's on the fast track to a December graduation.
Irish basketball coach Mike Brey took recruiting to a new level when he stepped inside John DePonte's math class and addressed the students. DePonte is also Armstead's high school basketball coach. Brey spoke of how golden it would be if Armstead graduated early, high-tailed it to Notre Dame and got into the lineup by Dec. 17.
That's next Saturday, not next winter.
DePonte was in disbelief at what he was hearing. "For a coach to introduce himself in the class, say what his plans are, and I'm the high school coach ," DePonte said, stopping himself.
DePonte said it is "unfair" to teenagers to have such grandeur placed before them. Yes, DePonte has a vested interest in Armstead but not just as a skilled big man.
The coach talked admiringly about Armstead as a young man, the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being a leader on campus, in shoulder pads, in high-tops, in a tux on prom night and cap and gown on graduation day.
DePonte doesn't doubt Armstead can compete in college football or basketball, but he wonders what a lot of us wonder.
Why the rush?
It's not uncommon for recruits to graduate in December and enroll in college immediately for a head start on spring football drills.
Competing in college basketball in the same academic year is unheard of by the number of coaches, reporters and ex-college athletes I polled.
Remarkably, it's legal per NCAA rules, so long as the player has a diploma (college coaches are not allowed to talk publicly about recruits until they sign national letters of intent). DePonte has something to say, however.
"Let the kid be a kid while they can," DePonte said. "They've got the rest of their lives after high school. I like where we are as a team, playing for each other, playing hard, everyone enjoying themselves, and if Arik joins us, that's a real bonus."
So while college coaches continue to make their pitch, Armstead is now being recruited on his own campus. Classmates want to see him continue wearing his school colors while walking Pleasant Grove's halls for a few more months.
That was the sentiment during this week's girls basketball practice. The boys? They're even more in his ear. They want him as a personality, a leader, an inside presence, a difference maker.
What does Armstead want? He isn't sure. So many schools, so many options. Most teenagers fret over what cellphone ring tone to use.
"I'm not sure what I'll do," Armstead said. "There's a lot going on. I do want to play both sports in college."
Today, Armstead is off to Berkeley to hear Cal's pitch from football coach Jeff Tedford and basketball boss Mike Montgomery.
It isn't just Armstead getting tugged. There's his father, Guss, the longtime area strength and conditioning coach. Guss was in Los Angeles on Thursday to visit with USC football coach Lane Kiffin and Trojans basketball coach Kevin O'Neill.
Arik Armstead also has to consider a sore rotator cuff that pained him off and on all football season.
If he begins playing college basketball next week, it's not hard to imagine a senior, who may lose some playing time to a high school kid, won't be tempted to set a hard screen as if to say, "Welcome aboard, youngster."
So what to do? Guss Armstead said he is there for his son as a sounding board. He will not make a decision for him.
"It's up to Arik," Guss said. "He's shown that he's a mature kid. If he wants to go to college soon and attend basketball practices to help set him up for next year, that's up to him.
"If he wants to play high school ball, that's up to him. It's a unique situation. Everyone wants a piece of him. I know he wants to achieve his dream of playing two sports in college. He could be here until June or be gone in two weeks. We don't know."