Big linemen from the Sacramento region have been making a big splash recently.
USC assistant football coach Clay Helton had a suggestion for how Eddie Vanderdoes could really impress during Helton's filming on Thursday: crush a home run.
Helton traveled to Auburn to get an up-close view of Vanderdoes, Placer High School's 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior defensive lineman whose scholarship offers seemingly grow by the day.
Helton filmed Vanderdoes in the weight room and during the baseball team's victory over rival Colfax. He captured Vanderdoes homering and then pointing and grinning at Helton.
And earlier in the week, Vanderdoes stole a base in two games (imagine a rumbling dinosaur and rattling dishes).
Vanderdoes will attend today's Cal spring football game in Berkeley, where he is to see 6-3, 345-pound defensive tackle Vei Moala of Grant, who holds Cal's bench press record of 495 pounds.
Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove has impressed his coaches at Oregon in his first contact drills with the Ducks. He's turning heads, too. Muttered Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger, a former Duck, when he caught sight of the 6-8, 297-pound Armstead, "What is that?"
Big brother Armond Armstead, a 6-5, 295-pound defensive lineman who played at USC, visited the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns this week. He expects a call during next week's NFL draft.
Akiem Hicks, a well-traveled 6-5, 325-pound defensive lineman who played at Del Campo, also is on the NFL radar. Hicks went from Sacramento City College to LSU to Regina College in Canada. He impressed in the East-West Shrine practices with his size and his 84-inch wing span.
Chase Baker of Rocklin and Boise State said being picked in the draft would be a fitting reward for overcoming two major knee surgeries in high school and a tribute to his father, Phil, who died in 2008 in a tree-trimming incident. Baker, a 6-2, 295-pound defensive tackle, has used martial arts to round into shape, telling the Idaho Statesman of Boise that he'll be "the biggest ninja you have ever seen."
Christian Tupou (6-2, 300) of Grant and USC should land in an NFL camp this summer as a run-stopping defensive tackle, either through the draft or a free-agent contract. Tupou, who graduated with a degree in political science, said he's motivated by his father, a custodian who used to take him to early-morning workouts and say, "Don't be like me."
Taylor Dever of Nevada Union certainly paid his dues. The 6-5, 295-pound tackle spent three years on the bench at Notre Dame before his breakout senior season. He expects to get drafted.
Larry Wriedt, a 6-4, 335-pound offensive lineman, also hopes to be drafted. But if football doesn't work out, the West Liberty (West Virginia) graduate said he will become "the biggest cop ever in Sacramento."
Zack Nash (6-3, 255), who holds the Hornets' sacks record with 29.5 and was a Football Championship Subdivision first-team All-American, is considered the Sacramento State player most likely to get drafted.
Sione Fanaika of Florin signed a letter of intent to play on the offensive line at LSU. Tigers coach Les Miles used this line in writing to land Fanaika, "I can promise you two things if you attend LSU: You'll graduate, and you'll win a national championship."
Jesuit junior lineman Garrett Strohmaier is emerging as a prospect. He's 6-3 and 285 pounds with a 4.27 grade-point average. He made unofficial visits to Cal and Stanford and has received interest from Ivy League schools as well as Washington State, Oregon State and Iowa State.