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  • Cathleen Allison / Associated Press

    Chris Ault, the recently retired Nevada coach who recruited Colin Kaepernick, says he wasn't knocked out by the quarterback's talent but admits, "Little did we know."

  • Cathleen Allison / Associated Press file, 2010

    As a quarterback for Nevada, Colin Kaepernick (10) ran an offense that was designed by his coach Chris Ault to benefit the quarterback and running back.

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Hometown Report: Kaepernick sold one Nevada coach - on the basketball court

Published: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 8:06 pm

The Colin Kaepernick running roughshod through NFL defenses today isn't to be confused with the teenage version.

Kaepernick stood 6-foot-4 at Pitman High School in Turlock but was otherwise all arms, legs and upside. An athlete? Absolutely. But a prospect sure to turn the college football world on its collective domes at Nevada, never mind the NFL?

More of a project in progress.

"I first met Kap at a summer camp before his senior year," said recently retired Nevada coach Chris Ault. "Tall, skinny kid. Impressive athlete, but I didn't go back to my office saying, 'Boy, we've got to have him – sign him now.'

"My thinking was to recruit him as a quarterback, and if he doesn't play quarterback, he's a good free safety or receiver prospect. ... Little did we know … ."

Kaepernick was a two-star recruit in high school – flying under the radar – and was only offered a scholarship by Nevada. The slight frame filled out, adding some 35 pounds, and the rest is history.

Kaepernick became the first NCAA player to pass for 10,000 career yards and rush for 4,000. Two years and only nine starts into his professional career, he has powered the 49ers into the Super Bowl.

Ault kept tabs on Kaepernick at Pitman but didn't have anyone on his staff scout a single football game. Barry Sacks, however, couldn't resist watching Kaepernick compete in basketball. Ault's former assistant and now defensive-line coach at Cal watched Kaepernick win the opening tip and then race down and throw down a reverse dunk. Football coaches like to watch athletes in other sports – their demeanor and effort – and Sacks was hooked. That Kaepernick checked into a hospital after this particular contest to be treated for pneumonia spoke of the young man's resolve and adds to the mystique.

"The young man was captivating, to say the least," Sacks told Newsday recently about that game. "I called up coach Ault and I said, 'We're crazy if we don't take this guy. He will lead us into the futureland.' "

Henderson to Hawaii

Grant High School wide receiver-safety Trayvon Henderson accepted a scholarship to Hawaii as an example of perseverance on and off the field.

Henderson started to buckle down academically his junior year. He got to the point that he appreciated taking and passing Spanish finals as a senior.

"I've come a long way, and I know how important school is and how hard it is to get a scholarship," Henderson said.

While he didn't play in the same spotlight at Grant, Henderson has the same athletic ability as past Pacers greats such as Onterrio Smith, Donté Stallworth, Paris Warren and Shaq Thompson.

Cain to cold country

Jamar Cain of Valley High and Sacramento City College, a veteran assistant coach at Cal Poly, has accepted the defensive-line post at Wyoming. Cain said Wyoming wants him to use his local connections as the Cowboys make a stronger recruiting effort in Northern California. Cain has plucked quite a few gems in recent seasons, including Cal Poly leading rusher Deonte Williams of Pleasant Grove and Sierra College and quarterback Tanner Trosin of Folsom, The Bee's 2011 Offensive Player of the Year. The Wyoming staff includes receivers coach Derek Sage, who was a teammate of Cain's at Sac City.

Woodard out for season

Former Bee Basketball Player of the Year Brittany Woodard will miss the remainder of the season at Cal Poly because of a knee injury. The senior forward was averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Mustangs. The team's defensive stopper had a career-high 21 points in a victory over UC Davis on Jan. 10.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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