He can race past complex cover schemes and jump over defenders. He can do chin-ups on the crossbar with a running start.
What really catches the attention of Alex Van Dyke’s fellow receivers and position coaches at UCLA is his long stride, rangy 6-foot-4 frame, soft hands and quest to improve. The freshman from Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove has been called “freak” during the Bruins training camp in San Bernardino, or “a young Randy Moss.”
“Alex is going to be great,” UCLA receiver Devin Fuller said this week.
Van Dyke was seemingly groomed for this position. His father, Alex Van Dyke Sr., set still-standing receiving records at Burbank, Sacramento City College and Nevada, and played five years in the NFL. Now a strength and conditioning coach in Sacramento, Van Dyke Sr. never hesitates in saying his son “will be better than I ever was.”
Van Dyke isn’t above good-natured ribbing, either. During drills Thursday, UCLA receivers coach Eric Yarber called Van Dyke “Bambi” for his gallop.
Said Van Dyke later: “I always feel that I can get better. I have a long way to go, always a lot to learn.”
Vanderdoes said he feels “at home” wreaking havoc in the middle of the line, telling Los Angeles media this week, “It’s my natural position. I’m used to exploding, attacking.”
Remarkably light on his feet, Vanderdoes rushed for a touchdown last season. He grins at the idea of a repeat run.
Now on the Fred Biletnikoff Award Watch List that recognizes the game’s top receiver, Winston represented the Spartans at the Mountain West media day, where he said his club will improve from its 6-6 showing last season.
Cooper played baseball at El Camino and played and coached at Sacramento City College. He led Wright State in Ohio to seven successive 30-win seasons as head coach.
Mater Dei already includes national recruit big man M.J. Cage, the son of retired NBA power forward Michael Cage.