Other than being among the top 100 senior recruits in the country, Valley Christian running back Byron Marshall and Salesian-Richmond lineman Freddie Tagaloa have little in common.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Marshall, ranked No. 48 by CBS/MaxPreps.com recruiting expert Tom Lemming, relies on 10.60-second 100-meter speed, elusiveness and surprising strength to avoid would-be tacklers.
His 40-yard time is 4.4 seconds, vertical jump 33 inches, and he has bench-pressed 325 pounds. Those numbers - and his career 2,900 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns - are impressive. But not compared to his flashy assortment of highlight-reel touchdown runs and returns for one of Northern California's most recognized programs.
"After three years, he still makes play I say, 'Holy cow,' " Valley Christian coach Mike Machado said.
Tagaloa, ranked No. 69, overwhelms opponents and wows recruiters with his size and power. At 6-6 1/2 and 312 pounds of muscle - "There's no fat on that kid whatsoever," says Salesian coach Chad Nightingale - Tagaloa flattens foes regularly, but in relative obscurity for a small but successful program.
Despite that, Tagaloa, who just turned 17, had 25 full-scholarship offers by the end of his sophomore year and now, according to Nightingale, "has offers from every Division I school in the country (and is considering Stanford, Cal, Oregon and USC). If you have that kind of size and speed and power, recruiters will find you."
Despite their different shapes and paths to glory, Tagaloa and Marshall have one unmistakable trait in common: They are Grade A athletes.