Growing up nowadays, many kids state they would like to become professional athletes or music stars when they grow up. It's a far cry from the 1950's and 1960's when kids said they wanted to be teachers, astronauts or the President. Student Sports Hot 100 tailback C.J. Gable from Sylmar High also wants to be like "The President", but it isn't George W. Bush were talking about.
"This season we are going to try to use me like Reggie Bush, " Gable said after working out with the receivers at the L.A. Nike Camp last spring at USC. "I don't care about rushing for 2,000 yards, I want to win," he added.
As a junior, Gable led the L.A. City Section in rushing with 2,023 yards, 10 more yards that graduated All-American Marlon Lucky from nearby North Hollywood High. This season, Gable might not reach that mark as the Sylmar High coaching staff plans on using its star back out wide just like the USC coaching staff uses Bush, the former Helix of La Mesa standout.
Like Bush, Gable is a smaller, versatile back who shines in the open field. It's this versatility that landed him a spot in the Student Sports Hot 100 list of top college football prospects from around the country. In addition to his yardage as a tailback, the 2004 first team CalHiSports.com All State Underclass selection tallied 230 yards receiving with two touchdowns and is also a high regarded cornerback prospect who intercepted four passes on defense.
At the L.A. NIKE Camp, Gable actually worked with the receivers, showing good hands and the same acceleration that he displays as a back. He did look a little raw in his route running, but he was more focused on learning than impressing at the NIKE Camp.
"Some of the receiver drills we did here (at the camp) we don't do at school. I want to take them back with me to show my teammates," Gable explained. He constantly wants to learn because he wasn't completely satisfied with Sylmar's and his own individual performance last year. The Spartans finished 9-3 and lost in the L.A. City Section quarterfinals.
"In order to get over the hump this season, we know how hard we got to work as a team," Gable said.
Gable is being recruited by powers all over the country such as LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma and its not surprising different colleges see him helping them at different positions.
"Some schools are recruiting me as a back and others as an athlete," Gable remarked. "UCLA was first recruiting me as a running back but after seeing me as a defensive back they are now recruiting me as an athlete. At USC, I might play at a different position because they have a lot of running backs," he added.
Like the Trojans, Sylmar High has a fine tradition of running backs itself that includes former Michigan State back Tyrone Crenshaw, former Washington player Tobiase Brookins, former UCLA fullback Durrell Price and three-time All-City selection Jerome Casey. Casey started the tradition in 1987 and was actually a teammate of current Sylmar head coach London Woodfin.
"I never seen them play, but I have watched some tapes of those guys," Gable explained. "I try and learn something from every single one of them."
Note: To read about the Student Sports Preseason Hot 100 recruiting list that is included in the latest edition of SPARQ Magazine, please visit StudentSportsFootball.com .