After an outstanding Eastlake High School football career during which he was named the 2005 Mesa League Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the All-San Diego Section team in that same senior season, Marcus Yarbrough decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and head to San Diego State. He was red-shirted for the 2006 season and made his way onto to the field the following year. Since then, his playing time has increased each season.
Now a senior, Yarbrough is being counted on this year to help turn last year’s feeble defense into a formidable force. He is excited and optimistic about facing that challenge. He believes that the players have a much better understanding this year of Rocky Long’s complex 3-3-5 defense.
“Another year under our belt helps us a lot,” Yarbrough said. “A lot of people feel more comfortable with it now. Having it that first year made it a little tough, because you really don’t see it (too much) and it isn’t familiar to a lot of people. But I think in the second year, people are feeling a lot more comfortable. Now, I’d say it’s about 75 percent. Coming out of camp, we’ll probably have the whole defense down. There’s so much you have to feel in the 3-3-5 to totally understand it with the blitzes and all the different schemes.”
San Diego State’s offense should be much improved if its stable of talented receivers can stay healthy. Two of those receivers — DeMarco Sampson (Castle Park High School) and D.J. Shields (Bonita Vista High School) — are like Yarbrough: former South Bay stars. Pro prospect Vincent Brown, Dominique Sandifer and preseason All-Mountain West Conference selection Alston Umuolo round out what looks to be the best receiving corps in the conference.
With two years under his belt, strong armed quarterback Ryan Lindley (El Capitan High School) has the potential to be one of the Mountain West’s best. The run blocking and rushing of promising backs such as Walter Kazee, Davon Brown and Ronnie Hillman will have to improve to provide the balance necessary to keep opposing defenses guessing.
The Aztecs’ biggest problems appear on defense. Last year the defense surrendered an average of 382 yards and 30.5 points per outing. Both will have to improve in order for the Aztecs to post their first winning season since 1998. In the long run, one of the keys to turning this team around will be the continued signing of more top local prospects such as quarterback Lindley, the aforementioned trio of South Bay stars and several others.
Players like Yarbrough have maintained ongoing relationships with their high school programs and provided guidance to prep players headed to collegiate programs.
“I talk to (Eastlake) coach (John) McFadden every now and then and I have been out there to work out and watch their practices,” Yarbrough said. “We see a lot of talent at Eastlake. All I can do is talk to them and tell them what we have to offer at SDSU. When it comes down to it, they have to make their own decision about how they feel about our staff. We do try to get everybody we can in, but they have to be willing to understand what it takes to get into San Diego State and play football here.”
SDSU 2010 Football Schedule
4: Nicholls State at SDSU, 5 p.m.
11: SDSU at New Mexico State, 6 p.m.
18: SDSU at Missouri, 6 p.m.
25: Utah State at SDSU, 5 p.m. (KGB SkyShow)
9: SDSU at BYU, 4 p.m.
16: Air Force at SDSU, 5 p.m.
23: SDSU at New Mexico, 8 p.m.
30: SDSU at Wyoming, noon
6: Colorado State at SDSU, 7 p.m.
13: SDSU at TCU, 3 p.m.
20: Utah at SDSU, 7 p.m.
27: UNLV at SDSU, 5 p.m.
Note: home games at Qualcomm Stadium
Web site: goaztecs.com