June, 27, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSButler (Matthews, N.C.) linebacker Peter Kalambayi (left) picked up an invitation to The Opening at the Charlotte NFTC.While the Miami Heat was building its Big 3 in the summer of 2010, the Butler (Matthews, N.C.) football program was getting set to unleash its own Big 3 in hopes of repeating as Class 4AA champs. On offense, there were sophomores Riley Ferguson at quarterback and Uriah LeMay at wideout while sophomore linebacker Peter Kalambayi helped anchor a strong defense.
Kalambayi stood out because he was one of just three players in his class to skip JV and play varsity as a freshman. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder hasn't disappointed in his three years, pushing the Bulldogs to a second straight title in 2011, posting 80 tackles and six sacks in just eight games last season and earning the No. 300 spot in the ESPN 300.
But while Kalambayi has done most of his damage on the east coast, he will soon be well acquainted with the west. During a visit earlier this month to Stanford, the senior committed to the Cardinal and in July, he'll join 150 of the nation's top recruits at The Opening. It's time to Get Familiar with Peter Kalambayi.
ESPNHS: After participating in NFTC camps the last three years, what was it like to get invited to The Opening and join 149 of the nation's top players?
Kalambayi: I've been working hard all these years and I knew what I had to do, so it was great to have that work recognized and get invited to The Opening.
ESPNHS: What are you hoping to prove while you're at The Opening?
Kalambayi: What a lot of people don't know is how fast I am, so I'm looking forward to working with and competing against some other fast guys to show I can play with them. I want to get a good 40 time in the SPARQ competition. I've been timed at 4.47, but it'd be nice to have a good time officially in the books there.
ESPNHS: Based on your goals for your upcoming senior season, in what ways will being at The Opening help?
Kalambayi: It will help a lot, especially with my coverage skills, which I want to improve. I'll be going against some great guys there and I'll be able to take what I learn at The Opening into the season and adapt it to our defense.
ESPNHS: You won state titles in your first two years of high school along with 31 straight games at one point, so how hard was it to endure your first two varsity losses to begin and end last season?
Kalambayi: It's terrible and it puts you in a bad mood. I'm still in a bad mood about it, really, because I'm just not used to losing. Even in eighth grade, my team didn't lose a game, so last year was my first loss in about five years. In my mind, last year was a failure because we didn't win the state championship and if we don't win this year, it will be another failure because that's what we play for — to win state championships.
ESPNHS: You just came off a spring season where you competed in the shot put and discus. When did you start competing in that and how does it affect your play on the football field?
Kalambayi: I started in eighth grade and competing in those events definitely helps with football. You have to be very coordinated to do the discus and shot put, so it helps with my footwork and agility on the football field.
School: Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
Food: Fried Chicken
Movie: "2 Fast 2 Furious"
School subject: History
Athlete: Bo Jackson
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
October, 11, 2011
By Brian Stumpf | ESPN.com
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSAndrew Luck was the Elite 11 MVP runner-up to Blaine Gabbert in the summer of 2007.After a stellar sophomore season in 2010 in which he led Stanford to a top five national ranking and Orange Bowl victory, quarterback Andrew Luck entered the 2011 season as the most highly-regarded college signal caller in NFL Draft circles since at least Peyton Manning in 1998. So far this fall the 6-4, 235 pound redshirt-junior has done nothing to dispel that reputation, leading Stanford to a 5-0 start. The son of former West Virginia and NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, Andrew had his top game of the season to this point this past Saturday, completing 26-of-33 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns as Stanford drilled Colorado 48-7. On the year so far, Luck is completing 73.1% of his passes for 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions, and has Stanford up to No. 5 in the latest coaches' poll. Today we take a look back at Luck when he was in high school with an ESPNHS Alumnus of the Week feature.
Andrew Luck was a three-year starter at Stratford High School in Houston, assuming the starting role as a sophomore in 2005 and holding his own at one of the largest high schools in Texas, earning all-district honors as he completed 116 of 229 passes for 1,529 yards and seven TDs while also rushing for 700 yards. Following his sophomore season, Luck attended a Nike Combine in Houston and flashed some of the underrated athleticism that has scouts now drooling over his upside, posting a 35.5-inch vertical jump and 4.48 shuttle at the event.
The next fall as a junior, Luck really came into his own, earning District 19-5A MVP honors as he threw for 2,926 yards and 27 TDs on 176 of 257 passing while rushing for 714 yards and 10 scores, leading Stratford to a 10-2 record. Houston, Baylor and Nebraska were the first to step up with scholarship offers for Luck during the fall of his junior season, and by January of 2007, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Purdue, Northwestern and Duke had also all entered the race.
Luck attended the TCU Elite 11 QB regional camp that April, and after a strong showing at the event, he was the first QB in the Class of 2008 invited to the Elite 11 finals. One of few prospects to ever truly act on words that academics were important to him, Luck showed just how important school was to him when he cut his list to five in early-June, eliminating some national powers like LSU and Nebraska in favor of Purdue, Northwestern, Stanford, Virginia, and Rice. Luck announced Stanford as his choice shortly thereafter on June 30th.
At the Elite 11 finals that July, Luck had a strong showing alongside the other competitors, which included now Jacksonville Jaguar Blaine Gabbert as well as Mike Glennon (NC State), Jacory Harris (Miami), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), E.J. Manuel (FSU), Sean Renfree (Duke) and former Clemson starter and now minor league baseball player Kyle Parker. He was ranked by the college counselors as the runner-up to Gabbert as the MVP of the finals, showing many of the same attributes that have now made him one of college football's most celebrated prospects - intelligence, accuracy, arm strength and the focus and drive to be great and not let outside elements distract or deter him.
Luck led Stratford to a 9-4 mark as senior that fall, completing 196 of 338 passes for 2,684 yards and 19 TDs while rushing for 671 yards and 14 scores, earning second team all-state and various All-American honors and playing in the Army All-American Bowl.
Before signing with the Cardinal, Luck was ranked as high as the No. 4 quarterback in the nation and No. 47 player overall by Scout.com, the No. 4 pro-style QB and No. 68 overall player nationally by Rivals.com, and the No. 7 QB and No. 61 player overall by ESPN Recruiting. He served as the valedictorian of Stratford's graduating class of 2008. Former Ohio State and now Oakland Raider rookie QB Terrelle Pryor was the consensus No. 1 overall player and QB in the Class of 2008.