Posted: Aug 14, 2012 1:31 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Aug 14, 2012 10:08 PM
Former Paso Robles High standout Elias Stokes is impressing Cal Poly football coaches in the first week and a half of the preseason. The 5-11, 165 pound true freshman is playing slotback in camp with the Mustangs.
"It's a whole new level out here. These guys are the real deal out here. It's been eye-opening out here being a freshman coming from high school. It's been a big jump," said Stokes, who also credited the seniors and older teammates for helping push him everyday in practice.
Stokes says his welcome to college football moment came when he was running on the scout team and took hits from Alex Hubbard and Vante-Smith Johnson on one play. "They laid down the law. They completely stopped me in my tracks and just blew me up," said a smiling Stokes.
While the fast pace of college football has opened Stokes' eyes, his play has impressed Cal Poly coaches, including head coach Tim Walsh.
"He has come in with a tremendous attitude. We really feel athletically, he shines. He's done some things that have opened our eyes. I really think of the whole recruiting class, we think it was a great one, he could be a shining star in the that if he continues to grow and continues to improve," said the Mustangs' fourth year head coach Tim Walsh, who added that Stokes has been the biggest surprise out of the incoming recruits.
Ideally, Walsh said coaches would like to redshirt Stokes this fall to preserve his four years of eligibility. However, he says there is a chance if Stokes continues to shine in camp he could suit up this season for the Mustangs as a true freshman.
Stokes finished his junior year with the Bearcats with 61 catches for 1,001 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added 35 carries for 246 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns and avareged 32 yards per kick return. Stokes finished the season with 28 touchdowns and earned Pac 7 League MVP honors for the league champion Bearcats. His senior year, Stokes played quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback for the 3-7 Bearcats.
The Mustangs open the season September 1 in Alex G. Spanos Stadium at 4:05pm against Righetti High graduate Matt Miller and the University of San Diego.
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