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November 18, 2005

He's already got it

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Some times it's easy to spot greatness even when it's in its infancy. That's the case wit Anaheim Servite sophomore receiver D.J. Shoemate. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has put up monster numbers this season and his coach said by the time he's a senior, he could be one of the nation's best receivers.

"I have little doubt that by the time he gets into his senior season, D.J. will be one of your highest ranked kids at receiver," Servite coach Troy Thomas said. "He's such a hard worker. He's doing well academically, and on the field he's amazing.

"He runs good routes, has great hands and he comes to play in big games. He had 165 yards rushing against Mater Dei, and when he's at receiver he's already drawing double-teams. He's going to be a monster by the time he's a senior when he develops more physically and improves his game."

But it's not like he's too shabby at either now.

Shoemate is a very well put together sophomore. He already stands at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, and he said he's been clocked as fast as 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. With a lean frame and great muscle mass, it's going to amazing to think of what he's like as a senior.

So how much better will he be?

"College-bound better," he said with a smile. "It's always been my dream to go to college and play in front of thousands of people and in front of people that believe in you. I'm going to keep working hard to make sure that I reach those dreams.

"I have a lot that I can work on to improve, and coach will keep me working on those things. I don't want to be satisfied with being good. I want to be great."

This season he has put up some pretty amazing stats. Through the regular season he rushed 49 times for 464 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 35 passes for 646 yards and five touchdowns. Heck, he's even completed one pass.

He also has the ability to come through in the clutch. In an overtime game earlier this season, Shoemate became the Friar's go-to-guy, as he caught three consecutive passes and won the game with a touchdown grab.

"That game kind of made us step back and go 'wow this kid is special,' " Thomas said.

Shoemate relished the opportunity.

"Everybody kept calling me Mr. Cluth," he said. "I feel when it comes down to making the big play, I can get the job done. I don't know try stress about the big plays coming to me. I just try to take it as a regular catch and stay mellow. That way I know I can get the job done."

Shoemate said he's excited about his future, and he knows soon enough the colleges will start to contact him. He's not thought too much about favorites at this point, but you can count on Pac 10 teams like USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona and many others to jump on him early.

"He's going to have plenty of opportunities," Thomas said. "He'll be heavily recruited if he stays on track, and I have no doubt he will. You can already see it now with D.J. He's got it."


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