May 29, 2006

Jack-of-all-trades getting looks

Football, with its diversity of different roles and positions, is a highly specialized sport, and among young players vying for a chance at the next level there is power in versatility.

David Buehler knows this well. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound jack-of-all-trades at Santa Ana, Calif., College has many options at his choosing as he concludes spring practices, with Division-I programs calling to recruit him at multiple positions. "Some of the smaller schools," he says, "are recruiting me solely as a defensive back; Utah, Nevada, even Michigan State."

Indeed, Buehler turned many heads at safety (and occasionally running back) with bursts of speed and athleticism: Buehler runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, but also led all defensive backs (fifth overall) in shuttle speed at the Palo Alto Nike Training Camp in 2004 as a junior at Anaheim's Canyon High School, a drill that measures lateral speed and change of direction-qualities prized by many coaches and insiders as a better gauge of 'closing speed' and other skills more essential than sprints to the defensive backfield.

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