Subject: Aaron Baltazar RB, East Lake HS Titans (Chula Vista, CA)
Biometrics: 5’ 9”, 190 lbs. 40-speed: unknown.
Interest: Received offers from Cincinnati, San Diego State, and Washington.
When scouting a RB, there’re really three things (on a broad scale) that you’re looking for; Obviously running, but catching and blocking as well. They don’t keep stats on blocking in HS (at least that I can find). And, there doesn’t seem to be a trend on showing film of backs blocking, maybe because it’s not as sexy as the untouched 30 yard TD run.
High school stats can be misleading. There’s the temptation to translate them into college stats. But, averaging 155 yards/game at 8.5 yards/carry and 24 TDs is pretty damn exciting. So, the running thing is a gimmy. However, Baltazar didn’t post many receiving yards; 80 yards and one TD on the season. But when you’re putting up gaudy numbers on the ground (1,855 as a Sr), who has time to catch? When Baltazar got more than 120 yards the Titans were 9-0, and when he didn’t, they were 1-3. So, keeping him on the ground was key to their success. It's too bad they don't kept stats on targets vs. catches, which is more telling than receiving yards. For all we know, he’s a great receiver who caught everything thrown his way. Again…no film on his blocking acumen.
As many standout high school athletes are, Baltazar was a true iron man, playing both ways. As a MLB/Safety he averaged 5 ½ tackles/game.
Film on Baltazar (doesn’t the Czar sound like a natural nickname?) was a bit harder to find. Most of what’s out there is either Baltazar running untouched through massive holes, or playing as a linebacker/safety in what appears to be a nickel position. As a RB, he appears to be a downhill runner with a knack for direction shifts that catch defenders with their hips out of position. There is very little film of him breaking tackles or making the tough yardage gains that great backs feature, not to say he can’t. The film is just not there. I know that people love the long run for a touchdown, and that’s what gets posted on YouTube, but tough yardage is so much more telling.
His film as a nickel was exciting. He has closing speed, but what I noticed most was his apparent ability to cross the field and make tackles that he had no business being in on. When he pulls up into a MLB position, he slides down the line well, shed blockers and makes sound tackles. When he falls back into a safety role, he has good position and closes well on the catch. He didn’t appear to have that punishing tackle that an Iaone or a Jeron Johnson has, but it’s tough with limited film.
It wouldn't be surprising if he sees time at nickel, at least initially, especially with the depth at RB that Boise State will have with Ajai (So), Fields (So), Demas (RFr), and the soon to be Thomas (JC-Jr). Perhaps that’s what Pete and the boys are thinking, but genius is hard to predict. There was this other 5’ 9” RB who saw time at nickel; a certain first-round Pro-Bowler nicknamed the
Muscle Hamster Douggernaut, who turned out pretty well they say. It will be fun to watch the Czar fit into the Boise State system. Playing behind the other backs will make him hungry.