#20, Tanner Vallejo, Sophomore, LB
Weight: 228 lbs
High School: Nevada Union High School, Grass Valley, CA
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Vallejo was a highly-touted recruit out of Nevada Union High School and considered by many to be one of the true gems of the 2013 recruiting class. Nevada Union finished 2012 with a 5-6 record. Not that impressive until you consider the Sierra Foothill League is stacked and includes Rocklin High (alma mater of TE Holden Huff and former QB Jimmy Laughrea) and Granite Bay High, 2012 CIF Division I State Champion.
The three-star recruit has be filling up the stat sheet since his sophomore year, recording 132 tackles, two sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery and then following that up with 158 tackles, two sacks, an interception, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his junior campaign. As a senior, he notched 129 tackles (11.7 per game!?!?!), an interception, a sack, and two forced fumbles. A step back in production, wouldn't you say? Hardly, he was just needed on the other side of the ball, accounting for 414 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
The Broncos definitely got a good one in Vallejo who turned down offers from Arizona, Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV, and Washington State.
His hits are measured by Nielsen Ratings.
Played in 11 games for the Broncos in 2013 as a true frosh—including six starts. Four-year letterwinner who, as a sophomore, earned first-team All-Sierra Foothill League honors, in addition to first-team all-metro and first-team All-Sac-Joaquin Section accolades. As a junior, he was named league's most valuable player and again garnered first-team all-metro, Sac-Joaquin Section First Team and second-team all-state honors. For his senior year, he earned a second-straight Sierra Foothill League Defensive Most Valuable Player honor along with second-team all-state, first-team All-SFL, first-team All-Sac-Joaquin Section, all-metro and a MaxPreps All-American.
It was a pretty commonly held belief prior to last season that Vallejo was destined to redshirt and that we'd all be getting our first real glimpse of him during 2014 Spring and Fall camp. Well, that belief was way wrong...and I couldn't be happier about it. Vallejo's redshirt was summarily burned in the second game of 2013 (the laughable UT-Martin game) and Vallejo just got better and better as the season wore on—eventually becoming the starter for six of the last seven contests. Vallejo's 51 tackles (5.5 for loss) and half a sack were numbers we might have expected from a redshirt of Vallejo's caliber, but only after he'd spent a year and a half learning the playbook and studying film. Vallejo "got it" early, and seriously raised the expectation bar for his sophomore campaign. And this isn't undue pressure on the true sophomore— Vallejo himself said last season's outing was merely "average" —and he has no intention of being "average" in 2014.
According to the pre-camp depth chart, Vallejo and Blake Renaud are the co-starters at linebacker—an arrangement that may stand or may change on a game-by-game basis. Either way, Vallejo is going to see action in each and every game this season and barring injury, should easily surpass last year's numbers (which I didn't find to be "average" in the least, by the way). I usually get in trouble playing the prediction game, but I see Vallejo getting more into 2013 Ben Weaver numbers this season (Weaver had 89 tackles in 12 games), and making a few more highlight reel hits like this hammer he dropped against Air Force.
Completely made up fact
Vallejo, CA is about 2 hours southwest of Grass Valley, CA. When Tanner arrives he is forced to wear a commemorative sash and hold the town sceptre (which his family was given in 1914).