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The Graves situation

Former Whitney High football star Zack Graves will spend season on the sideline at Sierra College
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Former Whitney High running back Zack Graves has decided to red-shirt this season while attending Sierra College. Graves, who had a record-setting career for the Wildcats, will still workout and practice with the Wolverines. He just won’t play in games. “The Sierra coach (head coach Jeff Tisdel) contacted me a while back and said that if I didn’t get what I wanted (offers) from other schools, that he would do whatever he could to get me into a better school (after leaving Sierra),” Graves said. “And that he has a couple good backs there and he was going to be loyal and give them the playing time they deserve this year. And he told me to sit out a year and then he would give me a chance to start after that.” Sierra sophomores CJ Woodbury (Foothill High) and Deonte Williams (Pleasant Grove) are expected to be the primary running backs for Sierra this season. Graves, who graduated from Whitney in June, says Sacramento State and Idaho State were among the schools that showed interest in him, but that he didn’t receive any scholarship offers. “I was a little late on taking my SATs and I couldn’t give (schools) my SAT scores. And they couldn’t do anything else until they knew that I had good enough scores,” said Graves about why he didn’t get any offers. “And my size, they see 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, that’s a big part of (the lack of offers) too.” Graves is committed to red-shirting this season and he doesn’t expect any school to show too much interest in him before he starts playing in games for the Wolverines. “I’m just settling into this plan, I don’t know how I would get any get any looks if I’m not getting any playing time,” Graves said. “I am practicing and working out with the team and learning the plays.” Full-pad practices began Wednesday for Sierra. “It’s going to be hard sitting out a whole year and sitting on the sidelines,” Graves said. Graves lack of size certainly didn’t stop him from being a dominant running back in high school. He scored 40 touchdowns while helping Whitney to a section championship and an undefeated season (13-0) as a senior. Graves ran the ball 318 times for 2,783 yards and 39 touchdowns while catching seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in the championship season. He also completed 7-of-8 passes for 63 yards and five touchdowns. He led the Wildcats offense as a junior as well, helping them reach the section finals. “My junior year we made it to section and I (rushed for) about 1,800 yards and 27 touchdowns or something and everybody was telling that it will be harder (senior year) because (opponents) all know about you,” Graves said. “And it surprised me, what we were able to do and how we dominated other teams.”