Fred Riley couldn't lie. He never saw it coming. Nobody could, he said.
The Davidson (Mobile, Ala.)
football coach couldn't be happier that he didn't have the foresight to know that two of his players off the 2009 Warriors would not only wind up in the NFL, but on the same team — the San Francisco 49ers.
And, playing in the same defensive backfield.
According to this fine story at Canyon News
, former Davidson teammates Jimmie Ward
and Jaquiski Tartt
were unlikely NFL hopefuls individually, let alone collectively.
Ward, a 5-foot-11, 193-pound strong safety out of Northern Illinois, weighed 165 points in high school. Make no mistake, he was productive with 101 tackles, eight pass deflections, an interception, three sacks, three blocked kids and two forced fumbles. But because of his size, he didn't get any big offers.
He was a first-round pick in the draft (No. 30 overall) in 2014.
Tartt, a 6-1, 218-pound safety out of Samford, played only one year of high school football. His main focus was as a basketball standout. Tartt was a second-round pick of the 49ers (pick No. 46) and reunited with Ward two weeks ago.
The dynamic duo helped the Warriors to an 11-3 record their senior seasons.
Tartt told reporters on a conference call that he was "ecstatic" when he learned he was reunited with Ward.
"I prayed to God to put me in the right spot, and he came through for me. I ended up on a team with my best friend."
Riley told the Canyon News "You just can't predict that. You knew wherever they went they were going to work hard and you also knew they could play at a higher level than what they signed. They both could have been great players in the SEC. You knew they were really going to stand out wherever they went. But is that going to be good enough to get them in the Senior Bowl and make them both millionaires? I couldn't make that call. Not at all."
Riley had some fantastic squads from 2008-10, going 36-8. The last two seasons, the Warriors are a combined 8-12-1.