OAKLEY, Calif. —
It's four days until the Super Bowl and Colin Kaepernick is everywhere.
Look anywhere on the TV and Internet, listen on the radio or in lunch rooms, and Kaepernick lives.
Though he's definitely in New Orleans right now, many have reported sightings in Oakley, located on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area.
That is where Freedom (Oakley, Calif.)
senior Dante Mayes
has attended school the last 3.5 years and starred on the varsity football team as a quarterback. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound standout is considered a young lookalike of Kaepernick — dark features, light brown skin and a lanky wiry frame.
His senior statistics are also eerily similar to Kaepernick, having thrown for 2,487 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions for the 9-3 Falcons.
Kaepernick threw for 1,954 yards, 25 TDs and threw six interceptions.
Freedom is only about 70 miles southwest of Pitman (Turlock, Calif.)
, where Kaepernick attended high school.
And, the most eerie parallel of all — two weeks ago Mayes committed to Nevada, Kaepernick's alma mater.
Could it be Kaepernick cloning?
"It's sort of uncanny," Freedom coach Kevin Hartwig said with a laugh Wednesday. "It's just one of those things. They look alike and have similar bodies. I don't think the personalities are quite the same though."
See a mugshot of Dante Mayes
Mayes is extremely reserved and attempts to stay out of the limelight. He didn't really want his commitment announced, Hartwig said, and he's yet to respond to this interview request.
But he's as respectful as they come, another Kaepernick trait. Mayes doesn't share in the 49ers' allegiance — he's actually a St. Louis Rams fan — and he doesn't sport a single tattoo.
"He's a really well-rounded kid and comes from a great family," Hartwig said. "He'll be very successful in football and in life."
That sounds like more Kaepernick talk.
Like Kaepernick, Mayes' recruitment wasn't overwhelming. He had offers from small schools like Humboldt State, Sacramento State and Big Sky Conference schools. San Jose State got into the mix and finally when he took an official
trip to Nevada two weeks ago, the Wolf Pack offered and Mayes accepted
right on the spot.
"Dante attended a couple camps up there and Nevada has been interested and hanging around all season," Hartwig said. "I think Dante was just waiting for them to make the offer. Once they did, he jumped on it."
Mayes won't play for the same coach as Kaepernick at Nevada, as 28-year coach Chris Ault stepped down in December. But new coach Brian Polian, a former Stanford assistant under now-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, plans to run the same pistol zone-read offense.
Like Kaepernick, Mayes was a three-year starter for Freedom and started at a scrawny 155 pounds. He gained 25 pounds of muscle and he's almost now 6-3, an inch or two shorter than Kaepernick when he graduated from high school.
Also fleet, Mayes was a very good runner in Freedom's zone-read attack. He rushed for 319 yards and three touchdowns, much better than Kaepernick and his senior year total of minus-21 yards.
"Dante just got better and better every year," Hartwig said. "His greatest improvement was managing the game."
Mayes will likely need to manage plenty of questions about Kaepernick over the next four to five years at Nevada.
"He can handle it," Hartwig said. "He's managed a lot while he was here."
So it appears Mayes will be following a remarkably similar path set by Kaepernick.
We'll see if it leads him to New Orleans.