In 2002, Pierce College cornerback Kamaron Yancy was an all-league senior at Fairfax High School as well as a star guard on the hardwood. After playing in the Cali-Florida Bowl, the future seemed bright for Yancy’s athletic career.
However, after his parents experienced marital difficulties, Yancy felt the need to give up his athletic career and go to work full-time to help provide for his family and younger siblings.
“That’s just the kind of guy Kamaron is,” said Yancy’s father, Charles. “He’s always cared about his family and didn’t just find his identity as an athlete.
In understanding Yancy’s path to Cal, it would be instructive to observe the senior Yancy’s own journey to this stage in life.
Charles Yancy was an All-American quarterback at Fresno State in 1978, working under Detroit Lions coach Mike Martz as well as Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Ericson.
He set records for most touchdown passes in a game with 5 as well as the longest td run from scrimmage for a quarterback at 94 yards. Interestingly, Yancy’s record was tied by Trent Dilfer –under FSU quarterback coach Jeff Tedford.
However, in ’79, Yancy went from All-American quarterback to utility player after a coaching change derailed his career.
As a sidebar, not long after Yancy threw his last pass for the Bulldogs, another standout quarterback took the reigns and excelled as well –a young qb named Jeff Tedford. Tedford and Yancy’s careers overlapped by a year at FSU, which is where Yancy first became acquainted with the current Cal Head Coach.
After the change, Yancy went from a likely mid-round draftee to a free agent signee, where he caught on as a cornerback with the Los Angeles Rams.
Being behind two All-Pro cornerbacks in L.A., the Rams sent Yancy up to the CFL to get more work. When he came back and tried to clear provisional waivers to go back with the Rams, he was picked up by Detroit. However, a player strike ended up costing him his job there as most of the younger players in the league at the time were cut.
Eventually, Yancy caught on with the Oakland Invaders and Pittsburg in the USFL where he finished his career.
Fast forward two decades where Yancy’s son Kamaron overcame difficulties of his own to rejuvenate his athletic career.
After watching his younger brother Kellen receive a scholarship to the University of Houston as a defensive back and receiving a challenge from his father that Kamaron had the athletic ability to excel, even after being out of organized sports for 3 years, Yancy dedicated himself to prepare to play football again, lifting weights and training daily with his father.
“I pushed him hard every day and he responded,” said the senior Yancy. “He went from benching 150 to well over 300. If you see the kid, you’ll know immediately that he’s a powerful package. He’s got a 40 inch vertical, too. He’s just explosive and he covers like a blanket. If you check out his video, you’ll know.”
In 2006, Yancy followed his father to Pierce, where Charles was coaching at the time.
He got back into the flow of things quickly, earning all-league honors at cornerback while not giving up a single touchdown and very few completions on the year while pulling in 5 interceptions.
However, a coaching controversy drove Yancy and many of his teammates from the team following his successful season in ’06 and Yancy dedicated himself to his academics, determined to graduate in a year and a half and sign as a 3 year player in a D1 program. Yancy took on a huge 21 unit courseload this semester and has done well.
His father sent out tapes in the last couple months to a number of programs, where Yancy drew interest from a number of strong programs like Auburn, ASU, USC and Oregon.
ASU seemed to be Yancy’s most likely destination, with Erickson’s connection to the senior Yancy. They all but promised him a scholarship but slow-played him during the process, thinking that he was their secret while continuing to recruit other db’s.
Consider that decision Cal’s gain, as the Bears took one look at Yancy’s highlight tape and jumped at the chance to invite him for an official visit last weekend.
The Bears’ competitors have come on strong lately but Yancy liked what he saw at Cal and made his commitment.
“The real reason I committed to Cal was the academics, I’d say,” said Yancy. “The football program there is good but football’s only going to take you so far. The degree and the credentials it gives you are huge.
“I really liked the coaches and the players at Cal, too,” said Yancy. “I’ve known a lot of people at Cal. My brother and I played Pop Warner with DeSean growing up and I grew up with Joe Shipp and played basketball with him in high school.
“Me and my brother used to take on Joe and Josh (Shipp) all the time. They were big guys so they were hard to beat, not to mention that they could hit from about 30 feet, but we always gave them a game. They’re like another family to us.”
With Junior College early signee National Letter of Intent Day on Wednesday, Yancy will be eligible to sign with the Bears right away. However, as he’s finishing up two online classes, it’s somewhat likely that Yancy will sign within a week or two of signing day then enroll at Cal for the spring semester while having 3 years to play 3.
Look for video highlights of Yancy’s freshman year on the Bear Insider within the next week.
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