Cousins Lead Rize Up at Passing Down
by Lorenzo Reyna
Cousins Jamire Calvin and Elijah Gates were big time dreamers growing up in Pasadena, Calif. before they became two of the most wanted college football recruits in Southern California.
Both lived near the thunderous roar of the Rose Bowl that resonated throughout the city on fall weekends. They would spend their down time idolizing city prep stars and Passing Down alums David Long and DeSean Holmes, with the hope they would follow in their footsteps.
Now, Calvin and Gates are the latest prep stars from “The ‘Dena,” proven by their combined 37 reported scholarship offers.
Both recently returned to Passing Down on March 20 to show the Southern Californian slate how they stack up - plus show why they’re the most coveted cousins in the state.
For Calvin, who holds 25 reported offers and stars at Los Angeles-Cathedral, he calls the recruiting process for both him and his cousin a blessing.
“It kind of trips me out, but it’s a cool thing [to have these offers],” Calvin said.
Added the Buena Park High stud Gates: “We’ve been working our whole life for this moment.”
Both Class of 2017 prospects showed their dual capabilities at the Ralph Lewis Sports Park in Fontana. Calvin was an end zone machine for his team Rize Up and helped control his territory when called upon on defense. Gates provided some clutch catches and put the clamps on opposing wide receivers at cornerback.
Calvin said they’ve picked their game up from watching those past ‘Dena standouts.
“Growing up, we saw a lot of competition. A lot of great stars come out of Pasadena. Guys like Long and Holmes,” Calvin said. “We grew up with them and competed with them. They were like our older brothers. We go out and got better with them. We were always the younger guys who looked up to them to get better.”
Now, Calvin and Gates look like mirror images of the Michigan commit Long and former San Diego State pledge Holmes. The latest City of Roses embodiments are known for burning defensive backs deep, returning kicks for the long gain and locking their territories up on defense.
Calvin is currently projected to play receiver at the next level. Some of the colleges currently hunting him down are Maryland, Penn State, Colorado, Nebraska and Tennessee. Gates has been mainly recruited to play cornerback; UCLA and Oregon are two teams that like his defensive game.
Both players said they rarely go against each other in practice. But when they do, both are good about bringing out the best in one another.
“Going against him [Gates] means I’m going against one of the top DB’s,” Calvin said. “It’s a great way to improve your craft. He’s a lockdown corner. It’s as simple as that. Not a lot of people can get past him. He’s proven it himself.”
Gates’ scouting report on Calvin was: “He’s smooth with his routes. Has great hands. Also has a high IQ for the game. He’s one of the great receivers. He pushes me to be better.”
Their other inspiration comes from their big cousin who recently won an NFC title: Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers, who also competed at PD before moving on to Washington and then Charlotte.
“It’s great to look up to someone like that,” Calvin said. “He went to the Division I level and now he’s in the NFL. It’s great to look up to him.”
Gates said: “We try to play just like him; and that’s being a dog on the field.”
Both heralded recruits have no timetable for when they’ll make their college choice. Calvin and Gates want to take in some visits before making a decision.
Any possibility both will play for the same university?
“Hopefully we do end up at the same school. We don’t know which,” Gates said, laughing.
For now, Calvin and Gates already know their place in their hometown’s lore: they’ve become the latest in a long assembly line of talented athletes from the L.A. County city.
“It’s a blessing for us to be on that list of great athletes from Pasadena,” Gates said.