Whoever takes over the No. 1 receiver role for the Santa Ynez football team has some big shoes to fill.
Santa Ynez senior Jasper Kadlec, who starred at receiver for the Pirates for the past three seasons, is taking his game—and his size 15 shoes—to San Diego State.
Kadlec will be attending SDSU in the fall as a preferred walk-on for the Aztec football team. Kadlec had been undecided about the prospect of football in his future, but the possibility of playing for San Diego State swayed him to continue his gridiron career.
"It's been an up-and-down journey," Kadlec said inside Santa Ynez High's administration building, where a ceremony was held Tuesday to honor Kadlec's commitment to San Diego State. "I had like 27 different plans of what I was going to do. It was playing football, then not playing football, and then getting this opportunity was a blessing."
Kadlec, who also carries a 4.30 grade-point average, plans on majoring in Design at SDSU in hopes of becoming a footwear designer. Kadlec says his goal is to give those with big feet like himself a stylish sneaker option.
Santa Ynez senior Jasper Kadlec will attend San Diego State and try to make the football team as a preferred walk-on at receiver. Interesting note: the 6-foot-4 wideout has a 4.30 GPA and wants to become a shoe designer. #santamariatimes pic.twitter.com/75YrAorZBg— Joe Bailey (@JBaileySMSports) May 28, 2019
"I want to do shoe design eventually, but graphic design," Kadlec said of his plans for the classroom at San Diego State.
Kadlec says Jordans are his favorite brand of shoe, but he also likes the skate/surf style of Vans.
"I got very big feet so I can't find any type of shoes," Kadlec said. "I was hoping I could start it up for the big-footed people."
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The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Kadlec spent three full seasons on the Santa Ynez varsity football team, starting his sophomore year. He caught a total of 22 touchdown passes in 31 games. In all, Kadlec caught 107 passes for 1,766 yards. He also scored three rushing touchdowns.
"I think we always knew Jasper had the potential to play at the next level," Santa Ynez coach Josh McClurg said. "He's got the frame and the build for it. Just through the maturation process of after his senior year and realizing he wants to continue playing. The sky is the limit for a guy like him. He's got the build, the speed, the tools, the strength. It'll be neat to see him once he gets that next-level coaching."
Kadlec also contributed on the defensive side of the ball at Santa Ynez, making 63 tackles, with 3 1/2 sacks and an interception. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown this past season, leading the the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time in his career.
McClurg said Kadlec was the team MVP in 2018 and feels Kadlec will find his way onto the field at SDSU as a walk-on.
"I don't see why he wouldn't end up in that rotation, fighting for a starting spot," McClurg said. "Like I said, once he gets that next-level coaching and training and starts adapting to the college game."
Kadlec said the most pivotal point in his SYVUHS career came during his freshman season when he was still trying to find his place on the field. Kadlec felt that playing with three different quarterbacks this past season, when Santa Ynez dealt with injuries at the position, forced him to develop as a receiver even more.
"I went through a lot of position switches in my time playing football and that geared me to the right direction," Kadlec said. "I played tight end, D-Line. The switching around, even with our offense when we switched up every single year from passing to run-oriented, and playing with three quarterbacks this past year.
"It was different and I think I enjoyed the diversity of it."