Rio Mesa playmaker eager to build off dazzling junior campaign

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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Tanner Wrout, a senior-to-be at Rio Mesa High, plays fullback and linebacker for the Spartan football squad. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers

Tanner Wrout had a breakout season in 2010.

He’s ready for an encore.

The incoming senior fullback and middle linebacker for the Rio Mesa High football team is a force of nature on the gridiron.

He can run over opponents with the might of Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis or breeze by foes with the fleet feet of Detroit Lions jitterbug Jahvid Best.

On defense, he plugs gaps at the line of scrimmage.

“He helps our team a lot on offense and defense,” said senior running back/ defensive back Jordan Nunnery.

Last fall, Wrout gleaned 1,151 rushing yards on 125 carries for a blistering 9.2 yards per tote. He added 12 total touchdowns.

He had 76 tackles and five sacks on defense.

Wrout has progressed this summer during 7-on-7 passing tournaments and in team workouts. He said he’s worked hard in the weight room, building strength and speed.

“He’s bulked up a bit and kept his speed,” said Rio Mesa head coach Bob Gregorchuk. “He’s maybe gotten faster. He’s working hard to set goals and trying to be a team leader.”

Gregorchuk said Wrout eagerly jumped in to help on scout team this summer, even when nothing was asked of him.

“He’s not a prima donna,” the coach said. “He was always looking to help the team.”

Wrout, who is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, was part of a devastating rushing combo with Nunnery for the co-Pacific View League champions.

The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Nunnery rushed for 1,188 yards and 12 total scores last season.

Nunnery is lightning to Wrout’s thunder.

“He has more power,” Nunnery said of Wrout. “But he’s athletic and he can juke defenders. He’s cool to hang out with. We get along really well. I’m glad to play with him.”

The feeling is mutual.

“He’s the quick scat back,” Wrout said of his teammate. “It’s hard to focus on one back. We’re two backs who rushed for more than 1,000 yards each. Teams will look at us and won’t know who to key on. One game he’ll have 200 yards and a bunch of touchdowns. The next game, I’ll do it.

“He takes pressure off me.”

Wrout, 17, is looking forward to the upcoming season.

The two-way standout heaped praise on three quarterbacks still competing for a starting gig and the offensive linemen, who won a tug-of-war against Westlake’s hogs at the Spartans’ linemen tournament.

“ We’re determined to do well,” Wrout said. “Our offensive line has a bunch of determined guys. They want to have a really good year. I couldn’t do it without those guys. I love my line. . . .

“We really want to go far this year. We want to win an outright league title. Going undefeated in the whole regular season is not out of the question. We have skill and determination. If we play the way we’re supposed to, I think this team could beat anyone (on our schedule). That’s a lot to say. But I think our team is well put together.”

Wrout is a multisport standout.

He mans small forward in basketball. In track and field, he competes in the 100-meter dash, 200, shot put, discus and sprint relays.

This Spartan is no meathead. He’s an intelligent, polite studentathlete.

An honors student with a 4.2 grade-point average, Wrout has discussed his future playing career with football coaches at Cornell and Harvard. If he doesn’t go the Ivy League route, he hopes to earn a Division I scholarship.

“I have to thank my parents. Both are teachers here,” Wrout said. “They push me hard to do my best in sports and school. I want to thank them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.”

His father, Jeff, is a math teacher who also coaches the school’s track and cross country squads. Lori Wrout is an English teacher who coordinates Rio Mesa’s International Baccalaureate program.

Wrout’s younger brother, Cameron, is an incoming RMHS freshman quarterback.

“He’s a beast,” Wrout said of his brother. “He’s a great student and a great kid.”

The Spartan can’t wait for the Sept. 9 season and home opener against San Marcos.

“I’m excited for this year,” Wrout said.

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