The best sophomore lineman in the West, or anywhere else for that matter, should be 19-year-old Tackle Ron Yary of USC. "Ron is as good as I've ever seen," says USC Coach John McKay, who has won and lost plenty of good players in the recruiting wars. "If he continues to develop, he'll be fantastic." Yary, who weighs 255 pounds and stands a shade over 6 feet 6, hardly fits the longtime image of the compact, quick Trojan linemen. "But Ron has far better movement than a boy his size and youth should show," says McKay. "He is fast and hard to move out, he's so strong." Yary grew up (indeed, he has not yet stopped growing) in Bellflower, Calif., where he was All-San Gabriel Valley tackle his junior year. "I played fullback as a senior, but I like tackle better," says Yary, who has no idea what his rushing average was. After a semester at Cerritos (Junior) College, where he returned to the line and made All-Metropolitan Conference tackle, Yary transferred to USC last February. McKay took one look at Yary and immediately made him a first-string defensive tackle.
Butting heads with Yary when Washington plays USC this fall will be 6-foot-3, 235-pound Bob Richardson, another swift sophomore tackle. Two-time All-State at Kailua High in Oahua, Hawaii, Richardson had his pick of just about any major college in the U.S. A Seattle boy before his family moved to the Islands, Richardson chose Washington. The Huskies, in turn, were delighted to give him a scholarship even though they had never seen him play. By the time spring practice ended, Richardson had beaten out a senior letterman for one of the starting offensive-tackle spots. "He played both ways as a frosh," says Freshman Coach Ed Peasley, "but his long suit is his offensive blocking ability."
New Mexico State, which sent Charley Johnson into the pros, has a sophomore quarterback in 19-year-old Sal Olivas, who may make the Aggies forget all about the Cardinals' star. "Olivas compares favorably with Johnson in his first year and is even ahead of him in some areas," says Coach Warren Woodson. High praise indeed for a lad who played quarterback in only a handful of games before this season. At Cathedral High in El Paso, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Olivas was a hard-running fullback, good enough to make the All-Texas team. (He also was all-state in basketball and lettered in baseball.) Cathedral did have a fullback pass play, and in one game Olivas threw 72, 64 and 52 yards for three touchdowns. That was enough for Woodson, who converted Olivas to quarterback. In two freshman games last fall, Olivas completed 16 of 33 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns. This fall he will be the Aggies' No. 1 quarterback.