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SRV’s Salisbury strives to be No. 1

Tanner Salisbury competes at The Opening on Nov. 14, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Tanner Salisbury competes at The Opening on Nov. 14, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

San Ramon Valley junior athlete Tanner Salisbury is ultra competitive in everything he does.

Salisbury, a receiver and linebacker for the Wolves’ varsity football team, is competitive with himself. He always works to be the best. He always strives to be the best. He wants to win pickup games with his friends. He wants to have the best grades possible.

And Salisbury has etched his name into one of the premier high schoolers in Northern California through his first two-plus years at SRV.

“I really want to do good,” Salisbury said. “I’m just a really competitive person. I like being the best, so whenever I can show that I’m the best or prove I’m the best, that’s what motivates me.”

His early days on the football field indicated just how successful he would eventually become.

Playing sixth grade football on Monte Vista’s field, Salisbury and Jack Quigley – SRV’s junior quarterback who holds a Division I offer from William & Mary – connected on a deep pass fon Salisbury’s first play of the day for 40 yards when Salisbury made the spectacular grab on his opponent.

A star was born, and he has never looked back since.

“That’s kind of when I knew that I wanted to do football, and I started liking football more than baseball, which was my other sport,” Salisbury said. “I quit that going into high school. That’s when I realized I wanted to make something out of football and play at a high level.”

In his first season of varsity football as a sophomore, Salisbury immediately contributed on one of the East Bay’s top squads. He finished with 249 receiving yards and three touchdowns at receiver, also shining defensively for a unit that allowed just 21.2 points per game and held three of 11 teams to a single-digit scoring total.

SRV ended up with a 7-4 overall record and tied with Monte Vista for second place in a loaded East Bay Athletic League Mountain division, earning a trip to the North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals.

Amidst that playoff stretch, Salisbury received a call from William & Mary – his first offer to play collegiately.

“When I got that first offer it was kind of surreal,” Salisbury said. “It was still during the playoffs of last season, and I remember I was at 24 Hour Fitness just working out with some friends and got the call. I’ll always remember it. I was beyond happy, and after that people started following me on Twitter more. People started talking more, and the recruiting process kind of started to begin with.”

Florida Atlantic became offer No. 2 in August while Fresno State offered him last week, and Salisbury said he has been in contact with more schools recently

Cal, Colorado, Utah and Yale have all expressed interest in Salisbury, whose accomplishments in the classroom have also led to a GPA around a 3.95 and 4.0, and with the amount of AP classes he’s currently enrolled in, that number should bump up to around a 4.1 or a 4.2.

“I’d say the main thing I’m really successful in the classroom is my dad,” Salisbury said. “He’s always pushed me in school a lot. I like just being competitive. I don’t want to do bad. I always want to do good. I would say my dad and just being competitive is the main reason I have good grades. I’m somewhat just smart to begin with, so it comes pretty easy.”

Salisbury has bolstered his stock over the offseason.

His 40-yard dash time has improved from the 4.75-4.8 range to being in the 4.6 range, and now he’s cleaning 270 pounds compared to 225 last year and squatting 420 pounds after squatting 315 pounds a year ago.

All of that was on display at The Opening at Vacaville Christian on Nov. 14, when Salisbury ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash and came away with the No. 10 overall rating at the event (101.62).

“This offseason is going pretty good,” Salisbury said. “With COVID and everything going on, I’d say I’ve made the best out of it. I’ve been working out at Cal Strength, lifting and working and getting bigger. I’ve also been doing a lot of speed work and 40-yard dash training and top end speed in general with people at Cal Strength and Derek Davis from Malu, my 7 on 7 team, so that’s been pretty much the gist of what I’ve been working on.”

Now, ahead of the upcoming campaign, Salisbury believes San Ramon Valley has what it takes to go all the way, and he’s aiming for the greatest heights with his Wolves teammates.

“My goal for the team if we have a season is to win state because I think we really should be able to do that,” Salisbury said. “And some goals for myself are probably like 12 touchdowns, a good amount of tackles, an interception, put out some good film, be a good team leader and lead our team to state. Those are the biggest goals.”

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