While the Miami Heat was building its Big 3 in the summer of 2010, the Butler (Matthews, N.C.) football program was getting set to unleash its own Big 3 in hopes of repeating as Class 4AA champs. On offense, there were sophomores Riley Ferguson at quarterback and Uriah LeMay at wideout while sophomore linebacker Peter Kalambayi helped anchor a strong defense.
Kalambayi stood out because he was one of just three players in his class to skip JV and play varsity as a freshman. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder hasn't disappointed in his three years, pushing the Bulldogs to a second straight title in 2011, posting 80 tackles and six sacks in just eight games last season and earning the No. 300 spot in the ESPN 300.
But while Kalambayi has done most of his damage on the east coast, he will soon be well acquainted with the west. During a visit earlier this month to Stanford, the senior committed to the Cardinal and in July, he'll join 150 of the nation's top recruits at The Opening. It's time to Get Familiar with Peter Kalambayi.
ESPNHS: After participating in NFTC camps the last three years, what was it like to get invited to The Opening and join 149 of the nation's top players?
Kalambayi: I've been working hard all these years and I knew what I had to do, so it was great to have that work recognized and get invited to The Opening.
ESPNHS: What are you hoping to prove while you're at The Opening?
Kalambayi: What a lot of people don't know is how fast I am, so I'm looking forward to working with and competing against some other fast guys to show I can play with them. I want to get a good 40 time in the SPARQ competition. I've been timed at 4.47, but it'd be nice to have a good time officially in the books there.
ESPNHS: Based on your goals for your upcoming senior season, in what ways will being at The Opening help?
Kalambayi: It will help a lot, especially with my coverage skills, which I want to improve. I'll be going against some great guys there and I'll be able to take what I learn at The Opening into the season and adapt it to our defense.
ESPNHS: You won state titles in your first two years of high school along with 31 straight games at one point, so how hard was it to endure your first two varsity losses to begin and end last season?
Kalambayi: It's terrible and it puts you in a bad mood. I'm still in a bad mood about it, really, because I'm just not used to losing. Even in eighth grade, my team didn't lose a game, so last year was my first loss in about five years. In my mind, last year was a failure because we didn't win the state championship and if we don't win this year, it will be another failure because that's what we play for — to win state championships.
ESPNHS: You just came off a spring season where you competed in the shot put and discus. When did you start competing in that and how does it affect your play on the football field?
Kalambayi: I started in eighth grade and competing in those events definitely helps with football. You have to be very coordinated to do the discus and shot put, so it helps with my footwork and agility on the football field.
School: Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
Food: Fried Chicken
Movie: "2 Fast 2 Furious"
School subject: History
Athlete: Bo Jackson
Team: Philadelphia Eagles