Cameron Birse turned down Christmas presents so he could save money for football camps leading up to his senior season.
That's how focused the Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley pro-style quarterback is on earning scholarships especially since he didn't get to play much during his junior season because he backed up four-star Zach Kline, who signed with Cal.
It was difficult standing on the sidelines as college recruiters fawned over quarterbacks across the country but it was also a learning experience for Birse, a 6-foot-3, 204-pound quarterback who said he's thrilled for this off-season.
"It's been my No. 1 dream and my No. 1 goal ever since I started playing and I'm willing to sacrifice anything to get to where I want to be," Birse said.
"It was such a blessing. I could've transferred to four or five schools and started as a sophomore and probably had 5-10 offers by now. I weighed out the pros and cons and I really tried to take it with the best attitude I could.
"Every position, every quarterback, you're going to have to sit behind someone in your career in high school, in college or the NFL. At some point in your career unless you're Cam Newton, even he had to sit behind Tim Tebow at Florida. Every single person has to go through that. I took it with the best attitude I could."
Having Kline on the team actually helped Birse's recruiting in ways as well. When coaches would stop by to watch Kline throw they noticed the anonymous backup quarterback doing well, too.
Once, a few years, back, Cal assistant coach Andy Ludwig, now at San Diego State, thought Birse was Kline all practice. It was a funny moment for sure but Kline was working out somewhere else.
"A few colleges would come through looking for Zach and then I'd be throwing right next to him and they'd say, 'Who is this kid?'" Birse said.
"Cal came by during my freshman year to look at Zach and Zach was at varsity lacrosse and their coach, Andy Ludwig, was watching me thinking I was Zach the whole practice. I took off my helmet and he didn't know who I was."
Because he didn't have much junior film, Birse said recruiting is slow but has actually picked up some since his solid showing at the U.S. Army National Combine.
Colorado is showing the most interest and he said Vanderbilt, Duke, Northwestern and others are involved as well. UCLA had been talking a lot with Birse but that has slowed down since the Bruins received a commitment from 2013 quarterback Eddie Printz.
This off-season Birse will attend some national camps but wants to focus on working out at college camps so he could get more noticed by the coaches. Saving money over the holidays was a crucial first step. Throwing for college coaches over the coming months is next for him.
"I don't have that junior highlight tape that they all need to offer," Birse said. "They've all seen me throw and they like what they see. They want to see me in a game or two and make sure it's legit in a varsity game."