BERKELEY, Calif. - Stanford commit Amir Carlisle has trained with San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Michael Crabtree - and usually keeps up.
Those opportunities are available to the Sunnyvale (Calif.) Kings Academy running back because his father, Duane, is the 49ers head strength and conditioning coach, an invaluable luxury that Carlisle takes full advantage of.
"He's been most definitely an integral part in my performance, actually the most important thing," Carlisle said of his father.
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"Getting in the weight room he knows what he's talking about. In the weight room, he always pushes me and he always has emphasized hard work and dedication and the right mindset."
Carlisle is a compact and chiseled 5-foot-10, 175-pound running back, the type of player who looks like his father runs an NFL team's strength and conditioning workouts. By being around pro players and being inside locker rooms, too, it helps Carlisle understand even more than most what it takes to achieve that level of success.
"One of the things I've always tried to do with Amir is expose him to everything that I'm exposed to given that he has such a passion for playing football," Duane Carlisle said.
"He has always been in the presence of when I've been training guys from the time when we lived in Philadelphia, he'd be there working out with Brian Westbrook, to being out here where he's on the sidelines at our home games.
"He's in the locker room before the game. He gets a good feel and sense for what it's like before the game, how guys get prepared for a game. He's trained with Frank Gore. He's trained with Crabtree. So I've always exposed him to as many things as I could."
Carlisle said: "It's an honor working with those guys. Just going against someone who's at the highest level, it brings my level up and makes me better. I really appreciate that."
A member of the Rivals 250 to watch list, Carlisle did not spend much time with recruiting since he committed to Stanford last June.
Since then things have picked up even more with offers from California and Arizona State. Many other teams are showing interest since Carlisle has established himself as one of the best running backs on the West Coast.
Alabama, Miami, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and Utah are some of the schools that have gotten involved with Carlisle, who attended Cal's recent junior day and said afterward that Stanford is definitely his top choice but that he is open to other schools and will keep his options open.
At this point, it seems Carlisle is more concerned about working out and developing as a player for his senior season - and not constantly focusing on recruiting.
Carlisle said it was a blessing to get his recruitment out of the way early. He's focused on improving on the field and in the weight room - and there are few people better than his father to get him prepared for what comes next.
"Amir's always been grounded, that's just his nature," Duane Carlisle said. "That's how we're raising him. He's always been grounded. That's never been an issue. The thing it does for him is it makes him realize he's as talented physically as some of those guys.
"When he works out with Crabtree he's running right alongside him or he works out with Gore and he realizes he can do some of the same things physically. That's really helped his self-confidence knowing he has gifts and he can handle it."