AGOSTINI: Patriots keeping eye on Sudfeld

ragostini@modbee.comAugust 9, 2013 

    alternate textRon Agostini
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: Sports
    Bio: Ron Agostini has served as a sports reporter and columnist for The Bee for more than 35 years. His stories and columns have won state-wide, regional and national awards and he's a board director and past president of the California Golf Writers and Broadcasters Association. He's a graduate of Fresno State.
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Reading time, two minutes:

• Tight end Zach Sudfeld (Modesto Christian), to the unaware, was the longshot of all longshots to make the New England Patriots roster. Today, he's virtually a lock.

• What changed? Maybe it was that 1-handed touchdown catch that caught Tom Brady's attention in camp.

• Or the fact he's 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds with decent speed and athleticism.

• Or that Sudfeld was an injury-slowed sixth-year senior at Nevada who finally arrived in 2012 with eight touchdown catches.

• Some have called Sudfeld "Baby Gronk" for injured Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. High praise for anyone, much less an undrafted free agent.

• Sudfeld accounted for one first-half reception for 22 yards during New England's 31-22 win over Philadelphia Friday night.

• Coach Bill Belichick again has reached into our neck of the woods for diamond-in-the-rough talent. His first foray worked better than OK: Veteran all-pro offensive lineman Logan Mankins (Mariposa, Fresno State).

• The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick (Pitman), new receiver Anquan Boldin and first-round draft pick Eric Reid all looked good after one preseason game. That's a decent place to start.

• A 49er red flag: Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins can't hold onto the ball.

• Worse for him: A small army of wide receivers plotting to grab his roster spot.

• If I'm Raider QB Matt Flynn, I feel Terrelle Pryor gaining on me.

• Overheard this week from a vendor at AT&T Park: "Panda Hats! 50 percent off!"

• Here's how Tim Lincecum would be heralded by his new team next year: "He's a two-time Cy Young Award winner and a two-time world champion who regained his form and pitched a no-hitter last year."

• Which is exactly why the Giants should sign him.

• Sober fact: Newspapers used to buy ballclubs. It's vice-versa today.

• When you give up zero unearned runs and allow one intentional walk, you win 15 straight on the road: The Dodgers.

• This week's suspension of Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, combined with the non-suspension of Bartolo Colon, should be enough for the A's in the AL West.

• I guess Josh Reddick's three-homer game will silence those "Send him to Sacramento" critics.

• Tiger Woods' confidence in majors returns when (1) the greens are sidewalk-slick, (2) the flagstick is located on the right side of the green (3) Lindsey Vonn is in the gallery and (4) Jupiter aligns with Mars.

• The Modesto Junior College Pirates open preseason camp with about 100 prospects reporting next Thursday. Top priority: Improving from last year's 4-6.

• The New Balance Area Code Baseball Games, finishing today at historic Blair Field in Long Beach, feature three local stars for Northern California's "Oakland Athletics": Austin Bush and Brett Cumberland of Turlock, and Bryce Dyrda of Oakdale.

• The Modesto Nuts' newcomer who must be seen by season's end: Jon Gray and his 100-mph fastball.

• Sounds like Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is available for autographs — for the right price.

• ESPN's "College GameDay" has been expanded to three hours. For college football fans, heaven.

• Nate Sudfeld (Modesto Christian), Zach's brother, tossed seven touchdown passes last fall as a freshman at Indiana.

• Why do I think the Sudfeld family will log a truckload of frequent-flyer mileage this fall?

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter @modbeesports.

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