Kern County fans saw Rashaan Shehee's talent during a spectacular senior season at Foothill High.
But wasn't until his third season at the University of Washington that college football fans saw that talent burst on the scene.
Shehee ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns vs. Notre Dame. He finished his Huskies' career with a school-record average of 5.6 yards per carry.
Two years in the NFL and another in the XFL indoor football league capped Shehee's playing career.
Shehee is being inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame tonight. The 49th annual banquet will be held at the Marriott Hotel on Truxtun Avenue. Tickets are $60 and on sale at the Rabobank Arena box office and Raymond's Trophy, 300 Chester Ave.
Shehee is joined by ex-NFL quarterback David Carr, Dr. Michael Tivnon, amateur golf champion Charles "Lane" Howell and John Owen Miller, Kern County's first Olympian.
Shehee spent two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and started five games in 1999. He was a third-round draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, Shehee called it a "dream come true" when he got a chance to play pro football. But reality turned out to be different.
"It was not what I thought it would be," Shehee said. "The business side took away my love of the sport. ... Once you start making money, other elements are taken into consideration."
Shehee's college career was memorable. He left Washington as the program's record-holder at 5.6 yards per carry.
He was part of a deep crop of running backs at Washington. Several eventually had NFL careers, Shehee said.
Shehee started that game vs. Notre Dame for Leon Neal.
"He had a turf toe injury 3-4 games into the season," Shehee said. "I was just locked in. I didn't think of it being a TV game. I just wanted to do my part. I thought I wouldn't be blamed if we lost and I did well."
As a senior, Shehee helped Washington to a 7-1 start. But a knee injury kept him out of three games. Then he returned and set an Aloha Bowl record with 193 rushing yards in Washington's 51-23 win over Michigan State. Then it was time to prepare for the NFL Draft.
"You set everything aside," he said. "You prepare every day. You watch what you eat. I worked out every day with the University of Washington track team. I lifted every day. And I played as much basketball as possible."
Shehee retired from football after spending a year in the XFL. Then he had to decide what career path to take.
An internship at Merrill Lynch was possible, but then Shehee spoke with Bakersfield High principal David Reese, who was a coach and teacher at Foothill High when Shehee was a student there.
"He always looked out for me," Shehee said. "He said I should come over and try teaching. 'You'd be good at it.'
Shehee now teaches at BHS.
"I gave it a try and I loved it from Day 1. Being able to change someone's life. It's a no-brainer."
Shehee also coached for a few years, for then-Driller football coaches Tim Hartnett and Jason Oliver but he eventually gave that up to spend more time with his family. Now he coaches youth basketball for his son's and daughter's teams.