Wolverine linebacker commits to Vandals

MONDAY NIGHT NEWS BROKE ON SCOUT.COM that Bellevue High (Wash.) outside linebacker Elan Richard had made a verbal commitment to head coach Robb Akey and the Idaho Vandals. A Team Captain for the three-time Class 3A State Champs, Richard was an asset to a stingy Wolverine D, and is described as a relentless defender that "plays with great pad level, and sideline-to-sideline is remarkably fast."

PLAYER PROFILE: Elan Richard, 6-2.5, 205, LB

In the state of Washington, there isn't a single high school that dominates it's division anywhere close to the level that the Bellevue Wolverines have dominated the Class 3A division. They've taken the last three state championships in a row. They've won eight of the last 10 Washington state championships. At one time they had one of the longest winning streaks of any team in the country.

And now it appears one of the Wolverines team leaders, outside linebacker and Team Captain Elan Richard (6-2.5, 197), has made a verbal pledge to Robb Akey and Idaho Vandals, and is intent on bringing that winning tradition with him to the Idaho program.

As has been the case for almost all of Idaho's commitments this year, tenacious recruiting and loyalty by the Idaho staff were keys in his decision to pick the Vandals over offers from Portland State and Central Washington, as well as late interest from other WAC programs.

"He verbally committed Monday," assistant coach Danny Razore told GoVandals.net Tuesday afternoon. "He just felt like they started recruiting him early, about the same time as Hawaii and Portland State came into the process. He appreciates the loyalty that they've shown him. We all know over here now that the Idaho program is an up-and-coming program, and he wants to be a part of it. He's coming into there with a chip on his shoulder, and from a winning program like Bellevue, he wants that to translate over as well."

Elan (pronounced Ee-Lon) is coming off an outstanding season in which he was a 2-way starter at outside linebacker and tightend. A defensive team captain, Elan registered 49 tackles on the year with five tackles for loss and two sacks. Possibly overshadowed a bit by a couple highly recruited prospects on the Bellevue team this year, Elan's playing ability spoke volumes and immediately drew interest from recruiters.

"He has great upside," coach Razore said. "The improvement that he's shown the last two years has been what has separated himself from being really good to being a great high school linebacker."

And the work he put in top improving his game paid dividends.

"His instincts," coach Razore said in describing Elan's strengths and how they project to competing at the next level. "His tackling ability, whether it's up high or down low, a big back or a small back, a receiver - he's going to do whatever he can just to chop you down, and you're going to feel it. He plays with great pad level, great hips -- very athletic and fluid. He breaks on the ball well. Sideline-to-sideline, he is remarkably fast."

That's 4.60-40 wheels on a 6-foot-2.5, 205-pound frame with room to grow. He sports a 325-pound bench and the athletic ability to compete for immediate playing time. At Idaho Elan is being recruited as an outside linebacker, and has the ability to play strongside or weakside without missing a beat, as well as the capability to play the run or the pass.

"He really has the versatility to do it all at each of the linebacker positions," coach Razore said.

Post season honors included being named to the All League and an All-Area teams, as well as being named a "White Chip" recruit by The Seattle Times.

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