VV.com Recruiting Update: Speed Focused

With less than 2 days to go, Idaho's verbal list climbs to 18 as 5 prospects commit to Coach Holt and the Vandals this past weekend. The focus last week was on the specialists, including <b>Tracy Ford</b>, an athlete out of Bellevue High School (WA). With only a few hours remaining until signing day, Idaho looks to put the finishing touches on its 25-man recruiting class.

Idaho's list of reported verbal commitments grew by 9 more high schoolers last week as the Vandals received verbal commitments from prospects in Washington (4), Oregon (1), and California (4). With less than 2 days left before Letter of Intent Day (Feb 4, 2004), Idaho has received reported verbal commitments from 18 prospects (17 HS, 1 JC). For the most up-to-date information on Idaho recruits, please utilize the Scout service provided by TheInsiders.com (listed in the left hand margin on this page).

To keep track of how the recruiting roster is filling out by position, we've prepared our own customized recruiting roster (also in the left hand margin), and its been updated at the link below:

2004 Vandal Football Recruits

Links to earlier player spotlight articles on this recruiting class are provided below:

2004 Recruiting Update: Trench Warfare

Vandals Get Verbal From Jayson Bird

Devon Sturdivant & Taylor Rust first to give verbals

Keep in mind that this information is driven by reports from TheInsiders.com. For the most accurate, up-to-date, and fast information source, JOIN THEINSIDERS CLUB TODAY! Its less than $10 per month, and worth it, especially during recruiting.

So, to follow-up on the information reported last week and this weekend by TheInsiders, a brief introduction to the 9 athletes who verbally committed to Idaho is provided below. Enjoy, and don't forget to make plans to come to Moscow to see the team during the annual Silver and Gold game on Friday, April 30th (7pm).

D.J. Dykes
6-2, 190 Pounds
Los Alamitos, CA

School: Los Alamitos High School
Career Honors:
  1st Team, All-CIF Division I, DB
  1st Team, All-Sunset League, DB

As a senior in 2003, Daniel "DJ" Dykes was a starter on a defensive backfield rated by The LA Times and AZCentral.com as one of the best in the nation (AZCentral rated the Los Alamitos D 3rd in the nation, behind De La Salle of California and Evangel Christian of Louisiana). The unit did not disappoint in 2003, and D.J. was among the unit's leaders throughout the season.

Among his accomplishments last year was ending the season with 54 tackles (#2 on the team), 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery. For his efforts, he earned 1st Team All-Sunset League honors, and was also named 1st Team All-CIF Division 1.

Los Alamitos High School (11-2) ended the season atop the Sunset League in Orange County, and made it to the Division 1 semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Loyola 22-15. In addition to Dykes, 2 other of his DB teammates signed with 1-A programs, including Randy Estes (Washington State) and Antoine Cason (Arizona). Certainly not bad company to keep...

Although Idaho has 3 DB recruits from last year's class who redshirted, its possible one of the freshmen in this class could work into the rotation. In that case, look for D.J. to be among the contenders.

Tracy Ford
Wide Receiver / Defensive Back
5-7, 165 Pounds
Bellevue, WA

School: Bellevue High School (Wolverines)
Career Honors:
  1st Team, All-State Class 3A, DB (2003)
  Honorable Mention, All-State Class 3A, RB (2003)
  1st Team, All-Kingco League, CB (2003)
  2nd Team, All-Kingco League, RB (2003)

If Coach Holt was looking for a player with determination and speed, they found it in Bellevue High runningback / defensive back Tracy Ford. Described as "tenacious" in at least one Seattle-area newspaper, Tracy amassed over 1792 yards rushing on over 156 carries for 22 touchdowns (not counting the State Championship game), and he wasn't even the "featured" back. In the playoffs Tracy stepped it up even more, amassing 192 yards on 17 carries for 2 TDs in a SINGLE playoff game. His Bellevue Wolverines went on to win their 3rd consecutive State title (Tracy's first, having played his sophomore and junior seasons at Decatur High School).

Its not often that a player makes the All-State selection on BOTH sides of the ball, but Tracy did just that this year. He made headlines on offense (2nd Team All-State), but did some of his biggest talking on D, where he was named 1st Team All-State as a defensive back.

Per a report by TheInsiders, Tracy will be given a shot early (likely this year) as a slotback and Special Teams weapon. With reported 4.4 speed, he has as good a shot as anyone to get things going this fall.

LINK: Seattle Times Spotlight Article on Tracy Ford

LINK: Seattle Times Article on Bellevue High

Reggie Jones
Defensive Back
5-10, 175 Pounds
Kent, WA

School: Kent-Meridian High School
Career Honors:
  Honorable Mention, All-State Class 4A, DB (2003)
  1st Team, All-SPSL North, DB (2003)

Cornerback / runningback Reggie Jones tripped to Idaho this past weekend with Tracy Ford, and both prospects made verbal commitments to play for Coach Holt. Reggie has had nothing short of an impressive highschool career, culminating with being named to the All-State team and 1st Team All-League as a cornerback. What's remarkable is that his team struggled for wins all year, and yet Reggie was still recognized among the elite of Washington (impressed at the Washington Nike Camp, including registering a 4.49-40).

The Seattle Times reported Reggie's signing this weekend, stating in the article that the state-class sprinter chose Idaho over Arizona, Montana, and Eastern Washington.

In a report published earlier this year by Chris Fetters of TheInsiders.com, Reggie said, "I had 8 carries for 160 yards in our first game, but I really like playing corner because I like locking down on the other team's playmakers." A nice proposition, considering Idaho's needs at corner. Plus, with 4.4 speed, Reggie was arguably one of the top CB performers at the Seattle Nike Camp this past summer, and is rated the #55 Northwest Prospect by TheInsiders.com.

To help his struggling team, Reggie switched from runningback to quarterback part way through last season, in addition to starting at cornerback. The team went winless as Reggie rarely came off the field, but he remained recognized as one of the top athletes in the Puget Sound region.

Outside of football, he is a fixture on the Track team, where some of his biggest successes have come in the triple jump. In last summer's WIAA 4A Star Track Meet, Reggie recorded a 46 foot triple jump, and also recorded an 11.25 - 100m sprint.

Whether Reggie makes the CB rotation this fall or after a redshirt season remains to be seen. But a prospect with his speed probably won't be kept off the field for too long.

Antonio Lindsey
Defensive Tackle
6-2, 285 Pounds
Federal Way, WA

School: Federal Way High School
Career Honors:
  1st Team All-State Team, DL (2003)
  1st Team All-SPSL South, DL (2003)
  Seattle Times Pre-Season All-State Team, DL
  Seattle Times WHITE CHIP Prospect (2003)
  Tacoma News Tribune All-Area Team, DL
  Tacoma News Tribune Pre-Season All-State Team, DL
  Named Fab50 National Ranking, DL (2003)
  1st Team All-SPSL South, DL (2002)

As is fairly common knowledge, Idaho is in big need of some big bodies on the interior defensive line (particularly with the graduation of All-Conference DT Brian Howard, and the loss of junior-to-be Kelly Talavou). Enter Federal Way High School senior Antonio Lindsey. Antonio is a big prospect who has made a name for himself despite playing on a team this year that struggled for wins. Recruited early by teams like Colorado, Washington, Nebraska and Oregon, Lindsey verbally committed to Idaho a week ago. With Idaho's needs on the defensive front, he is one of several verbal commits that could see action as a true freshman.

Antonio got the season kicked off in impressive fashion, recording 5.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss in the first 4 games alone. This despite being double and triple teamed as teams schemed around him. Regarded as a relatively quick defensive line prospect (in an article by the Tacoma News Tribune), Antonio started making a name for himself as a junior in 2002 as he recorded 8 1/2 sacks.

Bottom line, Antonio brings some much needed size and agility to Idaho's defensive front, and should get plenty of opportunties to earn playing time during his career in Moscow.

Chris Meadows
Cornerback / Wide Receiver / ATH
5-11, 185 Pounds
Redondo Beach, CA

School: Redondo Union High School (Seahawks)
Career Honors:
  1st Team, All-CIF Division IV (2002)
  Ocean League MVP (2002)
  SuperPrep.com #13 CB in West (Jul 2003)

One way you can characterize this year's recruiting class is with an emphasis on athletes with wheels. Redondo Beach (CA) senior Chris Meadows fits in perfectly with the rebuilding effort currently underway by new coach Nick Holt and staff.

Meadows, who had 1,500 all-purpose yards of offense and 80 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense this season for Redondo, picked Idaho over scholarship offers from Montana and Sacramento State, with significant interest from UCLA (tripped 12/21/03) and others. He has the speed (4.5-40) to play offense or defense for Idaho, and will likely get plenty of looks at multiple positions. The Ocean League MVP as a junior, Chris saw time at RB, WR, QB and DB.

His biggest accollades came as a junior, but he carried the brunt of the Redondo High School load as a senior. In one game in particular against Santa Monica, quarterback Chris Meadows took care of business on both sides of the ball racking up four touchdowns on offense and a key interception from the safety position to lead Redondo over Santa Monica 31-14. Meadows ran 13 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and completed four of nine for 98 yards and two more touchdowns. Not a bad day's work.

Chris, who carries around a 3.6 GPA, shouldn't have to carry quite that much of a load on the field in Moscow, but this is one prospect that can help the Vandals on offense or defense. Now, its a matter of finding the best fit.

Brandon Nystrom
6-2, 190 Pounds
Junction City, OR

School: Junction City High School
Career Honors:
  Class 3A Player of the Year (2003)
  1st Team All-State, Class 3A, RB (2003)
  1st Team All-State, Class 3A, DB (2003)
  1st Team, All-Sky-Em League, RB (2003)
  1st Team, All-Sky-Em League, DB (2003)
  2nd Team All-State, Class 3A, DB (2002)
  3rd Team All-State, Class 3A, RB (2002)
  Sky-Em League Offensive Player of the Year (2002)

If there is one player packing more accolades on this year's recruiting class than anyone else, it just might be Brandon Nystrom. He was the state of Oregon's Class 3A Player of the Year, and was named 1st Team All-State on offense and defense. On the season, he rushed for 1,799 yards, had 582 yards in receptions, and scored 30 touchdowns. Defensively, he had five interceptions, forced four fumbles and recovered four fumbles. He fell just short of being a large part of his teams quest for a state championship, falling to eventual champ Marist in the semi's.

He's also packing about a 3.75 GPA, according to The Oregonian, and plans to study business, according to The Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News article: "I really enjoyed my time there," said Nystrom on his campus visit. "I was really impressed by the coaching staff ... and people that we met. (Holt) is the kind of guy who I want to play for."

As is the theme in this year's class, Brandon is a versatile prospect who is expected to begin his career at safety, but could play multiple positions for Idaho.

Shane Simmons
Quarterback / Linebacker / ATH
6-2, 215 Pounds
Kent, WA

School: Kentlake High School (Falcons)
Career Honors:
  Honorable Mention, All-State, DB (2003)
  SPSL North Back of the Year (2003)
  1st Team, All-SPSL North, QB (2003)
  1st Team, All-SPSL North, DB (2003)

Last week The Insiders.com reported that Shane Simmons, a 2-way starter and All-League performer for Kentlake High, had made a verbal commitment to play for the Vandals. From an article that appeared in The Seattle Times:

Simmons (6 feet 2, 215 pounds) also considered Eastern Washington, Idaho State and Southern Utah, among others, according to Kentlake coach Mark Torgerson. He was a two-way, All-SPSL North first-team quarterback and defensive back and was voted Offensive Back of the Year in the division. He was a Star Times all-area choice as a defensive back.

Torgerson said Simmons likely will play safety or outside linebacker at Idaho, or possibly even tight end.

"They wanted him as an athlete," he said.

Simmons amassed more than 1,650 yards in total offense for the Falcons, who lost to Lincoln of Tacoma in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs and finished 9-2.
"He's relieved and excited," Kentlake coach Mark Torgerson told The Seattle P-I. "Shane is one of the best kids I've ever coached, and I've been coaching for 21 years."

With the size and speed to play multiple positions, Shane characterizes the 2004 recruiting class that has made verbal commitments to the UI. His ability to not only perform, but excel, on both sides of the ball should be an asset in getting on the field soon.

LINK: Seattle Times All-Area Football Team

Alex Toailoa
Defensive End / Defensive Tackle
6-0, 255 Pounds
Fountain Valley, CA

School: Los Amigos High School (Lobos)
Career Honors:
  2nd Team All-CIF Southern Section, DL
  1st Team All-CIF Division IX, DL
  Garden Grove Defensive Player of the Year
  1st Team All-Garden Grove League, DL
  2nd Team All-Orange County, DL

Idaho's focus this past week was recruiting players wheels, but they also landed a couple big guys with motors. Among them is Southern California's Alex Toailoa, a defensive lineman (6-0, 255) out of Orange County. Among Alex' many honors, he led California's Division IX in sacks (17) for 2003, while amassing 58 tackles (42 unassisted), and forcing 1 fumble. Alex also lined up on offense, playing tightend where he caught 4 passes for 116 yards and 1 touchdown. His longest reception was 42 yards...not bad for a guy of HIS size who reportedly runs a 4.69-40.

On the year, the Lobos went 10-3 (including 6-0 in league play), and went into the 3rd round of the CIF playoffs. Three times the Lobos held their opponents scoreless, and 2 other times gave up just 1 touchdown.

A couple weeks before committing to coach Nick Holt (Holt was one of the coaches working with him at the USC Nike Camp this summer), Alex gave a verbal commitment to BYU (the Cougars had been recruiting Alex aggressively for years). Fortunately for Idaho, Alex changed his verbal commitment and joined Coach Holt at Idaho. Aside from Idaho, Alex had received an offer from Arizona State that was later withdrawn, and had a trip to Oregon planned that he cancelled after committing to BYU.

Regardless the path he chose to get to Moscow, Alex is one of several talented incoming athletes on the defensive line who could see action soon.

Folau Tuione
Tightend / Runningback / Defensive End
6-4, 235 Pounds
Lawndale, CA

School: Leuzinger High School
Career Honors:
  Injured part of 2003

Leuzinger High prospect Folau Tuione may prove to be one of the biggest surprises of the class. There isn't a tremendous amount of information available on Folau, and for good reason. The 6-4, 235 athlete (runs a reported 4.67 - 40) out of southern California's Leuzinger High School didn't play football until his junior year.

A raw talent, Folau made exceptional improvement the past two seasons, earning a starting job as a junior and was one of the primary returners on both sides of the ball going into 2003. His potential as an athlete also caught the attention of numerous recruiters (including his performance at the USC Nike Camp), as he was on the recruiting charts for San Jose State, and reportedly had an offer from Oregon.

Listed as a TE prospect, Folau is another Idaho commitment who could get a shot at multiple positions (offense/defense), and could see playing time early.

LINK: Leuzinger High School Pre-Season Report

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