2005 Class Focus: High School Signees

Idaho received signed Letters of Intent from 25 prospects this recruiting season. In this installment we round-up the 15 high school prospects who signed with Idaho today, along with the 5 grey-shirt recruits who signed with Idaho last year and are expected to join the team for spring drills. Later we take a closer look at the 10 junior college signees.

The 2005 recruiting effort is in the books, and by all accounts Idaho landed a solid recruiting class. Several in this class may see playing time immediately (and not just the junior college transfers) as Head Coach Nick Holt and crew work to rebuild Idaho's depth chart across the board.

Asked during the news conference to describe the focus of the recruiting effort, Holt immediately stated the need to re-establish Idaho's presence in the northwest. He's extremely excited about the 4 kids signed out of the northern Idaho and Spokane areas, and reiterated his staff's focus on the region (Lewiston, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Tri-Cities, Sandpoint, etc.). He added, "These areas will always be key to Idaho."

Beyond building northwest ties, the staff put a premium on signing a quarterback who was ready to come in and play immediately, signing a JC Gridwire All-American in the process. Next was the need to replenish the wide receiving depth chart, accomplishing that goal with 3 JC transfers and 2 high school prospects. Defensive back was also a targetted need, signing 2 JC and 2 HS prospects in the process.

But the biggest beneficiary of this recruiting class were the guys who battle in the trenches. In all, 6 offensive linemen and 7 defensive linemen were signed today. Coach Holt stressed that this area "must be fixed for the team to be successful," and a large recruiting effort had to focus on replenishing these units.

Asked about redshirting, Coach Holt emphatically stated that he's "not recruiting anyone to redshirt...we want 'em all ready to go ." Words put into action last fall when he played 17 true freshmen.

Holt also stated that no position on the team was locked up at this point, indicating that even top performers like Cole Snyder, Idaho's #1 tackler in 2004, would be pushed by the talent moving up the depth chart. Asked specifically about QB Michael Harrington, Holt stated that Harrington would be the starter going into spring, but that position is expected to be contested heavily by signee Steve Wichman and the returning athletes in the depth chart.

Asked about the kicking situation, Holt stated that junior Mike Barrow will likely be focusing just on kicking next fall, while the team evaluates options at punter. Expected to compete for the starting punting job is grey shirt T.J. Conley, who joins the team this spring.

Overall, there was a sense of satisfaction with this recruiting effort. The benefit of having 12 months to study and form this class yielded what the staff believes is a "well balanced" class, based on the needs of the team. Last year at this time, they had 4 months to assemble a class for a team they had just inherited.

So who will be joining the team in 2005? A lot of new faces. The link below is to a position-by-position chart of the complete class:

2005 Vandal Football Recruits

Below we take a little closer look at each High School prospect who submitted a Letter of Intent today. Later this week we will take a closer look at the 10 junior college transfers who signed in December and today. Seven of the 10 are already on campus and working with the team this spring. The remainder are expected to enroll next fall with the freshmen...a freshman class boasting the most speed (by position) that we've seen recruited to Idaho in at least 4 years.

Enjoy!



HIGH SCHOOL 2005 SIGNEES


BILLY BATES
OL, 6-5, 270, Beaverton, OR (Southridge High School)

Billy is a mult-sport athlete who was among the first to sign with Idaho this recruiting season. Second year head coach Nick Holt and staff are converting the offensive line into a more mobile, athletic unit and Billy fits the mold. At the Palo Alto Nike Camp (May 2004), Billy recorded an impressive 4.81 – 40 (2nd fastest offensive lineman at the camp), 4.63 shuttle, and a 24 inch vertical leap. Listed by SuperPrep.com as the #6 prospect overall in the state of Oregon this year, Bates was a 2004 2nd Team All-State selection and earned 1st Team All Metro League honors as a senior. Athletics doesn't end with football either as Billy wrestles for Southridge. Last year he qualified for the Oregon State Championships in the 275 pound weight classification and was instrumental in Southridge winning its second consecutive Metro League Title. Billy is a 2-time Metro heavyweight Champion, and is currently ranked 5th in Oregon.


KELLEN BEAM
TE, 6-7, 225, Spokane, WA (Gonzaga Prep)

Idaho built a deep tightend depth chart throughout the 1990s, then saw that depth chart become decimated by injuries the last 4 years. Rebuilding this platoon continues this spring with the verbal commitment (and anticipated LOI) of Gonzaga Prep standout Kellen Beam. For 2004 Kellen caught 16 passes (3rd on the team behind 2 WRs) for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, helping Gonzaga Prep to a date in the State Semifinals against eventual champion Evergreen and a 12-2 final season mark. A big, versatile target, Kellen is a 2-sport athlete at Prep where he also played on the basketball team.

BRIAN BRAMAN
DE, 6-5, 224, Spokane, WA (Shadle Park High School)

If Idaho head coach Nick Holt was looking for defensive ends that can fly, he found what he was looking for in Brian. The 6-5 prospect out of Shadle Park (Spokane) is probably more renowned in the region for his track accolades, but that didn't stop him from earning 2nd Team All Conference honors. His personal best in the 100 meters is 11.1 (good by just about any standard, outstanding for a 6-5 DE). He also posted a 6 ft 9 inch high jump, and 21 foot long jump. Those skills helped him post 20 sacks and 8 blocked punts during his football career. With the speed part down, Brian can focus on bulking his big frame and possibly become the big rush end Idaho has been looking for for years.


JASON BROWN
ATH, 6-1, 210, Long Beach, CA (Long Beach Poly)

From a report filed by Scout.com about TheInsiders/MSL Combine held at the USC campus last March: "The linebacker spot was held down at the camp by a local product. Many agreed the best LB there played his ball on the same field as the combine. Poly linebacker Jason Brown (pictured) measured in at 6-1 1/2, 203 pounds. He tested in the upper echelon of every drill and looked like he was in better shape than most players. As the day wore on, he continued to make a stronger presence while others fell by the wayside do to heat and exhaustion." Considered Poly's top linebacker going into the 2004 season, Jason came off a junior year in which he split time between safety and linebacker, recording 85 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions and 2 TDs. In 2004 Poly ended the season ranked 23rd in the nation (13-1), defeating Los Alamitos 21-6 in the CIF Division I Southern Section Championships. This season Jason played in 11 games, recorded 73 tackles (8 in the Championship game) and 1 sack, and also worked as the team's runningback in the first 2 games of the season gaining 31 yards on 11 carries with 3 TDs. As a junior safety he earned All-Moore League and 2nd Team All-CIF selections. The move to OLB his senior year, coupled with a lingering leg injury limited his post-season accolades...but his reputation as a hard-hitting, versatile defender made him a huge asset to his CIF Championship team.

MARVIN JONES
DL, 6-2, 285, Vallejo, CA (Jesse M. Bethel High School)

Marvin Jones has had an impressive high school career both on the football field and on the wrestling mat. As a senior on the football field (80 tackles, 3 sacks) he was named the Monticello Empire League Most Valuable Lineman (Marvin started on both the offensive and defensive lines). Nominated by CalHiSports.com as a 2004 All State Selection for the Sac-Joaquin Section. Marvin was also selected by a Northern California Coaches Poll presented on TriStatePreps.com as a 2004 Preseason All Norcal 2nd Team Defensive Line selection. Participated in the Stanford (Palo Alto) Nike Camp between junior and senior year with impressive results. As a junior he was voted an Honorable Mention All Conference defensive lineman. His wrestling success has been equally impressive. As a sophomore he took 2nd in League at the 275 pound weight classification. As a junior he dominated his weight classification again. And as a senior he's currently ranked 3rd by the Sacramento Bee.


ADAM JURATOVAC
OL, 6-3, 265, Palo Alto, CA (Henry M. Gunn High School)

Adam hit the recruiting circuit heavily this summer, participating in the Berkeley MSL camp, Stanford Nike camp, Adidas UCLA camp, and the USC Lineman Camp. At the USC Camp, Adam was mentioned by Scout.com as one of the Top 6 "Standout" linemen out of 310 participants. At the Berkeley NIKE camp he recorded an impressive 26.5" vertical jump, a 4.80 second shuttle, and a solid 21 reps of 185 pounds. His list of honors are equally impressive: 2nd Team All CIF Central Coast, OL (2004), 2nd Team All State Medium School (OL) by CalHiSports.com (2004) 1st Team All Santa Clara Valley League, DeAnza Division, OL (2004), 2nd Team All S.C.V. League, DeAnza Division, OL (2003), Honorable Mention All S.C.V. League, DeAnza Division, OL (2003). An outstanding football prospect, Adam is a force in the California wrestling community as well. He went 3-0 to capture the Jim Root Classic title at West Valley College recently, improving his season mark to 15-0 at the time. In that meet he was taken down for the first time this season by an opponent, but he scored a reversal to switch the momentum. Said Gunn Coach Chris Horpel said, "He's doing all the right things to make it to state." Juratovac is currently ranked 4th in the California Central Coast Section by thecaliforniawrestler.com, and is on pace to make a run at the state championships later this spring.

KURT NEWBOLES
DL, 6-7, 280, Chehalis, WA (W.F. West High School)

Kurt was a 3-year starter for the Bearcats, a unique feat despite the team's serious struggles throughout his career (another reason accolades were few and far between for Kurt). He runs the 40 in 5.3, claims a 25-inch vertical leap, 260-pound bench and 350-pound squat. His 4.97 shuttle time at the Palo Alto NIKE Camp was the second best time recorded by a lineman standing 6-7 or taller. Although he was listed by The Seattle Times as one of just 27 RED CHIP prospects in the state of Washington, Kurt did not garner any post-season awards due to an injury suffered in the 3rd game of the year. Several PAC-10 teams followed Kurt's career closely, with both Stanford and Washington showing the most interest throughout. The injury and lack of senior film made Stanford back off, while Washington kept in contact until the end, offering an opportunity to walk-on. Kurt accepted Idaho Coach Nick Holt's scholarship offer, telling Scout.com "I like the whole thing they've got going on over there with the academics. They've got a good engineering departmant, and that's something I was looking for. And I really like the way their football team is headed with their coaching staff and all the guys they've got playing over there."

MILES ROBBINS
WR, 5-11, 174, Corona, CA (Corona High School)

Determined to earn a Division 1-A scholarship, the two-way starter at DB and WR saw his stock rise between his junior and senior year as he worked diligently to improve his speed and quickness. The effort paid off at the San Diego NIKE Camp this past summer where he recorded a 4.72 - 40 and an impressive 30.6 inch vertical jump. Not mind boggling numbers, but certainly enough to garner the scouting interest he was looking for (particularly coupled with his work ethic on and off the field). An injury ended his senior season prematurely, and he was unable to build on the the All Mountain View League honors he earned as a junior. Off the field he's an outstanding student, carrying a 3.7 GPA. "Right from his freshman year, he enrolled in honors classes and advanced math," Germaine Halfhill, Miles' school counselor, told the Press Enterprise. "He has continually challenged himself."

ADAM SHAMION
LB, 6-2, 215, Post Falls, ID (Post Falls High School)

Idaho continues to mine the state of Idaho for Division 1-A talent, and in doing so received a verbal commitment from Post Falls star Adam Shamion this past summer - the first member of the 2005 class to verbally commit to Idaho. A 2-way starter for the Trojans, Adam was the ONLY North Idaho football player named a 1st Team All State athlete for any classification this year, earning 1st Team All-State Class 4A linebacker honors. "He really helped change things around, attitude wise," Post Falls coach Jerry Lee said. "He was one of, if not THE best, tight end in the state, and he was a great cover linebacker. He's a great athlete, and better than that, he's an inspirational leader." He was also named to the All North Idaho 1st-Team as both a linebacker and tightend, while also earning the Inland Empire League's Most Valuable Linebacker honor. Athletics doesn't end for Adam when the football season ends either. A wrestler for the Trojans, Adam helped lead Post Falls to a 4th place finish at State in 2004, and took 2nd place in the 215 pound weight classification.

JOSH SHAW
DE, 6-3, 230, Spokane, WA (Lewis and Clark High School)

Talk about accolades. Josh, who played TE, DE and LB during his career at LC, went into 2004 ranked by The Seattle Times a preseason Top 10 prospects in the state of Washington, and was also listed by the same publication as a RED CHIP prospect going into the recruiting season. Scout.com had him listed as the #58 TE in the nation, and the #38 prospect NORTHWEST REGION. Voted by his team as The Best Hitter for 2005, Josh claims a MAX Bench of 320 pounds, and a MAX squat of 485 pounds. The muscle mass isn't slowing him down either as he's 11.2 100 meter and a 4.85 - 40 in 2004. The 3-year 2-way starter earned 1st Team All-GSL honors as a junior, and 2nd Team All GSL honors as a senior LB. He is widely considered the best LC prospects since Erik Coleman, who went onto to star on Washington State University. At Idaho he is looking to play a rush end position.

BRYCE SINCLAIR
OL, 6-5, 315, Gardena, CA (Juniper Serra High School)

A giant. That might be the best way to describe Juniper Serra High School senior Bryce Sinclair. At 6-5, 315 pounds the offensive lineman already dwarfs much of the competition. Considered a bit of a "raw" talent, Bryce has only played football for 3 years, but the potential he possess is impressive. Voted an All-Del Rey League 1st-Team selection following his senior year with the Cavaliers, following a 2nd Team honor as a junior. Bryce visited Idaho over the weekend and enjoyed his visit to the Moscow campus, coach Scott Altenberg told a California newspaper. His ability to simply bull-doze opponents out of the way helped Serra to a 7-3 regular season record and 2 victories in the CIF Division X playoffs before falling to Lompoc in the semifinals.


IRVIN STEVENS
OL, 6-3, 279, Corona, CA (Centenniel High School)

Centenniel High product may be among the most decorated athletes joining the Vandals this falll. Voted a pre-season 1st Team All-CIF Southern Section OL by CalHiPreps.com., Stevens turned some serious heads at the San Diego NIKE Camp last summer. Centennial Head Coach Matt Logan had the following to say to Scout.com regarding Stevens, "He and Devin Head [signed today with Colorado] are identical. They are both around 6-4, 270. Irvin runs real well. He is really a gifted athlete and has improved himself vastly over the last year." At the San Diego NIKE Camp (April 2004) Irvin recorded the second fastest 40 time, clocking a swift 5.18 seconds. His shuttle time of 4.73 seconds was the fastest reported at the camp by an offensive lineman, and his vertical jump of 23 inches tied him for #8 in the same group. On top of all this, Irvin also reportedly is a rock solid student too, carrying an impressive 3.67 GPA.

EDDIE WILLIAMS
WR/LB, 6-2, 228, San Mateo, CA (Aragon High School)

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Williams was a playmaker for Aragon, both offensively and defensively. Expected to get a look at Idaho as both an OLB and an H-back this fall, Eddie was named the All-SCVAL PAL-BAY Division Utility Player of the Year, while also earning 1st Team All-Bay Division honors at linebacker. He was instrumental in guiding the Aragon Dons to a 10-2 finish and a date in the Division Semi-Finals this year. Above all, he earned a reputation as having a knack for making the big plays in crunch time. In 2004 he finished with 22 receptions plus over 20 carries to score 10 touchdowns (roughly 6 points every 4 times he touches the ball). Of his 22 catches, 10 of them went for 20 yards or more. A three-year varsity member of the football squad, Williams was also on the varsity basketball and track and field teams last year. He runs the 4x100 relay and throws the shot put and discus. "Eddie is without a doubt the emotional leader of our team," Aragon coach Steve Sell said.


WESLEY WILLIAMS
CB, 5-11, 156, Anaheim, CA (Esperanza High School)

As a senior in 2004, Wesley was voted to the Orange County Register's Top 25 High School Football Recruits list. A multi-faceted athlete, Wes started at halfback and cornerback for the Esperanza Aztecs. Offensively he gained 352 yards on 37 carries for 4 TDs, averaging 9.2 yards per carry with a long of 38 yards. As a receiver, Wes gained 395 yards on 19 receptions (team leader), averaging 20.8 yards per touch with 7 TDs and a long of 85 yards (school record). For a run-oriented team, Wes' numbers (including averaging 9 points per game) were impressive. Cornerback, however, is where Wes made earned his biggest acclaim, in a league that included Los Alamitos and Edison. The swift cornerback recorded 15 tackles and 2 picks along with 4 pass deflections, enough to earn him 1st Team All Sunset League honors and 2nd Team All County. On Special Teams, Williams was the team's #1 kick returner (381 yards on 12 returns for 31.8 yards per return average and 2 TDs) and the team's #1 punt returner (232 yards on 9 returns for a 25.8 yards per return average and 1 TD).

JUSTIN WILLIS
DT, 5-11, 281, San Jose, CA (Valley Christian High School)

Justin was voted 3rd Team ALL STATE by Cal-Hi Sports. He was named Defensive Lineman of the Year by the West Catholic Athletic League. Also named to the 2004 All Metro 1st Team defensive line, and San Jose Mercury News 1st Team Defensive Line. The Northern California coaches association voted him to the 2004 All NorCal 1st Team. Among his most acclaimed accomplishments as a senior, Willis played a vital role in holding both St. Francis and Los Gatos to a combined 32 rushing yards in the Open Division playoffs. The effort garnered interest from a number of programs, as he was reportedly being recruited by Fresno State, Nevada, Wyoming and San Jose State in addition to Idaho. His athletic accomplishments don't end on the gridiron either. As with so many in this recruiting class, Jusrtin is currently ranked 5th in the 275 pound weight classification by Central Coast Section. Fellow signee Adam Juratovac is ranked 4th in the same weight classification!


GRAY SHIRTS (JANUARY ENROLLEES)

Peter Bjorvik
Tightend
6-4, 225 Pounds
Prineville, OR

School: Crook County High School (Cowboys)
Career Honors:
  Honorable Mention, All-State Class 4A, TE (2003)
  Honorable Mention, All-State, 4A, DE (2003)
  1st Team, All-Intermountain Convference, TE (2003)
  1st Team, All-Intermountain Convference, DE (2003)


Summary:
With the loss of a couple senior tightends in Brian Yarno and Willie Sipoloa, Idaho's tightend depth chart just got significantly younger. Enter Oregon high school product Peter Bjorvik as the Vandals look to fill the void in 2005.

The 6-4 senior earned All-State honors on both sides of the ball in 2003, and also earned 1st Team All-Conference honors offensively and defensively. Peter rarely came off he field, and he ended the year the team's leading receiver. Offensively, Bjorvik's best game of the season came in a loss against eventual IMC champion Bend when he had seven catches for 94 yards. He also hauled in five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Pendleton.

Whether Peter will see playing time next year as a freshman remains to be seen, but this 3 sport star (who also averaged a team-best 14.1 points per game in 2003 for his HS basketball team) will very likely his shot. If not next year, then certainly shortly afterwards.



T.J. Conley
Quarterback
6-3, 190 Pounds
Walla Walla, WA

School: DeSales High School
Career Honors:
  Player of the Year, Class B-11 (2003)
  Washington State's No. 2 All-Time Passer (10,147 yds)
  1st Team AP All-State, Class B-11, QB (2003)
  1st Team All Southeast Conference, QB (2003)
  1st Team AP All-State, Class B-11, QB (2002)
  1st Team All-Southeast Conference, QB (2002)

Summary:
Idaho quarterback recruit T.J. Conley had an impressive career at DeSales High School, a Catholic school in Walla Walla, WA. This is the same high school that Idaho QB Brian Lindgren attended, and the parallels between the 2 are uncanny. Both Brian and T.J. are No.1 and No. 2 all-time in the Washington High School record books for passing yards in a career, and both are the ONLY Washington preps to pass for over 10,000 yards in a career. Both took their team's to the state championship before signing with Idaho.

T.J. has been a starter at DeSales since he was a freshman, taking over a year after Lindgren left to join the Vandals. Conley became the second Washington quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards in his career during the Irish's state semifinal win over Wahkiakum. However, he broke his leg in the first quarter of the state final against Reardan, and the team was unable to complete the Championship run without him.

For 2003 he ended the year with 35 touchdowns on 186 of 307 passing for 3,011 yards. He ended up throwing an impressive 125 touchdowns for his career.

T.J. is one of 2 QBs in this class and the only high school prospect (at the moment). He will be joining a unit headed by senior Michael Harrington and QB coach Jonathan Smith.





Tracy Ford
Wide Receiver / Defensive Back
5-8, 170 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 (03)
  1st Team, All-Kingco League, CB (2003)
  2nd Team, All-Kingco League, RB (2003)


Summary:
If Coach Holt was looking for a player with serious speed and agility, he found it in Bellevue High runningback / defensive back Tracy Ford. Described as "tenacious" in at least one Seattle-area newspaper, in 2003 alone 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 in 2003. 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





Brandon Nystrom
Safety
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)

Summary:
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 2003 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.





Devon Sturdivant
Runningback
5-11, 195 Pounds
Boise, ID

School: Timberline High School
Career Honors:
  2nd Team All-Idaho (2003)
  1st Team All Conference (2003)
  District III East-West Shrine Game (scored TD)
  #69 Northwest Prospect by TheInsiders ('03)

Summary:
Can you ever really have too much depth at runningback? No, you can not, as evidenced last season at Idaho. Idaho went into 2004 with a stable of 5 young runningbacks, but by the season finale at Hawaii Idaho was forced to move TE Willie Sipoloa to RB to cover for the losses due to injury. So, on the surface it may "look" like an overstocked platoon (returners Jason Bird, Rollie Lumbala, and Antwaun Sherman top the list), but an athlete of Sturdivant's caliber has the potential to come in and make noise immediately.

Devon was the FIRST high school athlete to sign with new Vandal head coach Nick Holt in 2003. As a senior he was voted the Idaho Statesman's 2nd Team All State runningback, and was also voted a 1st Team All Conference selection. He rushed for 1,228 yards and 14 TDs on 172 carries as a senior, and was invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Game where he scored a TD.

As a junior in 2002, Devon recorded 129 carries in 8 games for 902 yards and 9 touchdowns. For his career he notched 3 TD runs greater than 70 yards, was All-conference as a RB and team Offensive MVP as a senior, plus was a two-year letterwinner in wrestling and track.





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