The offensive line recruits are enormous, and a couple of the monsters have some impressive agility as well. We also nabbed a fleet footed 6-1 receiver out of Louisiana, an ironman WR/DB recruit out of St. Bonaventure in southern California, and a TE recruit out of Mater Dei High School that could find his way on the field this year...he's literally that good (ranked among the Top 50 Tight End recruits in the nation by at least one national publication). In the backfield, we have a guy recruited to play fullback, but we're willing to bet that he ends up a defensive end (fact is, he might be versatile enough to play fullback, DE or TE).
Defensively, the class is small, but we have bodies where we needed them the most: In the trenches. We have 2 mountainous recruits on the interior defensive line (one from Southern Cal and the other from Oregon). We have a linebacker recruit out of Pasadena with outstanding speed, range, and a propensity for knocking the snot out of guys carrying a football. And in the backfield, we landed a guy we believe might be the first 6-4 Safety ever at the Univesity of Idaho.
Oh, and Special Teams....our new Special Teams Coordinator signed a youngster out of Southern California who was named to PrepStars All West Coast Team, 1st Team All-State, and was a 3 time All-Conference selection.
Alot of these guys may not make it on the field for a couple years, but you should get to know their names now. Our guess is you'll be hearing alot about these guys soon. Here's the breakdown by position:
Matt Newell, 6-8, 285, Las Vegas, NV
Jade Tadvick, 6-5, 298, Stevensville, MT
Hank Therien, 6-7, 318, Corvalis, OR
Nate VanderPol, 6-6, 290, Federal Way, WA
Keith Greer, TE, 6-2, 250, Santa Ana, CA
Brandon Mascorro, WR, 5-10, 175, Ventura, CA
Wendell Octave, WR 6-1, 185, St. James, LA
Andrew Stobart, FB, 6-3, 239, Boise, ID
Mike Barrow, 5-11, 165, Ventura, CA
Kelly Talavou, DL, 6-2, 310, Los Angeles, CA
Geoff Zuber, DL, 6-4, 290, Gold Beach, OR
Robert Davis, DB, 6-4, 195, Simi Valley, CA
Jaron Williams, LB, 6-1, 205, Pasadena, CA
Below is an alphabetical summary of each player, complete with photos if available. As we mentioned with the JC recruits reported earlier, we look forward to watching this group of youngsters develop in Moscow, and we think you will too.
5-11, 165 pounds
BIO: Field goal kickers typically don't receive much press, and even fewer actually get offered scholarships right out of highschool. The situation with Mike Barrow, however, is wildly different. Mike has an exceptional degree of control when it comes to kicking a football, and his performance the past 3 years at St. Bonaventure has been outstanding. How good? He was named by StarPrep to their all West Coast team, and their write-up on him is as follows:
"Post-season, 2001 - Barrow is a three-time All-League performer and he added All-State and All-County to his list of honors. He has a powerful leg that had 70% of his kickoffs land in the end zone for touchbacks. Mike is a great punter too, he can kick deep with air or pooch kick it. He now holds the Ventura County record for kick scoring [124 career attempts, 181 career points]. Barrow kicked 48 PATs and six FGs for CIF Champion team."
Mike entertained invitations to walk-on at Michigan, Arizona, UNLV, Portland State and Sacramento State, but chose to accept a scholarship offer from the Univesity of Idaho instead. He will definitely be one to watch.
6-4, 195 pounds
BIO: A 2-way starter at Wide Receiver and Safety, Robert excelled at both positions and ultimately earned All-Conference honors as a wide receiver this season. On offense (as reported in Idaho's Recruiting press release earlier this week), Davis had 60 receptions for 680 yards and 6 touchdowns...tops in the Marmonte League (CA). Defensively, he made a truly remarkable 67 solo tackles, forced 10 fumbles and made 4 interceptions. What's probably the most remarkable aspect of these stats is the agility he displays for an athlete with a 6' - 4" frame. His mobility for such a tall athlete should ultimately be an asset at the D-1 level, whether on offense or defense.
6-2, 250 pounds
BIO: Up in the northwest, its fairly safe to bet that not too many folks have heard of Mater Dei tightend Keith Greer. That's not the case, however, in college football circles. A big, versatile athlete, Keith has played tight end (his primary role as a starter the past two seasons), fullback and halfback. It's at tightend, however, where he excelled. Named to Fab50's Top 50 Tightends Listing (a national ranking service), Keith has been recruited by both Cal and USC. He's also been listed on UW's Dawgman.com site as a D-1 prospect at linebacker.
He's a tough athlete that is a load to bring down. This year he caught 25 passes and averaged 11.3 yards per reception. Mater Dei had a characteristically solid football team this season, and went 2 games into Southern California's prestigious D-1 playoff race (this conference includes perennial powerhouses Bishop Amat and Loyola...and frankly, Mater Dei is one of the best annually). Making the All-Serra (its actually Serra, not Sierra) team at this level of play is significant, and Keith is an athlete with a ton of potential.
5-10, 165 pounds
BIO: Without doubt, Brandon Mascorro was an important fixture on a St. Bonaventure team which has dominated California's small school division for almost a decade. During his 3 years as a starter, they've amassed a remarkable 42-0 record. This season their number one, record-setting running back (Lorenzo Booker) is likely headed to Florida State. Their number 1 lineman, James Bonelli, younger brother of 2000 Idaho recruit Mike Bonelli, is headed to Notre Dame. Brandon has practiced against, and played next to, as much talent as you can ask for in a highschool recruit.
Brandon made the All-Conference (Tri-Valley League) team all 3 years he played at St. Bonaventure. He was a 2-way starter as a sophomore (DB and WR), and a 3-way starter as a junior (throw in some special teams). This year, Brandon was asked to focus his efforts on defense (he was named Co-Defensive Back of the Year for the conference and the county) and special teams. In doing so, he amassed 61 tackles, 3 interceptions, blocked 2 punts, and returned a kick-off for a touchdown. Oh...and they did use him on offense as well, where he rushed for 253 yards, and caught 18 passes for 515 yards. Impressive just about any way you look at it.
6-8, 285 pounds
BIO: Giant offensive line prospect Matt Newell comes to Idaho from Las Vegas, Nevada where he was voted his highschool team's most valuable offensive lineman, in addition to being named to the All-Sunrise Region team. At 6' - 8", Matt has the type of frame that could develop into a force on the offensive line, and embodies the direction that Cable is taking the offensive line. Specifically, none of the recruits from this year's class are shorter than 6' - 5", and all four have been recruited directly out of highschool to develop within the Idaho program. Also reflecting a trend with most of Idaho's recruits this year, Matt participates in other sports outside of football. His sport of choice? Volleyball. At 6-8, he's a natural.
6-1, 185 pounds
BIO: Wide receiver recruit Wendell Octave may have one of the most impressive resumes of any of Idaho's recent receiver recruits. He's been mentioned in virtually every honors publication awarded in the state of Louisiana this year...all this and he's only really been a starter on the St. James class 3A football team for a year (the state ranks teams up to 5A). Wendell was THE big play receiver this year for St. James, and finished the year with 37 catches for 711 yards and 12 touchdowns. In one game, he caught 7 passes for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the loss of Chris Lacy, Idaho's go-to receiver last year who ended the season ranked 16th in the nation in receiving yards and a first team All-Conference selection, Wendell has the size and speed to pick up where Chris left off. If not this season, then certainly in the years to come.
6-3, 239 pounds
BIO: This season Boise-area athlete Andrew Stobart became a dominant force on a Borah Lions team that, at times, struggled. He's a smart (3.40 GPA), multi-dimensional athlete with good size and excellent athletic ability. Named a 1st Team All-State (5A, large school division) Defensive End, Andrew also lined up at Tight End and caught 32 passes this season. When Borah Head Football Coach John Gough was asked what Andrew's best position was he immediately said "D-end, he was very destructive on defense, broke up a lot of plays." Then, after a brief pause he said "you know, I want to say defense but now that I think about it, he won a lot of games for us with his ability to catch and run, that guy has amazing hands." He's a powerful athlete with personal bests in the power clean of 295 pounds, squat of 485 pounds, bench of 350 pounds, and he has a stationary vertical leap of 34 inches. All of this is sure to come in handy for Andrew, whether its with the ball, or blasting someone carrying the ball.
He chose Idaho before taking official visits to Boise State, Army, Oregon and Nevada, and we certainly agree with his decision.
6-5, 297 pounds
BIO: When Jade began his highschool football career at Montana's Stevensville High, it was not on the offensive or defensive line. No, this 297 pound athlete started at wide out, where he was a successful receiver before he filled out his 6-5 frame. He was first moved to tightend, then eventually became a fixture on the offensive and defensive lines. He's a dominant force up front, and was named to the state's All-State teams on both sides of the ball.
As is the theme for this year's recruits, Jade is also a multi-sport athlete who plays basketball and competes in track and field. On the Yellow Jackets basketball team, Jade plays forward and is among the leading scorers on the team. On the track team, his specialty is the shot put, where he's had a throw of 44 feet, 5.5 inches. The guy even plays the trumpet.
6-2, 310 pounds
BIO: Kelly Talavou changed school districts between his junior and senior seasons, so the amount of press coverage on the young man is limited. However, he didn't fail to impress on the football field. As a junior at Saddleback High School (California), Kelly was named to the All-Golden West League's 1st team as a defensive lineman. He followed that up in 2001 with a solid, 2-way starting performance at Fountain Valley High (as a DL starter he made 36 solo tackles, forced 3 fumbles and 8 quarterback hurries), earning an invitation to play DL in the Los Angeles / Orange County All-Star game. On the offensive side of the ball, he was named Offensive Lineman of the Year for the Sunset League (as reported in the University of Idaho's Letter of Intent press release). Kelly has outstanding size, and given his work ethic, should develop into a force on the defensive line.
6-7, 318 pounds
BIO: For OL prospect Hank Therien, life at the highschool level has included playing an unglamorous position (OL/DL), on a team that struggled to win games (Crescent Valley), in a very tough conference (Valley), which had this year's state champion (McNary HS) at the highest level of highschool sport (4A) in the state of Oregon. Its little wonder, given these circumstances, that a young man of his enormous size for a highschool athlete (6-7, 318 pounds) can go into the Oregon Nike Camp a "relative unknown." Hank, however, proved that he has a ton of potential by dominating the Oregon Nike Camp last summer and being rated by PacWestFootball.com among the top 20 offensive line prospects on the west coast. He's an outstanding addition to the Vandal roster, and with time, given his excellent size and "mean" playing style, could develop into a force on the line.
6-6, 290 pounds
BIO: If the Big-9 Conference rules the roost in the eastern part of Washington, then the South Puget Sound League (SPSL) runs the show in the west (this year's SPSL conference champ, Kentwood, took the 4A - biggest schools in the state - championship, beating defending state champion Pasco). The pool of offensive linemen, as always it seems, was deep again in Washington, and late bloomer Nate VanderPol was among the best. Nate, in addition to being named a consensus 1st team All-State lineman (by the AP and Seattle Times), was named to the All-Conference Team for the second consecutive year, and was named to the Seattle Times prestigious All-Area Team, and went on recruiting trips to WSU and Oregon. Although he fielded phone calls from Boise State and a scholarship offer from Portland State, Nate chose Idaho over his other options. Obviously, we believe this 3.50 GPA, future business student, made the right choice.
6-1, 205 pounds
BIO: Before this past season even started, Muir Linebacker Jaron Williams was being hailed as a Division 1 calibre athlete by the Los Angeles media. The Pacific League preseason outlook published by the Los Angeles Daily News pegged Jaron as one of its top 5 returning players, and simply wrote in their description of his style: "A nightmare for opposing RBs".
Although the Muir football team struggled for much of this season (ultimately resulting in rival Crescenta Valley getting the lions share of the publicity during the season), Jaron was a force on an already solid linebacking corp. During his junior season he moved over to LB from TE, and by all accounts he appears to be a natural at the position (he earned a starting job by the middle of the season, and was ranked one of the best in his conference by his senior season). His stats last year (as reported in the Idaho 2002 Recruiting Press Release) are impressive: 70 tackles, 6 pass deflections, 4 quarterback sacks, and 1 interception. He's also described as being extremely explosive to the ball.
Regarded by the Los Angeles area media as an outstanding all-around athlete, Jaron (like most of this year's recruits) participates in a variety of sports year round, including basketball and track. Depth on the Vandal team at linebacker is steadily improving, and Jaron should be a rock solid addition to this group, given his size, speed, and aggressive style of play.
6-4, 290 pounds
BIO: Mr. Versatile. That's just one of many ways to describe this young man out of Southwestern Oregon. During his three year career at Gold Beach High, Geoff Zuber has been a starter on offense, defense and special teams. This season he began the year as a Fullback after participating in the Nike Camp as a Tight End last summer (he was a fixture on the Defensive Line all season as well). As the season wore on, Geoff was eventually moved to offensive tackle to help improve the line (the team reportedly passes the ball 70-80% of the time, and his head coach claims he never gave up a sack). As a defensive starter, he played the DT and DE positions. His strength is solid with a 315 pound bench press, 250 pound clean, 205 military, 650 squat, and a 27 inch vertical leap. He was timed at 5.0 seconds in the 40 while weighing 290 pounds at the Nike camp. Aside from athletics, he's also a good student who plans to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho.