OSU, others eye 'The Freak'

HE'S ALREADY DRAWN comparisons to NFL defensive end Jevon Kearse because of his strength, size, quickness and playmaking abilities. Everson Griffen out of Avondale could end up Arizona's top prospect for the 2007 class and while he's a heck of a fullback, his calling at the next level will be on defense. He already holds a Beaver offer -- and five all told -- plus there's a few others who could be on the verge for the player his prep coach describes as 'very, very explosive'.

Official visits are a little further down the road for the prospect nicknamed 'The Freak' at Arizona's '05 summer camp, but Griffen said he hopes to make a trip to the Northwest and see OSU up close and personal.

"It's a nice school," said Griffen. "It would be nice to go over there and see the campus and everything."

At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, you would think schools would be looking at moving the disruptive force from Agua Fria Union inside but that doesn't look to be the case.

"Everyone is saying defensive end," said Griffen, who runs a 4.6 in the 40.

'Everyone' is already a fairly substantial list, and one that only figures to grow over the coming season. Griffen holds offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona, Louisville and Colorado State. USC has asked him to come to their camp, Florida, Colorado and Boston College are also among those showing considerable interest.

Agua Fria coach Kelly Epley says the sky is the limit for Griffen.

"He power cleans 365, benched 405 yesterday," said Epley. "He's very, very explosive for a guy his size. There are no limitations with him."

GRIFFEN, WHO HAS only played organized football since his freshman year, has also gotten a leg up on the recruiting process. Schools can't initiate a phone call to a prospect until the May evaluation period so Griffen has picked up the phone and called coaches on his own.

"I've talked to Pete Carroll at USC, Louisville, Colorado, U of A, the Oregon State coaches -- I've pretty much talked to all of them," he said.

Griffen said it's a little too early to name frontrunners, but mentioned Arizona, UCLA and USC as schools that will likely figure prominently.

"I'm keeping my options open right now," he said.

Important to his decision will be a good school both academically and with regards to the football program. And the coaching staff will be key.

"The coaches -- not just on the field but one where I can have an off the field relationship, too," said Griffen.

THIS PAST SEASON, Griffen was first team all-region as both a defensive lineman and fullback. He racked up 47 tackles (30 solo), including five sacks. He also recovered three fumbles.

"He has a great first step and he has great extension," said Epley. "The latest 40 time I have for him is a 4.6 but I think he's faster than that."

Offensively, Griffen gained nearly 1,000 all purpose yards, posting 794 yards on the ground and 168 in pass receptions with nine total TDs.

Griffen, who has also excelled at basketball and baseball in his prep career, is currently focused on the shot and discus this spring. He took the top spots recently in his first meet, with marks of 50' in the shot and 150' in the discus. As a sophomore last year, he took third place in the shot in the state meet.

"I'm still just learning how to throw the discus," he said.

Everson Griffen profile

With all the scouts who will be in take a look at Griffen this recruiting season, QB Mitch Wolfe (6-4, 190) could end up turning some heads.

"I think Mitch Wolfe might surprise some people," said Epley. "He power cleans 255, he has very good arm strength and his best attribute is his mind. He knows where to throw it and when to throw it."

It's extremely rare for a sophomore to be a first team selection but that's exactly what Wolfe did in capturing all-region honors in 2004. Last season as a junior, he was named second team all-region.

In 2005, he completed 138 of 253 passes for 1529 yards and 15 TDs against five interceptions.

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