Tumwater twins stay in-state

JANUARY WAS LIKELY to be when the college futures of Zach and Matt Johnson, twin linebacker prospects out of Tumwater High, was to be decided. The brothers had seen a steady stream of schools coming by the past couple weeks, including coaches from Washington State and Oregon State, and had set up visit dates to others. But a decision came on Sunday.

Coach Mike Levenseller came by Tumwater High last week for the Cougs, with coach Bruce Read for Oregon State. Both schools had the same message for the Zach (6-1, 205, 4.6) and Matt (6-1, 203, 4.7).

"Washington State and Oregon State both said that we were still in the running for a scholarship, but if they did (offer), it would probably be later in January and probably for only one of us," said Zach.

In addition to OSU and WSU, schools stopping by in recent days included Brown, Western, Linfield, Puget Sound and Portland State. But it was another school that visited that was showing the most interest -- Eastern Washington.

"Eastern came for a home visit (last week), coach Baldwin and coach Wulff came by," said Zach. "It was real nice and they made Eastern sound like a good fit. Coach Wulff said that they are going to offer both of us and will tell us the details of the offers soon."

The wait ended on Sunday.

"Eastern just offered both of us full rides -- we are very excited and will probably commit in a couple days," said Zach on Sunday.

Scratch that. A few more hours was all that was required.

"We committed to Eastern," Zach said a short time later. "We are very excited!"

The brothers are scheduled to take official visits to Cheney on Jan. 12. Western had also told the pair they were going to offer both and a visit was tentatively scheduled for January 20 but that would seem unlikely to take place now.

Zach this season was league and area MVP, and was also named to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area team. He racked up 1,918 rushing yards and over 2,300 all-purpose yards and 28 TDs, all new school records. Matt missed five games yet still produced 53 tackles in limited time and both had a pair of interceptions. Most schools saw the brothers as linebackers at the next level but safety or possibly running back remains a possibility.

Zach Johnson profile
Matt Johnson profile

Eastern coach Paul Wulff, who will enter his 15th season at EWU in 2007 including his eighth as head coach, was a standout Cougar offensive lineman from 1986-89. He served as the starting center on the '88 team that beat No. 1 UCLA in the Rose Bowl and topped Houston in the Aloha Bowl as WSU finished No. 16 in the nation that season.

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