How good is '08 grid crop in Evergreen State?

FOR FANS OF football's recruiting game, the notion of the athletic kid down the block playing for your alma mater is like a siren call. If a prospect's telephone prefix is 206, 360 or 509, the faithful turbo-charge his stock. But objectively speaking, how does the new crop of in-staters shape up? For answers, we turned to two Pac-10 coaches with a combined 33 years recruiting the Evergreen State.

Oregon State has had a more visible presence in the Evergreen State the past couple of years, although their signing haul from the state has remained steady. This might be a year they pick up a few more on February's Signing Day.

There were five OSU coaches, the most of any Pac-10 school, at the recent Barton Camp. Of the 70 players from Washington and Oregon that made up Scout.com's initial Northwest Hot 100 rankings, 37 were in attendance.

Washington State offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller -- who has 15 years of experience recruiting the Evergreen State -- gave his assessment of this year's in-state class.

It's definitely a solid year, he says, for prep talent in the state, but he stopped short of calling it -- as some pundits have -- the best in recent memory.

"This is a good year -- better than last year. I wouldn't say, historically speaking, it's the best," said Levenseller. "There have been some very good years in the state. One year, just in the corridor between Tacoma and Vancouver, there were 13 Division I-A kids. But this is a good year."

Levenseller has been recruiting the state since 1992.

As the former recruiting coordinator at Washington State, Arizona State and Montana, and now as an assistant at Oregon, Robin Pflugrad has been closely involved in recruiting the state for 18 years.

"I would say it's an extremely solid year and the thing that makes it intriguing is you have quality players at most each and every position," he said. "In some years, you might have great receivers, or great linemen, but I think you have a solid year this year at virtually every spot.

"There are quite a few prospects who are good enough athletes that they can play multiple positions at the college level," he noted.

SO HOW MIGHT ALL this translate when Letter of Intent Signing Day rolls around in February?

For answers, we turned to history and then looked to the future.

In 2007, 28 high school athletes from Washington signed Division I-A football letters of intent -- 17 of them going to Pac-10 schools. WSU signed the most, with seven, Oregon State signed a pair.

In 2006, there were 34 D-IA signees in the state. Of them, 18 signed with Pac-10 schools. WSU again led the way, signing seven, and Oregon State again picked up an Evergreen State duo.

In 2005, 31 local prepsters signed with D-IA schools and of those, 17 went to the Pac-10. WSU (five) and UW (six) set the pace, with Oregon State signing, you guessed it, two.

Now, looking ahead to the 2008 class, a check of the Scout.com database shows it to be trending down the historic path. Right now 13 state of Washington high school seniors-to-be have at least one known Pac-10 offer -- a total, at this stage of the recruiting process, which would project the final tally to end up above the 17-18 Pac-10 signees of the last three years.

A comparison of players with a star rating between 3 and 5 also reveals some interesting -- although again, preliminary -- results.

2008  (As of June '07)          2007 (On Signing Day)
(1)  5-star prospect            (0) 5-star prospects
(4)  4-star prospects           (6) 4-star prospects
(11) 3-star prospects           (9) 3-star prospects
 
16 players rated 3 stars        15 players rated 3 stars  
or above, 54 total stars        or above, 51 total stars  


HERE ARE SEVERAL Evergreen State products who are helping to make the 2008 class a solid recruiting crop.

OL Nick Cody, (6-6.5, 290), Brush Prairie, Hockinson High Holding the most offers of any state of Washington lineman, Cody recently named his top three to BF.C: Oregon, Oregon State and Cal. Talk around the figurative recruiting water cooler has some saying he'll be a Duck when it's all said and done. Could be, but Oregon State is also among those recruiting the hardest and after attending the Oregon State half day camp this past weekend, said Cody; "I really like the Oregon State coaches. Coach Cavanaugh was really fired up and that was pretty neat. I got a lot out of that."

DE Trevor Guyton, (6-3, 271), Redmond High, Redmond
A bull of a d-tackle with athleticism to match, Guyton has the quitessential motor that never stops running. Guyton on defense finished his junior season with 80 tackles and four sacks, and he squats 510 pounds, cleans 245 pounds and benches 360 on the bar.

Kavario Middleton, DE/TE, (6-6, 240), Lakes High, Lakewood
The top rated recruit in the state and a national prospect, the 5-star recruit has said distance will likely play a factor in his decision. Also a D-IA basketball prospect.

Everette Thompson, DE, (6-5.5, 231), Kennedy High, Burien
He's said he probably won't be going to any school camps but is in the planning stages of scheduling unofficial visits for the summer. Calling himself "very open", hopes to narrow list down in the middle of summer, take his official visits and decide after his senior season.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, (6-2, 175), Lakes High, Lakewood
Kearse has said he grew up rooting for the local school, Washington, and favors them slightly over Washington State and others. He'll get a chance to find out more about WSU when he heads to the Cougars' camp later this month.

Gerald Hill, DE/TE, (6-3.5, 225), Curtis High, Tacoma
Boasting boatloads of athleticism, Hill has distinguished himself at DE, TE, S, LB and QB and was the MVP of his basketball league. A broken foot earlier this year is still on the mend, precluding any camps or combines this spring and summer. Expected to be 100 percent by August, could be in line for plenty of in-season recruiting love.

Brandon Turner, WR, (6-3, 188), Kentridge High, Kent
The starting quarterback at Kentridge, he'll be a wide receiver or safety at the next level.

Le'Roi Edwards, OL, (6-3.5, 253), Kentridge High, Kent
A Charger teammate of Turner's, Edwards says he's seeing increasing interest from some Pac-10 schools.


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