Cougs offer (very) hard hitting LB prospect

HOW'S THIS FOR a hitter – Paul Wulff just offered a prep prospect who is no longer allowed to participate in any of his high school's contact drills. Too many of his teammates were getting hurt. He's uber-versatile, with a great frame that can easily put on muscle and pounds in college. Oh, and his dad? When he heard of the offer he broke into song -- the Washington State Fight Song to be precise.

Lakewood's Tana Pritchard (6-4, 203) was offered by the Cougars just a few hours ago.

"Coach (Mike) Levenseller earlier today offered me a position on defense, at outside linebacker," said Pritchard. "… My dad started singing the Washington State Fight Song. It was pretty funny. I called (Jack Thompson) right after I talked to coach Levenseller, he was pretty excited as well."

Pritchard's father is David Pritchard, who played on Washington State's 1981 Holiday Bowl team. Legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson calls Tana his nephew. His brother, Tavita Pritchard, is a former quarterback for Stanford. Those are some pretty solid bloodlines. His hitting prowess is equally as strong.

PRITCHARD LINES UP at QB, too, just like his older brother, but the phrase, ‘a linebacker playing quarterback' most assuredly applies in the younger Pritchard's case.

"I enjoy hitting. I've recently been taken out of all hitting drills at practice. I've unfortunately hurt a few kids at practice. When you put on pads, you just kinda get a certain mindset. I don't try and hurt anybody, I just go 100 percent all the time," said Pritchard.

His versatility speaks for itself – for SPSL Class 2A Clover Park, he's the starting quarterback on offense, the starting strong safety on defense and does just about everything on special teams, too, including punt and kick returns plus punting.

"I'm not coming off the field very often," quipped Pritchard, and others have noticed. The Tacoma News Tribune calls him the most talked about player in the new SPSL 2A league.

What's his decision timetable?

"It's not necessarily way down the road. Now that Washington State has offered, it's definitely opened up another window of opportunity and really opened up my eyes. I'm really blessed to have received an offer from them so hopefully now we can start planning, comparing and contrasting. As soon as I know, I'm going to make a decision -- I'm not going to make any school wait," said Pritchard.

OFFERING A PROSPECT who plays below Class 4A or 3A in the state can be a risk, college coaches generally at least want to see some of his senior year first. But schools also sometimes strike gold.

Oregon State plucked Joe Halahuni out of Class 2A Orting a few years back and he's developed into one of the conference's best tight ends. One thing's for sure, Pritchard passed the character test long ago -- it just took a few weeks into his senior season for WSU to see the final pieces of the puzzle.

"Coach Wulff and coach Levenseller talked a lot about character, really expressed how important it was to them to recruit guys of high quality character," said Pritchard. "The way I was brought up, they said they felt I represented those qualities, with a strong work ethic and overall character.

"I'm a pretty versatile athlete and I think that really stood out to them. If more than one position was needed on the field, then I could hopefully help out and do whatever the team needs. And I'm willing to do that."

PRITCHARD HOLDS offers from Washington State and Nevada. Other schools showing varying shades of interest include Washington, Oregon State, Idaho and Air Force.

"I have other schools looking who sound very interested but who haven't yet offered," said Pritchard. "…They're not set in stone yet but I think Air Force Academy and Washington State (for official visits), Oregon State and Stanford. I'm not sure about the other one yet."

Pritchard is also a star basketball player and has drawn recruiting interest.

"A lot of schools have asked me what sport I'm going to play… and I'd love to play football in college. I'm willing to play whatever the team needs. I'm interested in what's best for the team…. Schools have asked me if I'm willing to play defense and I've always said whatever the team needs, then that's what I'll do," said Pritchard.

Tana Pritchard profile

Complete stats weren't available at press time but in the Clover Park (1-3) win over Franklin Pierce, Pritchard rushed for 123 yards and threw for another 156 hashes.

Tana Pritchard Sophomore and Junior Highlights

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