To avoid confusion, understand that this is not a forecast of who the top 12 players will be in the state for the 2014 class. If it were, the focus likely would be on Budda Baker of Bellevue. He already has double-digit scholarship offers and enough stories in the Scout.com database to make a college senior blush. This is simply an early look at some homegrown seniors-to-be who have notable athleticism and have captured our early attention for any variety of reasons.
RB Isaiah Brandt-Sims (6-0, 180), WENATCHEE<>
He has seen his recruitment soar over the last month. Currently rated three stars and the 40th-best RB in the land for the class of 2014 by Scout.com, he has offers from UW, ASU, SMU and a few others. He doesn't hold a WSU offer just yet, but recently told Scout's Jake Worthen that he is planning on attending WSU's Junior Day event. In 2012 he rushed for 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns, and caught 21 passes for 317 yards and five touchdowns en route to first-team Class 4A All-State honors.
RB Devante Downs (6-3, 215), MOUNTLAKE TERRACE
If you haven't heard of Downs before, you'll be hearing it a lot soon enough. He is a power back gaining the attention of programs across the country. He holds offers from WSU, UW, Utah, Arizona State and Colorado. He's also hearing from Michigan, Florida, USC and others. In 2012 he rushed for 1,270 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also lined up on defense at linebacker, recording six sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
RB Drew Lewis, EASTLAKE/SAMMAMISH
Lewis emerged as one of the top backs in the highly competitive Kingco 4A division in 2012, rushing for more than 800 yards with eight touchdowns. He also showcased his versatility, catching 28 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns. He is the younger brother of former Eastlake standout and current Pitt Panther Ryan Lewis. Drew received an offer from Pitt in late November and is starting to hear from several Pac-12 schools as well.
OL Kaleb McGary (6-6, 272),FIFE
Played tight end and defensive end in 2012 but projects as a first-rate major-conference offensive tackle. He holds offers from WSU, UW, Oregon State, Utah, Oregon and Arizona State. McCary told Worthen earlier this fall that he's long been a fan of UW, but he also is interested in Washington State.
OL Drew Clarkson (6-4, 265), CAMAS
Played left tackle in 2012, providing powerful and athletic blindside protection for QB Reilly Hennessey, who led Camas to a 12-1 record. He had a dominating year, earning all-league and Class 4A All-State honors.
OL/DL J.D. Boden (6-2,265), CENTRAL VALLEY/SPOKANE
He could line up on either the offensive line or defensive line in college. He was a first-team All-GSL selection in 2012 who looks to have the frame and athleticism for serious upside.
OL Jonah Jordan, MEAD/SPOKANE
Jordan turned heads this season with his strong play both on the offensive and defensive lines. He's a big, physical lineman who is also quick on his feet. Jordan was the heart and soul of Mead's O-line this season and earned First-Team All-GSL honors. It was the second straight season Jordan was named to the All-GSL team, having earned the same honor as a sophomore for the Panthers. Jordan is starting to see his recruitment pick up and he also tripped to UW over the summer to participate in a showcase event.
WR Tanner Pauly (5-11, 170), SHADLE PARK/SPOKANE
A first-team Class 3A Associated Press All-State selection, he had a record-breaking 2012 season, with 64 catches for 1,110 yards. He also set the Greater Spokane League record for most receiving yards in one game, with 298 yards. He ranks 10th on the all-time GSL receiving list. His quarterback at Shadle is Brett Rypien, a 2015 college prospect who already holds an offer from WSU.
WR Zach Eagle (5-8, 160), CAMAS
He's small but fast. Had a junior campaign to remember, hauling in 77 receptions for 1,074 yards. He was named to the Class 4A first-team All-State squad and Seattle Times' prep reporter Jayson Jenks dubs him "a sure-handed receiver with big-play ability."
WR Garrett McKay (5-9, 165), BELLARMINE PREP/TACOMA
Every year there's that tiny wide receiver that Mike Leach brings into his offense to line up in the slot. McKay could very well be that guy for WSU in a couple of years. The 5-9, 165-pound WR has slot receiver written all over him. He used his quickness and elusive ability to be a playmaker for the Lions this season. McKay had a mind boggling junior campaign with 74 catches for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. On Sept. 7 against Lakes, the Tacoma product caught 17 balls for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He was one of the key offensive pieces for a Bellmarine Prep squad that finished second in the state this season. The Lions lost in the 4A state championship game to Skyline.
WR Jalani Phelps (6-3, 175), LYNDEN
Lynden may be small community in the middle of farm country, but the Lions had four players sign Division I LOIs on Wednesday, and Phelps could join that group a year from now. He's tall, lean and can jump. His leaping ability made him a standout for the Class 2A champions in 2012, as Portland State-bound QB Josh Kraght would throw deep and Phelps would simply leap over a pair of defensive backs for a high-point catch. He had 30 receptions for 570 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. In Lynden's semifinal playoff victory over Sumner, Phelps caught seven balls for 127 yards and three touchdowns.
LOOKING WAYYYYYYYY AHEAD …
A 2018 PROSPECT?
A little digging also yielded an impressive nugget of information about the 13-year-old: He's being mentored at his position by none other than legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson. Max is also a standout point guard in basketball, so one way or another, CF.C is making the prediction right now that he's going to be a name to watch for in 2018. With permission from his dad, HERE ARE some of Max's highlights from the 2012 football season.