Whatcom County prospects eye Cougs

BELLINGHAM – Taylor Barton and his Northwest Elite Index team played host at Civic Stadium this weekend to nearly 50 high school athletes from Washington, Oregon and even Canada. Several players stood out, including a Lynden wide receiver and Meridian linebacker, both of whom will be in Pullman next month to participate in the WSU summer team camp on June 19.

Jalani Phelps, who recorded a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash on Sunday, is a player Cougar fans will want to keep their eyes on.

Although from small-town Lynden, the Lions are a prestigious 2A program that has won back-to-back state titles -- and they produced three-star OL commit Matt Meyer for the Cougs in the 2013 class. This past season, Phelps recorded 30 receptions for 540 yards and seven touchdowns and on Sunday, he was among the top performers and was a finalist for MVP honors according to NEI owner and analyst Jordan Johnson.

Phelps was coached on Sunday by former Rose Bowl Washington State wide receiver Mike Bush (2003), who out on the field was constantly praising his efforts for attacking the ball in the air. Phelps also made quite an impression on Barton.

"I talked to him after we were done and I told him that there's no doubt in my mind that he's a Division-I guy," Taylor Barton said. "He's big, long and extremely athletic. He's a guy who can get the ball at its highest point, but he can go down and get it as well.

"After watching him now, I don't know if there's a better receiver in Oregon or Washington. He is very talented and his upside is crazy. I can't wait to talk to colleges this week and let them know that he is under the radar a little bit, which is crazy because of how good Lynden has been over the last few years."

Phelps, who is waiting on his first offer, has been in contact with Eric Russell at WSU, who ran the point on Meyer's recruitment.

MERIDIAN LINEBACKER Spencer Blackburn, a 6-3, 230-pounder, clocked a 4.84 in the 40-yard dash and also played well on Sunday. The Whatcom county product said he's been in touch with defensive coordinator Mike Breske, who invited him to the team camp in mid-June.

"He likes how physical I am and how quick I am for my size," Blackburn said. "They are recruiting me for their BUCK linebacker position and Coach Breske said he's excited for me to get to Pullman next month and show him and the coaches what I can do."

In addition to WSU, Blackburn, who is also waiting for his first scholarship, is hearing from Boise State, Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Portland State. He added that he feels the Portland State and Eastern Washington coaches could pull the trigger soon on an offer.

  • There were several other standouts from the class of 2014 on hand on Sunday including Capital High QB Derrick Becker, Tumwater QB Jayden Croft, Windsor (Canada) QB Ty Marshall, Edmonds Woodway linebacker Mac McLachlan and class of 2016 defensive back/running back Taylor Rapp.

  • Rapp recorded a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.03 in the shuttle run. The Sehome High product checks in at 5-11, 185-pounds and was dominant in one-on-one drills. Barton said he was extremely impressed with what the sophomore-to-be showcased and that he expects him to have Pac-12 colleges lined up at his door in the coming years.

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