3-star plans Palouse trip; Griffin in his ear

BELLEVUE-- Washington State commit Marcus Griffin has long said he's working on his own to recruit top talent to join him on the Palouse in the class of 2014. One of the recruits he's targeting is a three-star in-state prospect who could line up either in the offensive backfield or at linebacker. And he tells CF.C an unofficial visit to Pullman could be coming sooner rather than later.

Devante Downs is one of the top-ranked in-state athletes this class and college coaches have long been busy recruiting the 6-3, 230-pounder. One of those coaches is Washington State special teams coach and area recruiter Eric Russell.

"We talk quite a bit and he's been a good coach to be in contact with," Downs said. "I talk with Washington State every week and Coach Russell and Coach Ken Wilson tell me how excited they are for the new facilities that are coming to Wazzu. They offered me as an athlete and said I could lineup for them either on offense or defense."

He holds 12 offers, including seven from the Pac-12 – Washington State, UW, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Cal.

"I'm willing to play wherever a school needs me most and I'm willing to keep my options open," Downs said. "The schools that are talking to me the most right now are Arizona State, Vanderbilt, Washington, Stanford, Cal, Oregon State and Washington State."

DOWNS SAID HE has high interest in the Cougs.

"I like that the coaches are really nice," Downs said. "They pay attention to what you're saying and you can have actual conversations with them. What they're building over there is really nice too. I know Coach Leach was able to build up Texas Tech and I feel like he could do the same thing at Washington State.

"They're cool because they're local too. They're not where they want to be right now, but the coaches have a plan that interests me and that's what draws me to them."

DOWNS IS RATED the No. 1 FB nationally but that's a rare position these days and with his combination of size and speed, he could make a considerable impact on either side of the ball.

College coaches are recruiting him as either a running back or linebacker. He put up some big numbers as a junior last season -- Downs rushed for over 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns, while adding six sacks and 17 tackles for loss at linebacker.

AS FOR Marcus Griffin, he's ramped up his efforts in recruiting Downs and the two have been going back and forth on Twitter as of late.

"He's just been telling me how great it would be for us to play together and be on television on Saturdays," Downs said. "That's pretty much it, but he's definitely recruiting me for them."

Downs added that he's yet to decide where he'll be taking his official visits, but a summer trip(s) to the Palouse could be coming soon.

"I want to take a few trips during my season, so I make sure that I'm able to experience the atmosphere at a school on game days," Downs said. "I'm not sure where I'll be going yet, but I know this summer I'm probably going to take an unofficial visit or two up to Pullman."

We spoke with Downs at the NW College Showcase at Interlake High on Sunday evening. Although he didn't participate on the field, he was one of many spectators watching several of his 2014 classmates put on a show in front of the college coaches on hand. Check back Wednesday morning on CF.C for our report on the camp event.

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