WSU coaches will be at NW Elite camp en masse

IN 2012, when former Cougar quarterback Cole Morgan approached the then-new Washington State football coaching staff about attending his Northwest Elite Camp, the response was polite but noncommittal. That was then. After sending over a large contingent last year, the WSU staff is going bigger this time around, with 10 members set to work Morgan's camp June 5 at Lynnwood High north of Seattle.

It's as good a opportunity as any on the recruiting calendar to get a hands-on, up-close look at the state and region's top football recruits.

Coaches from more than 40 colleges will work the Northwest Elite Camp, now in its seventh year. The camp includes a Who's Who of young football talent from Washington, and many more from 10 other states, as well as British Columbia. Morgan, the director, said as many as 700 players will attend.

From Washington State's staff, those expected to be on hand are Alex Grinch (defensive coordinator), Graham Harrell (outside receivers), Ken Wilson (linebackers), Roy Manning (outside linebackers), Eric Mele (special teams), Dave Yost (inside receivers), Jim Mastro (running backs) and Clay McGuire (offensive line), plus quality control staffers Brian Odom (defensive) and Joel Filani (offense).

"I had to convince them the first year to come, because they just didn't know (how big a camp this was)," Morgan said. "I knew the tide had turned with them when I went to Washington State this past year and Jason Gesser was taking me on a tour. (Chief of staff for football) Dave Emerick joined in, and we talked about the landscape of football. Something has changed here. He told me to come back any time."

Gesser was actually the founder of the camp. When he went to Idaho as an assistant coach he turned it over to Morgan.

Among all camps in the country, it's the second largest in terms of college coaches participating in hands-on instruction, Morgan says. It's a win-win for both parties.

For players, the upside is obvious: it's a chance to get instruction and feedback from coaches at the next level, plus valuable exposure. They come away from Morgan's camp with a better understanding as to how they stack up against college-level talent.

For coaches, the opportunity to see talented players up close is invaluable. Coaches use their own drills, and watch how players react and perform. They get to see players that want it badly.

"They get a kid in camp who is always the first in line, wants to beat all the kids, and takes the coaching really well -- that's a kid that in a coaches' eye jumps up a couple spots," Morgan said.

Morgan said two years ago, Elite attendees received 41 Division I offers the night camp ended. It was more last year, and Morgan suspects that since this year's camp will have its largest attendance ever, the number of post-camp offers will swell considerably.

For Cougar coaches, it's not only a chance to look at talent they might like to someday offer, but players who currently hold WSU offers.

Morgan said the camp is structured to allow the best players the most time in front of coaches.

"We do what we call a Gold camp. It's basically the kids who were the best throughout, the kids that worked the hardest at the camp. It's a camp within a camp. They get wrist-banded and get to compete in front of everybody in a mini-showcase kind of thing for another 45 minutes," Morgan said.

"Each coach is only supposed to get one wristband to give out, but I did give a couple extra to Cougar coaches last year."

This year's camp field includes at least seven of the nine known in-state WSU offers in Bellevue safety Justus Rogers, Bellingham receiver Josiah Westbrook, Federal Way receiver D'Jimon Jones, Tacoma tackle Kameron Smith, Spokane offensive tackle Scott Peck, Bethel defensive tackle Ezra Cleveland and Spokane defensive end Evan Weaver (pictured above).

Morgan says it's possible the Cougs' two other in-state offers, Bellevue cornerback Isaiah Gilchrist and athlete Isaac Garcia may also be in the camp. Also at Northwest Elite will be WSU offeree Chase Claypool, a receiver from Abbotsford, B.C.

Other notable prospects at Northwest Elite include Federal Way linebacker Andre Hughes-Murray, Kentwood lineman Jared Goldwire, Skyline defensive back Rashaad Boddie, Sedro Woolley offensive guard Erik Lukner and a top 2017 prospect, Juanita athlete Salvon Ahmed.

Morgan says one goal for next year's camp is to get Cougar head man Mike Leach over to give the camp's kickoff speech. Chris Peterson of Washington did the honors last year. Morgan wouldn't reveal who will give this year's speech, but says it won't be Leach, who has a scheduling conflict with a WSU booster event.

"More than anything, I want coach Leach out here giving the kickoff speech. I would love it more than anything. I'm a Coug!" Morgan said.

For more information about the Northwest Elite Camp, CLICK HERE

Read Nick Daschel’s occasional Pac-12 ramblings at

Cougfan Top Stories