LYNNWOOD — With nearly a dozen Washington State staff members looking on, including defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, three prep prospects who sit high on the Cougars’ recruiting target list each took home MVP honors at his position Friday at the annual Northwest Elite Football Camp.
For four hours, more than 700 prospects from 10 states and Canada put their talents on display at Lynwood High, north of Seattle, in front of coaches from more than 40 colleges.
The list of players included Evan Weaver
(pictured above), Scott Peck
and Chase Claypool
, all of whom hold scholarship offers from the Cougars.
Weaver, a 6-foot-3 defensive end out of Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep, said he loves competing, even in gym shorts and a t-shirt. “Why else would you be out here unless you want to compete,” Weaver told Cougfan.com. “The whole point of these things is to get better, and I feel like I do that with each rep I take against new guys.”
Weaver said his lack of proximity to many off-season events like this provides an added desire to excel.
“Sometimes it’s tough to get recognized when you live on the other side of the state,” he said. “That’s why I love coming to camps like this because I get to show people what I’m all about. A lot of recruiting services don’t have the time or the reason to come out where I live and I respect their decisions, but that just motivates me even more.”
Weaver said he’s still early in the recruiting process in terms of decision making.
“Right now I’m keeping an open mind to everything,” he said. “I don’t have a timetable. I’ll narrow down my choices as the summer goes on.”
He was abundantly clear in the three deciding factors that will go into his decision, however.
“I want great academics first and foremost,’ he said. “Then I want to win, and I want to play. If a school can prove they can accomplish all three of those things that is where I want to be.”
He holds 11 offers in addition to the one from WSU. Among them are Arizona, Cal, Utah and Washington.
THE 6-FOOT-5, 212-POUND CLAYPOOL
is an imposing wide receiver out of Abbotsford, British Columbia. He holds 14 scholarship offers ranging from WSU and Oregon to Michigan and Notre Dame. He, too, isn’t close to making a decision.
“There are two things that are the most important for me,” he said. “The first is how well I click with the current players and staff of a program. Those are the people I’m going to be spending most of my time with the next four or five years of my life. I want to make sure it’s going to be a good fit. Second is academics because I want to be set up to succeed after my football career is over.”
Playing high school ball in Canada, Claypool sees camps such as this one as an opportunity to show what he can do against better competition.
“I think competing in events like this will really help my growth as a player,” he said. “I don’t really ever get jammed at the line of scrimmage back home, but out here I definitely had to battle a few times. I’m not used to seeing this type of competition on a regular basis so it’s great to get out here and see what I can do against some other really good players.”
PECK, A 6-FOOT-7, 270-POUND, OFFENSIVE
tackle from Spokane’s Central Valley, said the camp allowed him to get some diversity in his reps.
“I’m not just going against the same guys over and over, but I’m getting a ton of different looks. It really helps me improve as a player and I think it helps other guys out as well.”
In addition to the Cougars, Peck has offers from Utah, Nevada, Army, Idaho, EWU and Montana. He is also hearing from Boise State, Oregon and Washington. Like Weaver and Claypool, he was noncommittal on his timeframe for a decision. But, ideally, he said he would like to make a verbal commitment by the end of the summer so he has no distractions during football season.
Peck said he wants to be relatively close to home, play for a winning program and be part of a program with a family feel.
Chris Fetters of Dawgman.com reported after the camp that one of the offensive line MVPs — Dontae Powell, a junior-to-be at Richland High — received an offer from WSU.
The highlight of the camp near the end during the “Gold” competition featuring the best performers from earlier drills Tyson Penn of Bellevue High made a leaping, one-handed catch over a defender that temporally brought the camp to a halt as fellow campers flooded the field in celebration of the circus catch.
Here’s the full list of camp MVPs:
- Running Backs: Rashad Bodie, Connor Werrington, Rey Green, Kasiah Malietufa
- Wide Receivers: Vaugn Daggs, Tyson Penn, Chase Claypool, Hunter Ekstrom
- Quarterbacks: Jacob Sirmon, Blake Gregory, Liam Bell, Gresch Jensen
- Offensive Line: Dontae Powell, Henry Bainvaw, Toby Okafor, Scott Peck
- Defensive Line: Tfano Tiavela, Evan Weaver, Lazurus Williams, Zarykk Davis
- Tight End: Cameron Voos, McKenzie Holt
- Linebackers: Andres Hughes, Kyle Adams, Jaret Faikoqju, Kenion Bartlett
- Defensive Backs: Tamir Hill, Oliver McKenie, Darien Williams, Benaiah Ellington
The camp, which was founded by former WSU quarterback Jason Gesser seven years ago, is run by another former Cougar QB, Cole Morgan.