Central Valley rising seniors Travis Hawkins, Jordan Talafili and Ryan Rehkow drawing interest from Washington State and others

SPOKANE -- Central Valley High in the Spokane Valley is in the process of hiring a new football coach, but whoever gets the job will have a pair of solid college prospects leading his defense and another major-college prospect handling the team’s punting and kicking. All three of the rising seniors are hearing from Washington State.

When hall of fame coach Rick Giampietri decided to hang up his whistle after 46 years on the prep scene, 23 of them as head man at CV, he wanted to make sure the cupboard wasn’t bare for whoever succeeded him.

Enter linebacker Travis Hawkins, defensive tackle Jordan Talifili and punter/kicker Ryan Rehkow.

All three of the first-team all-league performers are on the radar of college coaches.

Each is hearing from WSU, UW, Idaho, Montana and Montana State. In addition, Hawkins is hearing from Arizona and Missouri; Talafili from BYU; and Rehkow from BYU, Virginia and Missouri.

Hawkins (6-1, 210) is the son of former WSU safety Ron Hawkins; Rehkow (6-4, 190) is the brother of Idaho’s all-world punter and kicker Austin Rehkow; and Talafili (6-3, 290) is a super-agile run stopper of Polynesian descent.

“When (Hawkins and Talafili) were sophomores I talked to both these guys about what they needed to do to get better for their senior year,” retired CV defensive coordinator Steve Kent told Cougfan.com this week. “They both looked at me and said ‘But coach, we’re going to be juniors.'

“I told them that, no, they weren’t. They’d started as freshmen, so that made them a year ahead of the rest of their class. These kids are heading into their second senior season.”

Both are strong, heady players, he said.

“I worked with Travis directly,” Kent said. “He’s a driven, focused kid. He’s a little introverted, but when he steps on the field he’s all business. Between the stripes there’s a look in his eyes that said ‘It’s time to play.’ He’s extremely coachable. If you tell him something he gets it immediately.”

Kent likens the way Hawkins plays to former West Valley/Spokane and Colorado standout Ty Gregorak (who is now the defensive coordinator at Montana State).

“He has that same kind of fire,” Kent said. “He has that ability to anticipate the play and he goes sideline-to-sideline well. He’s going to get some good looks.”

Hawkins also is a track athlete, running the 100 and 200, and that adds to his allure, Kent said.

Similarly, Talafili is a two-sport athlete. The fact he plays basketball at his size speaks volumes about his athletic ability, Kent said.

“This kid is a 300-pound kid and he’s out there running up and down the floor with the basketball team at Central Valley High School,” he said. “Making the basketball team at CV is no easy task.

“The first thing you notice about him is his sheer size and the fact that he has hair all the way down to his belt. He has good size and strength and he turned a lot of heads because of that …”

Now retired, Kent said he doesn’t have a sense of where his two defenders could end up, but he believes Talafili would thrive in the Polynesian community that WSU assistant head coach and defensive line coach Joe Salave’a has helped build at Washington State.

Both Hawkins and Talafili "have a chance to really shine” at the next level, he said.

As for Rehkow (pictured above with Hawkins), he looks to be following in the footsteps of his All-American older brother. Ryan routinely booms kickoffs into the end zone and connected on a 57-yard field goal last season. He was named All-Greater Spokane League as both kicker and punter and was named Associated Press All-State at punter. He already holds an offer from Idaho, where his brother will be entering his senior season this fall.

CLICK HERE to see every prospect from the state of Washington currently in the Scout.com database for the recruiting class of 2017.

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