Mead standouts like the Cougs

SPOKANE'S MEAD HIGH has at least three seniors-to-be getting serious looks from Division I recruiters, and two of them -- Paul Senescall and Andy Mattingly -- say they already have a frontrunner.

Mattingly, a 6-4, 215-pound safety/receiver and Senescall, a 6-1, 215-pound fullback/linebacker each has an early leader -- Washington State. Both have camped at WSU in summers past and that's clearly made a strong impression. With the Washington State campus a little more than an hour away, the idea of playing close to home is very appealing.

"I really like the coaches there," said Mattingly. "You know how some coaches like you as a person, too? I talked with coach (Bill) Doba and it wasn't just all about football. He talked about other things too, a really cool guy."

"I've been to WSU a whole lot and I really like it there," Senescall adds. "The campus, the program, everything is great."

Along with running back/safety Skylar Jessen, Mead has a trio of Division I prospects but coach Sean Carty is quick to mention they'll go only so far as the young linemen and their surrounding teammates will take them.

SAFETY COULD BE Mattingly's calling at the next level but don't rule out tight end or outside linebacker -- he's a big hitter with speed.

He also has a pair of big ol' mitts and has turned the act of an improbable one handed grab into an art form.

"Great hands," said Carty. "Some of the best hands we've ever had."

Mattingly has family down in Colorado and has taken a trip through Oregon with his parents recently. Although WSU is his top choice, the campuses at Boulder and Eugene definitely fit his eye.

"I really liked it down there (at Oregon)," he said. Someone who actively enjoys the outdoors, Mattingly said Oregon and Colorado in particular have a lot to offer in that regard.

Mattingly's current plans for spring and summer include attending junior day at Oregon plus a few different camps -- including Washington State's. Mattingly's early list of favorites besides WSU includes Colorado, Oregon State, Washington and Oregon.

His junior year, he had 90 tackles (56 solo), 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Over his career Mattingly has 162 career tackles (112 solo), currently sixth all-time at Mead. He also has 4 career INTs.

At 6-foot-4, Mattingly has good speed, running a 4.6 in the 40 on grass.

On the other side of the ball this past season, Mattingly had 30 catches for 401 yards and 4 TDs. Being split out wide, he carried the ball sparingly for the Panthers but Mattingly certainly made the most of his opportunities. Of his 4 carries, 3 of them went for scores as he gained 116 yards.

On his career, Mattingly has 40 catches and 500 receiving yards.

IT WON'T SHOW up on any stat sheet pulled from a NIKE camp. You can't really quantify it. But whatever "it" is that made players like Dick Butkus and John Riggins great, Senescall has it.

Carty said Senescall won't do the things athletically that some other players might, but he provides ample evidence every time he steps on the turf that he might actually the better football player.

"He's one of those guys that when you watch film, he's the guy you notice first," said Carty. "He's a load. He plays like that old linebacker/fullback -- that mean, old style type of guy."

Would-be tacklers have certainly noticed Senescall, trying in vain to get through his lead when Jessen is carrying the ball. As is the case with most throwbacks who love contact, throwing the perfect block can be just as satisfying as crossing the goal line.

"I like playing fullback because I like to block," said Senescall. "I like making my "key blocks" -- so Sky can do what he can do."

Mead keeps track of "key blocks", those that allow the ballcarrier to take it to the house. His junior season, Senescall threw 6 of them. He also carried the ball 73 times for 440 yards, 2 TDs and had 1 receiving TD as well.

In concert with his performance out of the backfield, Senescall's performance at linebacker helped him earn Mead's MVP and Rock of the Year awards as a junior.

A two year starter on defense, Senescall led the Panthers in tackles with 103 (55 solo), 10 TFL, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. He'll enter his senior season as the 3rd leading tackler in Mead history, with 197 sticks. Over his prep career, Senescall has 18 TFL and 4 sacks.

Senescall is also an outstanding wrestler, taking the Regional title with a 12-6 win over the eventual state runner up. With the wrestling season now in the books, Senescall will now be working on improving his football speed and strength this offseason.

Invited to junior day at Oregon, Senescall also has plans to attend the NIKE camp in Eugene. Along with his Mead Teammates, he'll also be traveling to Pullman for the Cougs' summer camp. Wanting to stay close to home, Senescall's early list is heavy on in-state and northwest schools -- WSU, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Boise State, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Like his teammate Mattingly, Senescall will be looking at a school's academics and the coaching staff in making his decision.

"I'd like a coach that challenges me," said Senescall, echoing the thoughts of his teammate Mattingly. "Someone who will bring me to a new level, and is also supportive."

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