Recruiting '06: Tacoma hoss has Cougar connection

THE CURTIS CONNECTION, a legendary pipeline of football talent flowing to Washington State from Tacoma's Curtis High over the years, may be poised to add another name to the list of luminaries that includes such crimson icons as C.J. Davis, Torey Hunter and Mike Levenseller. The Vikings boast a senior-to-be offensive lineman whom Curtis coach Bob Lucey says is good as they get. And get this: The youngster's cousin is Marcus Trufant.

Grady Maxwell (6-3, 312) is one of three potential Division I-A prospects who will suit up for the Vikings in 2005. The mammoth hoss has yet to receive a scholarship offer, but that looks to bet just a matter of time, says the legendary Lucey, because the kid ranks up there with the very best he's coached in his nearly three decades at the Curtis helm. "The last player I've had that I would compare him to is Yauger Williams," said Lucey.

Williams was the state of Washington's prep Lineman of the Year as a senior in '92. A highly sought prospect, he played for Cal until a chronic knee injury ended what was a very promising football career. Lucey, who has been at Curtis since 1971 and whose teams have won 4 state championships in the last 15 years, says Maxwell is cut from the same cloth as the former high school All-American.

"Grady has great speed," said Lucey. "He's a great left tackle, outstanding both in run and pass blocking. He has great feet -- exceptionally quick feet."

Wide receiver Brendon Waiters, 6-2, 195-pounds, and quarterback Jordan Rasmussen, 6-4, 200-pounds, who we'll be profiling later on CF.C, are also receiving early attention from Division 1 schools.

MAXWELL, WHO DOES not have a leader, has designs on a Pac-10 career and says Stanford, Oregon and Washington are sending the most mail right now. Two schools he's looking forward to hearing from more are Washington State and Cal, the latter because he's always liked watching the Golden Bears on offense, WSU because of the familiarity and memories he has of Trufant's star turn in Pullman.

"Washington State, I've been there, I've seen it," said Maxwell. "I used to hang out with Marcus at the facilities and watch the practices. I've just always been a fan of Washington State because my cousin went there."

One home game during Trufant's career, one of the WSU staff members spotted Maxwell and thought he was a recruit on a visit that weekend. Maxwell, who has always been big for his age group, had to tell the coach he was only in the 7th grade.

"He is a load," said Lucey. "And he is just a great human being. He has great presence, leadership and he is a great competitor."

PART OF A very close extended family, Trufant spends much of his free time with Maxwell -- the first night we tried to reach him we ended up talking to Grady Sr. for a bit as the younger Grady was over at the Seahawk cornerback's home.

Maxwell says Trufant has helped him immeasurably both on and off the field, regularly calling to check on how he's doing school-wise, talking football and attending as many of Curtis' games as his schedule allows.

"He's always encouraging me," said Maxwell of the Seahawks No. 1 draft choice (11th pick overall) in 2003. "He's always supported me as much as anyone possibly can, (despite the fact) he's really busy. He's come to my games whenever he can."

Trufant's also introduced him to Seattle teammates such as Walter Jones, oft-mentioned as the top left tackle in the NFL. The two lineman have talked about hard work, what college is like and the mental part of the game and it's importance to an offensive lineman.

FACTORING INTO HIS college choice, Maxwell wants to get a general feeling on how the fit would be -- the coaching staff, the football program and especially a school's academics and programs. He's leaning towards majoring in Business.

Academically, Maxwell has already passed the SAT. Because he basically rolled out of bed one morning and didn't spend time for studying for it beforehand, both he and his father want him to take it again despite the fact he's already received the qualifying score. "I totally forgot I was taking it," said Maxwell. "Oh, definitely I want to take it again."

At the next level, Maxwell hopes to play for someone who is dedicated to making him and his teammates better, a coach who will build the camaraderie within the unit and challenge the linemen to be their best. In short, someone like Curtis' offensive line coach who just came on board last year.

"The kind of position coach I'd like to play for is the like the one I have right now, his name is B.J. Robinson," said Maxwell. "He puts as much effort into it if not more as we do. He's changed our whole offensive game around...He gets down to business on the field, but off the field, he has a sense of humor."

To further build unity, Robinson suggested the linemen all get together the night before the game. It's now a regular event, with the Curtis line playing cards and strengthening bonds the evening before the Friday night wars.

This offseason, Maxwell is keenly focused on improving his speed, endurance and building up more leg strength. He's also on a nutritional program designed to get him into fighting trim well before he begins his senior season.

But before Curtis takes the field, he'll be traveling to Oregon for the Ducks' junior day and over to Pullman in June for the Cougs' summer camp.

Notes:
  • The connections between Washington State and Curtis High run so deep, you could put together one heck of a WSU secondary from the Vikings alone. Some of the more notable Curtis alumni who have suited up for the crimson and gray include: Hunter, Davis, Virgil Williams, Singor Mobley, Deron Pointer and of course, Mike Levenseller, who was a phenomenal defensive back and wide receiver. Levenseller apparently still holds the SPSL season record with 16 interceptions.


  • Coach Levy's brother, Steve Levenseller, is an assistant coach at Curtis.

  • Carlton Coard (5-11, 185), senior-to-be wide receiver for Washington State, also did his prep turn at Curtis.



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