Cougs eye Colorado hoss

WASHINGTON STATE has five known offers on the table to prep offensive linemen. One is to a Colorado hoss with whom WSU looks to be in line for an official visit later this fall. His prep coach says he hasn't scratched the surface as far as strength goes, and with good reason. Classroom and gridiron smarts, a quick pair of feet, impressive agility and a 5-flat 40 time are a few of the other things that set this student-athlete apart.

Besides the Cougs, Ian Wolfe (OT, 6-5, 270) holds scholarship offers from Oregon (first to offer), Wisconsin, Colorado State and Wyoming. Among those showing plenty of interest are Colorado, Stanford, Iowa State, Washington, ASU, UCLA, Cal, Kansas State, Michigan State and Illinois. This offseason, he's traveled to Colorado State for the Rams' junior day and participated in the Iowa State camp.

The Fort Collins, Col., lineman said the five offering schools are slightly ahead of the rest, but he remains open to everyone. He said Washington State intrigues him, as he's thinking might want to experience something new and away from the nest. WSU, Wisconsin and Oregon are likely to get official visits later this fall. Coach Robb Akey is recruiting Wolfe for the Cougs.

"I like him a lot," said Wolfe, noting all the college coaches he's spoken to have been great. Stanford's Tom Freeman was another who's stood out.

AMONG THE FACTORS which will influence Wolfe's decision, his relationship with the coaches, location, academics and state of the football program. Wolfe is an exceptional student, with a 3.67 GPA, and has achieved a qualifying score on the SAT. He'd like to play for an offensive line coach who knows how to get the best out of him, saying a decision will likely come after the season.

"I'd like to play for a coach that will push me, but will know what direction to push," said Wolfe. "(A decision) probably won't be until the end of the season, unless there's a school that really stands out."

WHAT ALSO STANDS OUT about Wolfe, his long wingspan and that he's run a 5.0 in the 40. And there's this -- he's become a highly sought prospect without having had some of the same opportunities as other top big men.

This coming fall, for the first time, Fort Collins High will offer a weightlifting class.

Fort Collins coach Eric Rice said its difficult to ask student-athletes who play other sports such as Wolfe, (baseball) to have to lift in the evening -- often after finishing up a spirited practice session.

"That's a huge disadvantage for kids that are multiple sport athletes," said Wolfe. "What quality of a lift can you get -- after practice -- at 5:30 at night when you know you've got homework and a lot of other things a high school kid has going on?...We just haven't given him the opportunity as a school to capitalize on that yet but like I said, finally this year its going to happen."

Rice said Lambkins offensive line coach Tom Cooper has been instrumental with Wolfe's development, and Wolfe agrees.

"He's helped me a lot with my steps and my feet," he said. "He's a great coach. I guess the biggest thing was to help me use what I have."

Ian Wolfe and coach Eric Rice

That being speed and technique. After he's had more of an opportunity to hit the weight room, Rice said "considerable strength" will be among Wolfe's attributes.

"Now, we'll be able to maximize his strength and lifting ability and I think he'll just be lights out as a ballplayer," said Rice. "Because he's got the footwork. And he'll now have the ability to add the strength and power to go along with that." "He can just be a dominant force. He can get out, move and block a guy, get him moved down the field. Plus, he can get to the second level 'backers who are usually pretty quick and he's able to get on them and move them, too."

WOLFE WAS NAMED first team all-conference and academic all-state his junior year. He also was voted junior MVP at Fort Collins. His senior year, he's also going to play some defensive tackle.

"His arms are just so long, we'll try to use him on defense a bit too," said Rice.

Wherever Wolfe ends up playing his college ball, Rice said they'll be getting a very good football player and a really fine individual.

"He's VERY agile and he's just a good kid, just a really great person," said Rice. "His work ethic is outstanding and he's very committed."

Washington State has known offers out to five prep offensive linemen: Wolfe, Steve Schilling, Cody Habben, Cleveland Jones and Grady Maxwell.

Tom Cooper's son is Jon Cooper, former Fort Collins offensive lineman who signed with Oklahoma in February.

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