Cougars' Curtis Connection grows by 312 pounds

THE CURTIS CONNECTION, a legendary pipeline of football talent flowing to Washington State from Tacoma's Curtis High over the years, has added another name to the list of luminaries that includes such crimson icons as C.J. Davis, Torey Hunter and Mike Levenseller. Senior offensive lineman Grady Maxwell, the cousin of Marcus Trufant, becomes the sixth known verbal -- and second offensive lineman in the last two weeks -- in WSU's 2006 recruiting class.

The 6-3, 312-pounder Maxwell verbally committed to the Cougars yesterday according to sources close to Curtis High. He follows closely on the heels of Gig Habor hoss Micah Hannam.

"Cousin Marcus's success at Washington State obviously had a big influence on Grady, who became a Cougar fan at an early age and had a solid experience at the WSU summer camp," said the source, who went on to say Maxwell had initially wanted to see what other offers might develop but after thinking further on it, concluded Washington State was far and away the best option.

Longtime Curtis head coach Bob Lucey says Maxwell is as good as you get, comparing him to Yauger Williams, the highly recruited Curtis lineman of the early 1990s who signed with Cal and then had his career ended by a chronic knee injury. Lucey, who has been at Curtis since 1971 and whose teams have won four 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."

Maxwell was offered by the Cougars at their June summer camp.

"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, who 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.

Academically, Maxwell has already passed the SAT, basically rolling out of bed one morning without spending time studying for it beforehand. "I totally forgot I was taking it," said Maxwell.

  • 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 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.

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