The school, national powerhouse Long Beach Poly in Southern California, is a veritable football factory, producing outstanding talent like you can't believe. But seven guys -- still juniors, no less -- in one day? That's called making a big-time impression.
For the record, Biggins reports that the seven are defensive linemen Kevin Brown and Junio Lemau'u, linebacker Mark Washington, safety Freddie Parrish, quarterback/athlete Leon Jackson and offensive linemen Hercules Satele and Charles Owens. Check out PacwestFootball.com for all the latest West Coast recruiting news.
WHILE ALL EYES obviously are on the 2003 class of recruits, I'm still poring over the 2002 results and discovered an interesting little factoid. Tali Ena, the backup Cougar QB from Prosser who recently transferred to New Mexico, isn't the only Yakima Valley signal caller WSU lost over the winter.
Turns out that Andy Collins, a 6-2, 195-pounder who tossed for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for 577 more this past season at Class 1A Zillah High was all set to walk on in Pullman this fall. A lifelong Cougar fan, he turned down scholarship offers from Idaho, EWU and Portland State in order to fulfill his crimson dream.
And then the Oregon Ducks came calling. As the Tacoma News Tribune reported in February, Oregon recruiting coordinator Neal Zoumboukos stumbled, by accident, across a tape of Collins late in the recruiting process. He liked what he saw. So did Jim Tedford, the Duck QB coach. One thing led to another, Collins took a December trip to Eugene and committed when the scholarship offer was made
AND SPEAKING of talented in-state prep QBs, the one the Cougars did land --- State Player of the Year Carl Bonnell of Kentwood --- was characterized in the TNT by an unnamed former Pac-10 recruiting coordinator (can you say Dick Baird?) as being "a perfect fit" -- God forbid -- for the Huskies. He was likened to Marques Tuiasosopo, a dual-three signal caller with great leadership skills.
While on the topic of in-state quarterbacks, here's a name you're going to be hearing a lot this season: Johnny DuRocher of Bethel High in Spanaway. By all accounts, he's the second-coming of Bonnell -- a dual-threat, three-year starter at a South Puget Sound League powerhouse.
As a junior in 2001, the 6-4, 205-pounder led Bethel to a 12-1 record. The sole loss was to Bonnell's Kentwood team. DuRocher completed a whopping 69 percent of his passes for 2,300 yards. A second-team all league pick behind Bonnell, he's likely to be one of the top QB prospects in the West this upcoming recruiting season. He's also a standout in hoops.
LIGHTING UP THE ARENA LEAGUE: Former Fab Five Cougar receiver Chris Jackson is lighting up the Arena League this season. He was named the loop's offensive player of the week after a season opening effort of 12 catches for 146 yards and four TDs. The former Rookie of the Year winner also added a rushing touchdown in the Los Angeles Avengers' victory over the New York Dragons. And this past weekend he posted even bigger numbers -- 11 passes for a team-record 242 yards and five TDs.
Another former Cougar, Palouse Posse mainstay Torey Hunter, is also making hay in the Arena League. Apparently recovered from the knee injury that scuttled his stellar CFL career, he made his Arena debut with the Detroit Fury a memorable one by posting five tackles and picking off a pass. Hunter, by the way, was recently named to the All-Time WSU Bowl Team, as picked by CF.C. Hunter was a standout in WSU's Alamo Bowl win over Baylor in 1994.
As near as we can tell, the only other Cougar in the Arena League this season is QB Chad DeGrenier, a back up with the Arizona Rattlers. Legendary Rattler receiver Calvin Schexnayder, a '92 Copper Bowl Cougar, is sidelined with an injured ACL. QB Aaron Garcia, a record-setter with the New York Dragons, signed a free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers, and Rose Bowl receiver Kevin McKenzie, a San Jose Sabercat, recently was picked up by the Oakland Raiders.