Recruiting '07: Mead at centerstage again?

IT MAY BE A LITTLE premature to call Spokane's Mead High a football factory. But on the heels of a senior class that just saw three Panthers sign Division I-A letters of intent comes a junior class with four players who could be earning major college football scholarships a year from now.

Mead head coach Sean Carty says Mike Magee (OL/DL) and classmates Emilio Sulpizio (center), Nick Proen (DB/WR) and Chris Jones (LB/RB) need to continue working hard if they are to follow outgoing Panthers Andy Mattingly, Skylar Jessen and Paul Senescall into the Division I-A ranks, but all have the potential to draw serious looks from college recruiters.

Earlier this month, Senescall signed with Idaho while Mattingly and Jessen signed with Washington State, where they will be joining yet two more Mead products: starting offensive lineman Charles Harris and backup defensive tackle Mark Matthey.

UP FRONT, OT/DT Magee played at 300 pounds as a junior but just concluded his wrestling season in the 275-pound weight class. He'll likely play at 290 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame this fall. Magee has good instincts, taking the correct angles and finishing his blocks well, says Carty.

"He's still learning, but he's really good at getting at linebackers and sticking on them," said Carty. "When he hits a guy he goes through him."

The first part of that sentence is probably the most important, says Carty. Magee is a good lineman now but with work, he can become very good. Wrestling has helped him use his feet better, and when he hones his football technique further, Carty says he can become the full package.

Magee earned all-league honors in 2005. And at the Mat Classic wrestling event last year, he took seventh in the state.

MAGEE'S LINEMATE INSIDE, Sulpizio, also earned all-league honors this past season -- an accomplishment in the Greater Spokane League for any junior, said Carty.

"The Big Italian" checks in at 6-3, 285 pounds. He already has been mentioned by an eastside newspaper as a darkhorse candidate for Offensive MVP in the GSL.

Washington State and Washington have both shown early interest in Sulpizio and Magee, said Carty. A UW coach stopped by Mead recently to ask Carty about the pair and in particular, Sulpizio.

PROEN IS A DEFENSIVE back/wide receiver who's already seeing interest from the usual suspects, including Oregon. A second-team all- league selection, Proen's play, and stats, just as easily could have merited first-team honors, said Carty.

The 6-1, 190-pound Proen picked off five passes in 2005, placing him third all-time on Mead's single season list. He'll enter his senior campaign in a tie for sixth at Mead all-time.

"He's spectacular," said Carty. "He's a great defensive back who has a great feel and does everything right. He's always in the right place, and he's a great tackler. And then he catches touchdowns."

Proen likely projects at safety at the college level, but he could also has the skills to make his mark as a possession receiver.

GETTING HIS CHANCE to shine this season after backing up three future D-IA players last season, linebacker and fullback Jones (5-11, 195).

There were seven Division I athletes who came out of Spokane last year. Carty makes the point the players in the pipeline behind them are also pretty good.

"He was a halfback but we had Skylar," said Carty. "He's good enough to play fullback and linebacker but we had Paul, and he was good enough to play safety but we had Andy. We got him in and he performed great in a back up role."

One of the first things that leaps out about Jones is his speed, said Carty. He was nicked up when the 40 times were run at Mead last year so quantification will have to wait until later this spring "but he's fast, I know that," said Carty.

All four will benefit by hitting the camp circuit and getting exposure but perhaps none more than Jones, given his limited playing time in '05.

"He's going to need summer exposure and a great senior year, and he's completely capable of that," said Carty.

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