RECRUITING: Elusive, and a big name too

UP AND DOWN every Pac-10 roster, you'll find them. Players who don't have prototype size but who have become a key cog in the starting lineup. Aaron Pflugrad isn't the tallest or biggest guy on the field -- but he just makes plays. Coming off a state title, he's seeing interest from among others, Washington State. Where he plays his senior season in high school, however, has yet to be determined.

Pflugrad (5-10, 170, 4.52), is the son of former WSU assistant Robin Pflugrad who left for Oregon this offseason after five years in Pullman. Washington State, Oregon, BYU, Eastern Washington, Montana State and Northern Arizona are among the schools showing early interest.

The WR/PR will likely also play some cornerback this season but whether that's in Pullman under coach Bob Wollan, or down south, is a decision he's struggling with.

"It would be a really hard thing to leave," said the younger Pflugrad. "Obviously with winning the state championship, we were more than just a team. It's really a family atmosphere. Coach Wollan, he's been awesome. He's been one of the most influential people in my life. He'd be really hard to leave."

Sheldon, South Eugene and Marist were among those he took a look at during spring break down to Oregon.

WHAT SETS PFLUGRAD apart, among other things, are his hands and elusiveness, says Wollan.

"What makes him special out on the field is everything he does off the field," said Wollan. "Aaron is probably one of the hardest working, most dedicated players I've ever had the opportunity to be around. As far as his training, routine, attention to details and studying film, he puts himself in position to have great success on the field.

"He's not real big but he has tremendous hands and his ability to make people miss after he gets the ball is just phenomenal."

HIS JUNIOR SEASON, Pflugrad hauled in 30 receptions for 781 yards with 13 TDs. Those numbers were mostly compiled early in the game -- Pullman didn't throw often in the second halves during the 14-0 championship campaign.

In the title game, Pullman had difficulty running the ball for the first time all season. Pflugrad's first touchdown came on a fourth-and-five play where he made the safety miss. But it was his second touchdown with time running down that had the crowd buzzing. And they're still buzzing to this day.

"The last touchdown catch with a couple minutes to go in the game is probably one of the best plays you're ever going to see," said Wollan, whose Greyhounds captured their first state title with a 28-24 victory this past season.

Pflugrad took an out pattern designed to squeak out enough yardage for a first down. Thirty five yards later and with a cadre of would-be tacklers in his wake, Pflugrad reached the end zone to put Pullman up for good with 2:20 to play.

"We figure he made five guys miss," said Wollan. "It's one of those types of plays I still get goose bumps talking about it. And it's a play that people talk about a lot when I run into people around the state. 'How about that Pflugrad play?!'"
(CF.C will have that play and other Pflugrad highlights available on his player page soon.)

For his 106 yard, two touchdown performance in the championship game, Pflugrad was named the WIAA/Seattle Times 2A State Athlete of the Week.

OVER THE RECRUITING year, there are bound to be questions about Pflugrad's size. But Wollan says he's D-I material.

"His straight ahead time is pretty good but his lateral movement is about as good as it gets," said Wollan. "He's great in traffic, he's tough and the thing about him is he's (clutch)...I just think that whatever system he ends up in, they'll find a way to utilize his talents.

"Whoever gets him is going to be pretty lucky."

Aaron Pflugrad profile

NOTES:
Pflugrad, also a standout on the hardcourt, was among the state leaders in steals this season.

The Pullman quarterback who threw the passes to Pflugrad is J.T. Levenseller, son of Washington State offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller. Look for a profile on the 6-1, 175-pounder who was named after WSU quarterbacking legend Jack Thompson soon.


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