RECRUITING '07: Cougs eye JC All-American

OF THE FIVE defensive ends listed on the pre-spring WSU depth chart, three will be seniors, one will be a junior and the other will have graduated by the time the 2007 season rolls around. One Cougar DE target this class is Luis Vasquez, a fast and physical JC difference maker. The 6-3, 250-pounder with 4.7 speed came to Arizona Western College as a linebacker but the staff put his hand down, placed him up front and the rest, as they say and as seen from the video within, is history.

Besides the Cougs, Oregon State and UNLV have offered Vasquez. Also charging hard are Arizona, ASU, Cal and Iowa State. Oregon State, Arizona, ASU and Cal have all been by Arizona Western in the past week.

"He's a difference maker," said Western Arizona coach James Pryor. "He has a great burst, he has great hands and he manages the end well."

As a freshman, Vasquez racked up 16 sacks among his 66 tackles over 10 games. The defensive end logged 13 QB hurries, 20 TFL for 48yds, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. For his efforts, he was named a NJCAA first-team All American, the NJCAA Region 1 Defensive MVP, and named WSFL first team . Vasquez was also the NJCAA Region Number 1 ranked football player overall.

VASQUEZ IS SLATED to graduate at the end of this year, making him eligible to enroll at a D-I school in January and take part in spring ball. He will have two-to-play-two at the next level.

"I really haven't looked (completely) at Washington State -- I went online a couple of times and it looks like a nice campus," said Vasquez. "It reminds me of back at home... With Oregon State, there's a couple people here from Oregon and they tell me it's nice out there, a nice little football community."

Defensive Coordinator Robb Akey is recruiting Vasquez for the Cougars, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh for Oregon State.

"I talk to coach Cavanaugh at Oregon State a lot, I call him once a week just to touch base and say Hi and see what's going on," said Vasquez. "And I talked to the coach from Washington State just the other day, actually. He's cool. He told me about their defense and about how they get to the quarterback in a passing conference and that's what I like."

Recruiting is in the early stages for Vasquez and he's concentrating more on final exams right at the moment, but he said he plans on taking visits to Washington State and OSU.

"I'm going to keep working out, keep working hard," said Vasquez. "That's what gotten me to this point and that's the thing that's going to keep carrying me."

VASQUEZ ORIGINALLY SIGNED with Purdue coming out of Ledyard High in Gales Ferry, Conn., but academic issues necessitates a JC detour. Since arriving at Western Arizona and being moved to defensive end, Vasquez has re-established himself and flourished -- both on the field and off.

"This guy volunteers -- he goes and helps read to kids, he put together a retaining wall for a professor on campus, he's a good kid," said Pryor. "He's a football player, the kind that people want."

Vasquez said distance will not be a factor in his decision. With a father in the Navy growing up, Vasquez has been all over the country.

"I've been at Connecticut, I've been in Indiana at Purdue, I went to a bunch of camps my junior year so I did the whole east coast and I was born in San Diego...I moved to Virginia, moved to New York and then to Connecticut," said Vasquez. "'Where' won't really affect me. More so, it will be the chance to play now.

"And I'm not only trying to get to another level, but I'm also trying to make everyone around me better, and therefore better as a team. And that's the kind of mindset I'm looking for."

Arizona Western is a program on the rise. Pryor says there are potentially four D-1 prospects on Arizona Western's d-line and 3-5 prospects at cornerback. Max Fairclough is a linebacker who is seeing early interest, including that from Washington State. Pryor requires a mandatory study hall and the results were plain to see. The team GPA was a 2.82 -- virtually unheard of for a junior college program.

"We hold our young men accountable socially and academically," says Pryor. "This is a good football program. We've been signing more high profile kids because of what we do with the young men, because of the high levels of accountability. We test their mettle so when a young man leaves Arizona Western College, he is a high caliber young man who is able to be an asset to the program he's going to go to."

Luis Vasquez profile
Luis Vasquez video

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