Cougs offer QB with rapid-fire release

AFTER PASSING ON quarterbacks in its 2006 class, Washington State is in the market for a field general this recruiting cycle. On Tuesday, the Cougars offered a scholarship to a signal caller out of California -- one whom his prep coach says has all the right moves including a very quick release, strong character and an innate ability to make the winning plays.

Dan Klein (6-3, 190, 4.75), out of Anaheim, received the Cougars' offer from assistant coach Timm Rosenbach. Klein has been the starting quarterback at Servite High since his sophomore year.

He said his scholarship-offer phone conversation with Rosenbach went well.

"He's a nice guy, they're in the Pac-10 and I know all those teams are great programs up there," said Klein.

He is the second known quarterback offered by Washington State, joining Kennewick's Jason Munns. Versatile athlete Kellen Kiilsgaard is classified as a QB by Scout but has been offered by WSU as a receiver.

WHAT MAKES KLEIN special according to his prep coach are his quarterbacking skills, which include a lightning-quick release, combined with intangibles.

"There are probably a lot of quarterbacks who throw the ball well and have good accuracy and arm strength but I think what separates the guys who are going to be successful at the next level is their character and the intangibles," said Servite High coach Troy Thomas. "I've never been around a high school quarterback who had those things so early."

Thomas has been coaching in the prep and college ranks 14 years, including three seasons at Hawaii and a year with Pat Hill at Fresno State.

AS A JUNIOR, Klein was challenged by an offensive line beset by injuries as the protection was inconsistent. Two of those games, said Thomas, serve to illustrate Klein's ability to overcome adversity.

"He got smacked early against Poly in the first half, and in overtime against St. John Bosco he just got whacked," said Thomas. "In both cases, he came back and made huge plays. He threw two strikes in the Bosco game to win and in the second half against Poly he threw three touchdown passes."

IN ADDITION TO Washington State, Klein holds offers from Cal and UNLV. Oregon, UCLA, Boston College, Washington, Arizona, ASU, Stanford, Utah, BYU and Wyoming are all showing various shades of recruiting love. Klein said he has no frontrunners but mentioned Cal as one high on his list because of Jeff Tedford's reputation for molding quarterbacks.

Maintaining a 3.4 GPA in a curriculum that includes college prep classes, Klein also holds a baseball offer from UCLA. With a fastball that has touched 92 mph, Klein's not ready to rule out a career on the diamond at the next level but said playing quarterback and being a pitcher would be a tough combination.

Klein also said he probably doesn't want to go too far from home with coaching, a strong football program and an offense that fits him well being other key factors.

"We run the spread here so something where I'm moving around and throwing the ball a lot would be nice," said Klein.

LAST SEASON WAS Klein's first running the zone option at Servite. He picked it up faster than expected.

"It was all new to him but once he figured out how to make the read and got some confidence in his running ability, he did really well," said Thomas. "He's not a burner or anything but by the end of the season, he was really a threat to run the ball, He had some really nice runs."

Klein rushed for 404 yards on 80 carries and four TDs in '05. Through the air, he went 146-for-235 with 2,005 yards and 15 TDs. For his efforts, he was named co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Serra League by the Orange County Register.

"He makes all the throws, his footwork is good and he has such a quick release," said Thomas. "That's one of the things the coaches have said they really like coming to watch him on film."

Dan Klein profile

Another D-I prospect at Servite this season is offensive lineman Garrett Pendergast. The 6-4, 271-pounder holds offers from Washington and Colorado State with Thomas saying he expects additional schools to climb on board in the not too distant future.

"There's going to be more," said Thomas. "He's not even close to what he's going to be."

Pendergast has only played football for three years, with just one season on the offensive line. As a sophomore, he manned the d-line but after injuries hit the o-line hard this past season, Pendergast was thrown into the breach with no experience, no training. He proceeded to make first team all-league. Last season was also his first year of not playing baseball, so it was the first time he was able to hit the weight room with any regularity.

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