JC quarterback fulfills dream, heading to WSU

TURNS OUT THERE IS a quarterback in Washington State's incoming recruiting class. Garrett Congdon, an intriguing JC prospect tutored by an old Cougar QB, is headed to Pullman as an invited walk on. The strong-armed kid from Sacramento – dubbed by his prep coach as a bona fide Pac-10 prospect - will be suiting up for WSU when fall camp opens in early August. He'll have four years to play three.

Congdon, a 6-3 ½, 230-pound pocket passer, was a two-year starter at Sacramento's Sheldon High from 2003-04. Collectively over those two seasons he threw for more than 2,000 yards and earned second-team all-league honors as a senior. But he was hamstrung by a struggling program and a wing-T offense, and drew only casual recruiting interest from smaller programs such as Idaho State and San Diego.

"Our school was fairly new and had struggled in football. Then I came in with a new offense that was suited to the rest of the team but didn't showcase Garrett," said Sheldon head coach Ed Lombardi. "Garrett is intelligent, hard working and has a rocket for an arm, but we didn't have much of a line and our receivers just couldn't get it done.

"Now look at what he did last season in junior college, surrounded by quality athletes and running the West Coast offense. He raised his level of play almost instantly."

Indeed he did. While Congdon missed three games due to a shoulder injury that he says is now 100 percent healed, he threw for 1,780 yards and 13 TDs at Sacramento City College and produced a glossy quarterback rating of 128.9.

"He was a kid who had a lot of potential," Sacramento City College head coach Mike Clemons told the Sacramento Bee last season. "He just needed an opportunity to get in there and let it fly. Sometimes you find the sleepers like that."

At SCC, Congdon's offensive coordinator was Dave Muir, a backup WSU quarterback on the 1998 Rose Bowl team.

"I really developed under Coach Muir," Congdon said. "He sent film to WSU and they liked what they saw."

Congdon tripped to Pullman for the annual Crimson & Gray game in April, and the deal was sealed.

"WSU is great fit for me. They're cool people up there. I met Coach Doba, Coach Rosie (Timm Rosenbach), Coach Levenseller, pretty much the whole staff, and Alex Brink.

"The campus is beautiful and I liked the town," he said. "The coaches are down to earth. They said they'd give me every opportunity to prove myself. Five starters on the (1998) Rose Bowl team were walk-ons, so they give you a chance."

In addition to WSU, Congdon was invited to walk on at Oregon State and SMU.

WHILE CLEMONS, HIS JC coach, isn't thrilled his starter is leaving a year early, Congdon –- a full qualifier out of high school with an 1130 SAT score and 3.35 core GPA -– said the goal of JC ball is to get to the next level and that's what his year at SCC allowed him to do.

"Since I was a little kid I've dreamed of playing in the Pac-10. I went to junior college to get to the Pac-10," he said. "This is a dream. If I can show what I've got, I think I can get to the next step and earn a scholarship."

SCC assistant coach Danny Walker says Congdon is "a phenomenal talent." He has poise in the pocket, reads defenses well, throws a nice long ball and has "developed more zip on the ball," Walker noted this week.

Lombardi characterizes Congdon as a student of the game, a weight room junkie (he's put on 32 pounds since high school) and a good citizen. "He is going to impress the coaching staff. He definitely has the athletic talent to play in the Pac-10," he said. "With his commitment and talent, he'll be fighting for the starting job in two years."


* Congdon's younger brother, Marshall, will be a freshman linebacker at UC-Davis this fall.

* Among other invited walk ons coming to WSU in August will be Desmond Murff, an all-league receiver and safety for Class 4A Texas state champion Hebron High. Murff was a three-year standout at Hebron who turned down a scholarship offer from Wyoming. He'll play strong safety at WSU.

* The Cougars will have five quarterbacks on the roster this season: Congdon, Brink, third-year sophomore Gary Rogers, and second-year freshmen Arkelon Hall and Cole Morgan.

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