Cougs have helmet cracking prodigy in Freitag

ONE OF THE more respected prep coaches in the Evergreen State, Bob Bourgette has been on staff at Burien's Kennedy High for 34 seasons. In that time, he's never seen a better offensive lineman than one who will sign with the Cougars tomorrow -- Kevin Freitag. Keep in mind that Bourgette, with a 119-17 record in his 12 seasons as Kennedy's head man, also tutored WSU Hall of Famer Mike Utley.

Bourgette sees the incredulous looks when he talks about Kevin Freitag, one of only four prepsters in the entire state, along with future Cougar Marshall Lobbestael, to be named a Seattle Times Blue Chip. People who haven't seen Freitag (6-3, 296) on the gridiron do a double take when Bourgette mentions the four helmets the offensive lineman broke this season.

Mouths really drop open, though, when he tell them Freitag is further along at this stage than another Cougar great he coached -- two time All American Mike Utley.

IT WOULD SEEM an elite safety or linebacker, someone who has a running head start, would have a better chance to crack a couple helmets than would an offensive lineman. And four of them? True story. Freitag broke four Schutt helmets this year.

"He is so aggressive," says Bourgette. "And people don't believe me. He's just a fierce, fierce player. We had to bring an extra helmet everywhere and for the last part of the year, we had to bring two extra helmets for him because of it. That's just the way he plays. It baffled me and it baffled the manufacturers."

Others, too. At clinics, Bourgette says, they can't get enough about the helmets story.

"I can show you film. I'm not a guy who gives you the, 'Oh he had this many pancake blocks', because everyone is just (embellishing) anyway but I can literally show you his film. And anyone who played against Kevin Freitag, they all talked about him. He was a man amongst boys. He completely controlled the line of scrimmage. It was unbelievable what he did this year," said Bourgette.

BOURGETTE RECEIVED JUST as much skepticism about others statements he's made about Freitag, comparing him to Mike Utley. Not from Utley, though.

"Oh, I got all kinds of flak about that," said Bourgette. "And Mike laughs about it. Mike was a two time All-American, but Mike was a better defensive player than he was on offense. Mike then was about 6-7 and 220 pounds but he was so aggressive and cat-quick, he played more defense for us. But as far as an offensive, high school lineman, at this point of his career, Kevin is ahead.

"Obviously, he would sure have a great career if ended up a two time All-American but at this time, at this stage, yes, Kevin was better. Kevin benches what is he up to now, 400 pounds. He's a whole different kind of kid. And obviously, Kevin has a ways to go if he's going to measure up down the road because Mike Utley was the greatest lineman we've ever had at Kennedy for what he did in the future."

BOURGETTE TICKS OFF a long list of items that make Freitag special and why he might just measure up after his collegiate playing days at Wazzu are done -- his willingness to work at something until he gets it right, that he's a perfectionist, his knowledge of the game and the amount of time he studies it. A pair of amazingly quick feet, his pad level and advanced technique -- the list goes on.

"My coaches did a great job with him but he did that all through hard, hard work. He has all the things you're looking for in an offensive linemen. I think he'll be either a guard or a center in college and I think he'd be a great guard," said Bourgette.

There's also Freitag's off field attributes. Bourgette said Freitag is someone who by example. He's not afraid to get up and tell the group something, but he's "just such a nice kid," according to Bourgette.

"See, people don't know all these things about him," said Bourgette. T"he time he donates to kids around this area here, the things he does for people, he doesn't talk about these things and people don't know. We have a retirement home across the street and he's been over there, just helping people out. He was the first guy who was over to my house when I had neck surgery this past summer to see how I was -- that's the type of guy he is."

SOME WILL LOOK at Freitag's name tomorrow on CF.C's continually updated listing of received Letters of Intent to WSU and see a guy rated 2-stars with one Pac-10 offer but Bourgette said his early commitment -- he was the first Cougar '07 verbal commitment this past June -- and resolute nature had a lot to do with that.

"He was so frustrated because he just wanted to get this thing all taken care of -- that's just the way he is. He was going to Eugene to their camp and I got a call from Timm Rosenbach asking how I get hold of him. And Oregon was going to offer him, too," said Bourgette.

Bourgette got hold of Freitag after he got to the hotel in Eugene and plugged his phone in. Bourgette told him he'd been offered by Washington State. And Freitag called Rosenbach, accepted the offer and then left Eugene, without ever going to the Ducks' camp.

"I asked him 'Well, what do you think' and he said Washington State was great, and that was it. Didn't spend the night, didn't go to camp, turned the car around," said Bourgette.

LOOKING AHEAD to how Freitag will progress at WSU, Bourgette said the match of George Yarno and Freitag is one made in heaven.

"He's the type of athlete that George Yarno is going to love because he's a get dirty, in your face, get after 'em, do exactly as he's told guy. He can handle a lot of pressure, and George expects a lot out of his people. He's a vocal guy, he wants it done and he wants it done the Cougar way, the George Yarno way, and that's what this guy is going to do," he said.

Kevin Freitag profile

As part of our Wall to Wall Signing Day Coverage, Washington State recruiting coordinator Greg Peterson will be taking questions from CF.C subscribers in the ChatRoom on Letter of Intent Day. The special lunchtime chat with subscribers begins at 12:30 pm on Wednesday. Don't miss it!

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