How good is '08 grid crop in Evergreen State?

FOR FANS OF football's recruiting game, the notion of the athletic kid down the block playing for your alma mater is like a siren call. If a prospect's telephone prefix is 206, 360 or 509, the faithful turbo-charge his stock. But objectively speaking, how does the new crop of in-staters shape up? For answers, we turned to two Pac-10 coaches with a combined 33 years recruiting the Evergreen State.

At the recent King County Cougar Golf Classic co-sponsored by, Washington State offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller -- who has 15 years of experience recruiting the Evergreen State -- gave his assessment of this year's in-state class.

It's definitely a solid year, he says, for prep talent in the state, but he stopped short of calling it -- as some pundits have -- the best in recent memory.

"This is a good year -- better than last year. I wouldn't say, historically speaking, it's the best," said Levenseller. "There have been some very good years in the state. One year, just in the corridor between Tacoma and Vancouver, there were 13 Division I-A kids. But this is a good year."

Levenseller has been recruiting the state since 1992.

As the former recruiting coordinator at Washington State, Arizona State and Montana, and now as an assistant at Oregon, Robin Pflugrad has been closely involved in recruiting the state for 18 years.

"I would say it's an extremely solid year and the thing that makes it intriguing is you have quality players at most each and every position," he said. "In some years, you might have great receivers, or great linemen, but I think you have a solid year this year at virtually every spot.

"There are quite a few prospects who are good enough athletes that they can play multiple positions at the college level," he noted.

SO HOW MIGHT ALL this translate when Letter of Intent Signing Day rolls around in February?

For answers, we turned to history and then looked to the future.

In 2007, 28 high school athletes from Washington signed Division I-A football letters of intent -- 17 of them going to Pac-10 schools. WSU signed the most, with seven.

In 2006, there were 34 D-IA signees in the state. Of them, 18 signed with Pac-10 schools. WSU again led the way, signing seven.

In 2005, 31 local prepsters signed with D-IA schools and of those, 17 went to the Pac-10. WSU (five) and UW (six) set the pace.

Now, looking ahead to the 2008 class, a check of the database shows it to be trending down the historic path. Right now 13 state of Washington high school seniors-to-be have at least one known Pac-10 offer -- a total, at this stage of the recruiting process, which would project the final tally to end up above the 17-18 Pac-10 signees of the last three years.

A comparison of players with a star rating between 3 and 5 also reveals some interesting -- although again, preliminary -- results.

2008  (As of June '07)          2007 (On Signing Day)
(1)  5-star prospect            (0) 5-star prospects
(4)  4-star prospects           (6) 4-star prospects
(11) 3-star prospects           (9) 3-star prospects
16 players rated 3 stars        15 players rated 3 stars  
or above, 54 total stars        or above, 51 total stars  

HERE ARE SEVERAL Evergreen State products -- all in the Cougar orbit -- who are helping to make the 2008 class a solid recruiting crop.

DE Trevor Guyton, (6-3, 271), Redmond High, Redmond, WSU offer
Guyton told CF.C recently of his thoughts towards Washington State; "I really like them. I like Pullman as a town and that it's just based around the college. I really like that, that college atmosphere. And (Logwone Mitz) is going to be there so I would have someone there I'm good friends with. And then coach (Mike) Walker is one of my favorite coaches, he's just an all-around good guy." Guyton will attend the WSU camp with his Redmond teammates later this month.

Kavario Middleton, DE/TE, (6-6, 240), Lakes High, Lakewood, WSU offer
The top rated recruit in the state and a national prospect, the 5-star recruit has said distance will likely play a factor in his decision. Also a D-IA basketball prospect.

Everette Thompson, DE, (6-5.5, 231), Kennedy High, Burien, WSU offer
He's said he probably won't be going to any school camps but is in the planning stages of scheduling unofficial visits for the summer. Calling himself "very open", hopes to narrow list down in the middle of summer, take his official visits and decide after his senior season.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, (6-2, 175), Lakes High, Lakewood, WSU offer
Kearse has said he grew up rooting for the local school, Washington, and favors them slightly over Washington State and others. He'll get a chance to find out more about WSU when he heads to the Cougars' camp later this month. Because Lakes High camps at Eastern just prior to the WSU camp, Kearse was undecided if he would head to Pullman but with Levenseller letting him know several times over the past few months they wanted him to come, he has now made plans to be there.

Gerald Hill, DE/TE, (6-3.5, 225), Curtis High, Tacoma
Boatloads of athleticism, Hill has distinguished himself at DE, TE, S, LB and QB and was the MVP of his basketball league. A broken foot earlier this year is still on the mend, precluding any camps or combines this spring and summer. Expected to be 100 percent by August, could be in line for plenty of in-season recruiting love.

Brandon Turner, WR, (6-3, 188), Kentridge High, Kent
The starting quarterback at Kentridge, he'll be a wide receiver or safety at the next level. Levenseller called him during the May Evaluation period and left a message. "He basically said they would love to have me out to their camp and get a good look at me and that they like me a lot," Turner, who will camp at Washington State, told recently.

Le'Roi Edwards, OL, (6-3.5, 253), Kentridge High, Kent
A Charger teammate of Turner's, Edwards says Washington State has been showing increasing interest and much could be decided later this month when he travels to Pullman to take part in the Cougars' summer youth camp. "Wazzu has heated up a little bit, but they also want to see me at camp too," said Edwards.

Cougfan Top Stories