Recruiting '09: Intriguing group in Spokane

SPOKANE ISN'T FLASHY. But it is reliable. Last fall, when Cougar football recruiting was moving slower than ice cream sales in January, it was Ferris' Jared Karstetter and Mead's Dan Spitz who broke the ice. Indeed, the Lilac City has always produced solid grid talent and sent some fine ones down to Ol' Wazzu. Looking at the 2009 recruiting scene, Spokane again offers up some intriguing talent.

Two prospects who have the frames for college ball are Gonzaga Prep's Anthony Luna and Travis Long.

Luna (6-4, 275) was a first-team all-GSL center in 2007 and early projections are that he could wind up being one of the top three OL prospects in the state this recruiting cycle. He has good mobility and comes from a solid DNA pool -- his brother Greg played at the University of Toledo.

Long (6-5, 236) is a linebacker on defense and an H-back on offense. He was named second-team all-league at LB in 2007. He has excellent speed for a body his size and good mobility highlighted by his work carrying the pigskin.

Ferris, a GSL powerhouse in football and basketball in recent years, returns two athletic players with decent frames next season who could draw D-IA interest depending how they develop physically and on the field: Outside linebacker/running back Nathan Tonani (6-2, 190) and first-team all-league defensive end Elliott Bosch (6-2 ½, 210).

Another athletic outstanding high school defensive end who could fit at another position at the college level is Chris Mastin (6-1 ½, 200) of state champion Lewis & Clark.

At the skill positions, Mead receiver Ryane Laforte (6-2, 195) is the guy to watch in the GSL this season. He was a first-team all-league pick in 2007. He's also a standout in track, with 4.5 speed in the 40. He accompanied Spitz on an unoffical visit to Pullman last fall.

• Two of the great quarterbacks in Cougar history – Lewis & Clark's Butch Meeker (1925-27) and Shadle Park's Mark Rypien (1981-85) – hailed from the Lilac City. So did two of the finest receivers in WSU history -- Rogers' Don Ellingsen (1956-58) and Lewis & Clark's Gail Cogdill (1957-59). Gogdill would go on to become NFL Rookie of the Year in 1960.

• Two of the legendary kickers in Cougar lore were Spokane guys – Gonzaga Prep's Joe Danelo (1971-74) and Mead's Jason Hanson (1988-91).

• Three mainstays on WSU's 1998 Rose Bowl team were Spokanites: linebacker Steve Gleason of Gonzaga Prep; defensive lineman Shane Doyle of Shadle; and center Cory Withrow of Mead.

• Six Spokane Cougars earned first-, second-, third-team All-American honors while in crimson. Four were Lewis & Clark graduates: lineman Harold Ahlskog (first-team All-America in 1930); defensive back Bill Gaskins (second-team in 1965); guard Dan Lynch (first-team in 1984); and safety Erik Coleman (third-team in 2003). In addition, Hanson was named first-team All-America in 1989 and 1991 and third-team in 1990, while Ellingsen was a third-team choice in 1957. Another LC product, tackle Johnny Bley, was named All-West Coast in 1935, which would be equivalent to a second-team All-America honor today.

• One of the cornerstones of coach Lone Star Dietz's three amazing WSU teams that went a collective 17-2-1 between 1915-17 was a Spokane product: running back/defensive back Dick Hanley.

Jerry Williams, from North Central High, was a record-setting back and return specialist at WSU in the 1940s, and went on to become an NFL All-Pro with the Rams and later a highly respected head coach in the NFL and CFL.

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