Six-foot-seven Spokane target has a leader

HE'S VISITED Washington State quite a bit, both last year and this spring, and he has a WSU offer in his back pocket. But his unofficial visit this past weekend was different. And for the first time since recruiting began for him in earnest, he has a frontrunner.

Jake Rodgers (6-7, 245) was among those out on the Palouse this past Saturday. While the Shadle Park standout is well familiar with Pullman and the WSU campus, the unofficial visit this weekend hit home.

"It seems like every time I go there, I like it more and more," said Rodgers.

Schools are recruiting Rodgers at tight end, with Washington State Rodgers' lone offer to date though interest is increasing from other Pac-10 schools. Whereas before this weekend everyone was even in his mind, the Cougs now lead.

"I'm leaning towards Washington State right now," said Rodgers.

RODGERS SAID the difference at Wazzu on the field this spring is striking.

"Probably the biggest thing I noticed, they were more physical and they're bigger. I went to pretty much all of their home games last season -- and their linemen and everybody are a lot bigger than they were," said Rodgers.

Rodgers, who has that TE/DE type body Paul Wulff likes, and with very long arms to boot, brought his mom along on the trip. They spent a good portion of the time chatting with WSU tight ends coach Rich Rasmussen.

"It seemed like she enjoyed herself, she likes the school," said Rodgers.

Rodgers said other than Wazzu, the schools he's hearing most from are UW and Stanford.

"I was originally probably thinking after the season but I might end up changing my mind and making a decision before the season so I don't have to worry about it," said Rodgers.

AS A JUNIOR, in his first season playing varsity ball, Rodgers was named first team all-GSL at tight end, one of only three juniors on the 17-man first team offense.

He also was a key reserve on the Shadle Parks hoops team this past season, playing alongside incoming Cougar hoopster Anthony Brown.

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