Playmaker on WSU trip feels 'family vibe'

WASHINGTON STATE HAS brought into the fold safety prospects in recent years who also starred at quarterback in high school. Xavier Hicks, once a field general for Fullerton High, has been a mainstay in the WSU secondary and Eric Block, a star QB at Bellevue, had a monster hit last Saturday against Stanford. In town this past weekend, another prep QB who projects to safety at the next level.

Alameda's Tyrone Duckett (5-11, 186) said the family atmosphere at Washington State made a lasting impression.

"It was just the family vibe, it was crazy -- It's really unexplainable," said Duckett. "Everybody communicates really well there and they welcome you with open arms. It's like you're family."

Duckett's father also accompanied his son on the visit.

"My dad thought it was a great trip. Washington State preached the importance of a great education and he was very impressed with that," said Duckett.

The Cougar game day experience, said Duckett, met his expectations and then some.

"I got the chance to meet a lot of new people and see the things that I had always dreamed about as a kid...I'm looking forward to talking to Washington State as my senior year goes by," said Duckett.

DUCKETT SAID he's hearing, in addition to the Cougs, from UCLA, Oregon, Fresno State and UNLV the most. Still, he's been flying a bit below the radar due to playing behind some of the senior stars Encinal fielded last year.

Duckett will play both quarterback and strong safety for Encinal High this season, about 15 minutes outside of San Francisco. The Cougs are looking at him as a safety, said Duckett.

As a junior, he played behind safety and East Bay Player of the Year Jonathan Brown, who signed with Boise State this past February. Still, Duckett made the most of his time on defense in '08, racking up 69 tackles with eight pass deflections.

"I was more of a role player last year..Washington State is talking to me as a strong or free safety, more of a rover position and to support the run."

Offensively in '08, Duckett had 90 carries for 595 yards with eight touchdowns, with another 10 catches for 126 yards and four TDs, as Encinal posted a perfect 13-0 record and won the North Coast Section Division III title.

He said Washington State also likes his range and how quickly he can "get from one side of the field to the other."

"They said I just make plays, they think I can help out the defense on the run stopping side and on the passing end of things. That whole staff is great," said Duckett.

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