Cougs offer fleet junior w/ great bloodlines

HIS FATHER STARRED in the NFL and was a Super Bowl champion. As for his son, he's already got great size and showed off some serious wheels as a sophomore, both on the football field and in making a deep run at the state track and field titles in the 100 and 200 meters. And Paul Wulff and Washington State have already offered him.

Washington State was the first to offer George Atkinson III (6-2.5, 187) out of Granada High in Livermore, Calif. Another Pac-10 school, UCLA, as well as San Jose State, have since followed suit and extended full rides.

"I think they like my speed, my ability to break into the open field and outrun the defense, and my size," said Atkinson.

Atkinson, whose father George was a fearsome safety for the Oakland Raiders from 1968 to 1977, has been hand timed in the 40 in the 4.4 range. Last year out on the track, he clocked a 10.59 in the 100-m, and a 21.30 in the 200-m, the fastest times San Francisco metro area.

He eventually placed third and fourth in the CIF state finals in the two events. Not bad for a sophomore.

THE COUGS like Atkinson at either offense or defense.

"A lot of schools are talking to me talk about defense...but I prefer offense, either running back or wide receiver, it doesn't really matter to me," said Atkinson.

As a junior, he rushed for 965 yards and 10 TD's on only 106 carries, an average of 9.10 each time he touched the ball. He had 260 receiving yards on 13 receptions, and another 295 yards on nine kickoff returns (32.8 avg).

Atkinson said he's been proactive in calling and emailing coaches, having made contact with WSU, UCLA, Oregon and Cal to name a few. Others he's hearing from include Miami. His twin brother, Josh Atkinson, has also received an offer from San Jose State.

"His interest (from schools) has been about the same. He might have less offers right now but I think it's going to build up more for him when they see more film on him," said Atkinson.

HAVING A FATHER famous for his work in the NFL has provided a huge benefit in terms of development, said Atkinson.

"In workouts, during the offseason, him telling us what to do and not to do, he's just been guiding me and my brother and has helped so much. He's been through everything we're doing," said Atkinson.

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