On the road without Sweetlou

Well, Jeff 'Sweetlou' Carr wasn't able to attend the quick jaunt down 1-5 to Lewis and Clark College for Sunday's Air Attack camp, but that didn't stop this intrepid reporter from braving sleep deprivation and social obligations to find out what the fuss was all about. The 'fuss' actually has been brewing in the Rose City for many years, in the form of 'Air Attack'.

But before I could make my trip to Portland, I had to see how Air Attack North was progressing. Over the years, Air Attack has become so popular that Washington high school football players would drive down to Portland four Sundays in a row just to participate, often taking in both the morning and afternoon sessions. But Air Attack decided this year to bring the mountain to Mohammed, and Air Attack North was born. Hosted ably by Lake Washington HS football coach Tim Tramp, the Kangs were more than happy to open up their home to some of the area's finest skill players and linemen.

The beauty of Air Attack is that they are wholly inclusive. It doesn't matter if you are an 8th-grader or a player already in college - they will put you in a group of players in your skill level and give you so many reps it will make you wonder why your coach doesn't work you this hard.

A perfect example of this is Drew Dukeshire. A 6-4, 250-pounder from Portland (Ore.) Benson Tech, Dukeshire stood out like a huge dandelion in a perfectly groomed lawn. But there was a reason.

He attends Weber State.

Dukeshire is a product of the Air Attack system. He knew that, even though he's at the college level now, Air Attack gives him something he can't get anywhere else.


And more repetitions.

More than one parent remarked to me that they hadn't seen their son work that hard in a long time. It's all business when the Bartons are in town. And it's shown by the players that show up. Recent Washington State verbal commit Gary Rogers from Kamiak worked out at LWHS, and former Cougar Carl Bonnell was seen heaving the rock a few times.

Rogers, now up to around 225 pounds, looked big. He's got a cannon for an arm and benefited immensely from the number of repititions he was able to take in. Bonnell, expected to enroll at Washington this fall, is a veteran of Air Attack and fell right back in step with the various footwork and throwing drills. They highlighted a very strong senior group of Washington-based quarterbacks that showed up to work - Ballard's Cole Morgan, Mountlake Terrace's Brian Ellersick, Mount Si's Alex Smart and Bethel's James Wright were in attendance.

Morgan is a great-looking prospect, a guy that has a nice blend of size, speed and arm. Ellersick really came on the scene last year, throwing for a mile in the run-heavy WesCo. Smart looked to me like he had grown a little bit and has matured in his style of play from a couple of years ago. It will be very interesting to see how much attention he gets from the top majors this fall. James Wright has a cannon for an arm but still needs to build up his frame. He's a tall and gangly player brimming with confidence. He will be filling Johnny DuRocher's shoes for coach Eric Kurle and the Braves this fall, so he'll need all the mojo he can muster.

David Johnson from Beaverton (Ore.) Southridge, Sam Moultrie from Portland (Ore.) Grant and Kyle Moore from Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic made the trip up to continue their previous Air Attack work. Moultrie and Moore get the 'QB Hard Worker MVP' award. Not only did they drive up to the camp at Lake Washington, but went back down to the Oregon camps the next day and were the only quarterbacks to do all three sessions this weekend.

Air Attack can be habit-forming for those looking to improve, possibly even addictive.

And not to single out the seniors-to-be, Kyle Eriks, brother of current Washington fullback Ty Eriks, worked out in Kirkland, as well as Kang junior Ryan Staudacher. Expect those two signal-callers to be right at the top the list of coveted Washington-based QB's for the class of 2005.

Not to leave them out, the receivers also burned up the turf. Under the watchful eye of trainer/coach Ryan Paul of New Athlete (http://www.newathlete.net) and Next Step (http://www.nextstepcollegesports.com), the receivers worked on their route running and pass-catching techniqes. Paul and Air Attack are rabid about having great footwork, regardless of position.

One of the WR's that really stood out to me wasn't a guy you'll hear about a lot until next year. Jaleel Kindell, a 5-9, 155-pound athlete from Tigard, Oregon came to Kirkland sporting an Oregon Ducks football T and looked the part of a budding Pac-10 player. He'll be just a junior in the fall, so remember his name.

After a night at the House of Louie (chinese restaurant in Portland's Chinatown) and my friend Paul's house, I ventured off into the west hills of PDX in search of more football. Since the Portland Air Attack camp is more established, they have a morning and afternoon session.

Besides Moultrie and Moore, Kyle Bennett from Beaverton (Ore.) David Douglas stood out for his work with the QB's. Moultrie isn't the biggest kid out there, but he's the quickest. He's a playmaker and his lefty countenance reminded me of a smaller Mark Brunell, a guy that is elusive and can really sling it.

Moore is a two-way player for Central Catholic and has the look of an athlete who can make things happen. While he's still got a lot of work to do to become consistent in all the throws, it was a pleasure to watch him throw fade after fade with surgical precision.

Bennett, in my opinion, had the best morning of the three. He's got a rocket for an arm and can make all the throws either in pocket or on the run. He has the most polish.

The afternoon QB session featured big Kyle Carson from Longview (Wash.) Mark Morris, and Eastern Washington-bound Chris Peerboom from Portland. It's impossible to ignore Carson. When Kyle and WSU-bound Scott Selby walked into camp, there was a noticeable amount of rubbernecking. At 6-6 and 6-5 respectively, it's hard not to look.

Portland's camp had a lot more to offer in the receiver category. Cory Dickson from Corvallis was a player that got noticed immediately. Wearing Washington shorts, the tall Dickson is a well put-together kid who never dropped a ball and moved well for his size. He's not going to blaze you, but he has a frame that can add weight and he looks totally comfortable catching the rock. He worked in the later session with his teammate Nick Emmons, another tall kid who is a little lankier than Dickson and also possesses a nice pair of hands and feel for the game.

Portland (Ore.) Lincoln WR Andrew Colasurdo stood out to me for his burst and tenacity. He'll be a high school player to watch in the PIL to be sure. A couple of college-bound receivers stood out - Carl Appleton (Central Catholic/Weber State) and JJ Johnson (Foothill College).

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