Ali Gaye A Name To Remember

Rough Diamonds is exactly that; seeing younger, talented football players for the first time and envisioning what the future could be if they continue to work hard and do everything right. And there was no better example of that in action Sunday than 2017 defensive end Ali Gaye from Edmonds-Woodway, who tore up the Rough Diamonds Showcase at Interlake High School.

Just like Vernon Parker from Yelm suddenly emerge from the shadows, Ali Gaye has a chance to be something very special. And like Parker, Gaye also started out as a kicker.

“The coaches wanted me to be the kicker, because I was a good kicker,” Gaye told “I was working with the kickers, and then they brought me down to offensive line and played a little bit of tackle and guard. They saw my speed, so now they want me to play d-end.”

Gaye wasn’t initially attracted to football, but he’s fully on board now. “I started in eighth grade,” he said. “I saw them hitting hard, so that got me into it. I liked the sport. I played mostly soccer my whole life until eighth grade. Then I started playing basketball a little bit and then football came. I got into it and started working out and got better at it.”

At 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds, Gaye has the perfect frame to add weight, get bigger, faster, stronger, and become a complete player. He is potential personified. And what made his Rough Diamonds showing even more impressive is that he is Muslim. And per his faith, he’s currently observing Ramadan, which involves fasting from mid-June to mid-July. Gaye skipped a day so he’d be ready for Sunday’s camp - and he delivered a lights-out performance.

“I saw a lot of big guys here - I wasn’t the only big guy. There was big competition out here,” said Gaye. “So I have to keep working to be better.

“I just want to get better, get noticed, and go to college - play my hardest and get to the next level. I’m not trying to waste a lot of money going to camps that aren’t really that important to me. I’m just trying to go to camps where coaches will be there and they notice me.”

Gaye may play some tight end for longtime E-W coach John Gradwohl, but his position of choice right now is DE. Wyoming and BYU are two schools that immediately took notice of Gaye’s workout, and expect many more to follow this coming fall once they get to see him play for the Warriors - including the local Pac-12 programs.

He rooted for Michigan growing up. “I started watching their basketball team and I was like, maybe I’ll watch their football team to see how they do,” he said. “And I got into it. They are a really good team, it’s fun to watch them.”

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