Gunderson looking to cross state lines?

Ryan Gunderson is a 6-5, 220-pound quarterback from Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic, and the roots run deep for Ryan when it comes to the home state. He is good friends with the Harrington family, took over the CC quarterbacking duties from Michael (now at Idaho), and is good friends with Joey's youngest brother Nick. To add to it, Ryan's father went to the University of Oregon. So that begs the question - why is Ryan looking at Washington?

"I'm close with the Harrington family," Ryan told "Nick is a good friend of mine. My Dad is an Oregon graduate. I've been to about 50 or 60 home games at Autzen Stadium. But really, I'm wide open. I don't know where the best place is for me, so that's why I've been going out and seeing them."

But the Huskies? Are you kidding? "Growing up, I had a severe dislike of the Huskies," Gunderson admitted. "I didn't like them, the Huards, purple, any of it. But in the last year I could see myself going to different places. Yeah I'm biased, but I have to go out and broaden myself too. I'm not going to put Oregon ahead of everyone else just because I'm from Oregon. I'm at ground zero right now."

Gunderson, along with Sheldon's Alex Brink and Pendleton's Brian Nooy, will be the top prep signal-callers in Oregon this fall. Ryan runs a 4.8 40, benches 225 pounds, squats 375 pounds, vertically jumps 28 inches and runs a 4.45 shuttle. Last season he was 157-251 for 2385 and 27 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions in 10 games.

To show his versatility as an athlete, Gunderson also kicked 35 PAT's and rushed for 4 touchdowns, earning first team all-league (QB), second team all-league (K) and team offensive player of the year honors. Ryan will be a senior captain this fall, something he earned by being a leader in 2001.

"We run a wide-open offense," Ryan said, when asked to describe his strengths. "I do a lot of dropback stuff, but also some fly motion stuff as well. We try to keep defenses on their toes. We even ran a little bit of option last year. I lead by emotion and am pretty fiery. It's one thing me and my coach share. We're both really competitive and I don't like losing, even if I'm just playing around with my family. I'll do anything to win. But I also lead by example, especially in the weight room, for instance. And I also know when to get everyone relaxed, keep them sane."

When Gunderson mentions 'ground zero' in regards to the recruiting process, he's not just talking the talk. He's been very proactive already, making a mid-west swing during his spring break. "I went to visit Notre Dame, Northwestern and Purdue," he said. "I'm interested in business and engineering and those schools are great schools academically. And of course Notre Dame has the catholic thing and I go to a catholic school, so there's a tie there. And I used to watch Notre Dame when I was growing up."

South Bend made a particular impression on Ryan. "I got to talk to Coach (Ty) Willingham for about an hour, which was great," he said. "I also talked to Coach Diedrick. When I went to Northwestern I talked to Coach Dunbar. I think he's from Washington. He's a great guy." The Ducks have also recently seen Gunderson on campus. "I went to watch an Oregon practice a couple of weeks ago. I had the opportunity to sit in on a quarterbacks' meeting with Coach (Andy) Ludwig."

And his travels have also taken him to the Emerald City and the University of Washington. "It was awesome," Ryan said of his unofficial visit to Washington last Saturday. "I really enjoyed it. I went not knowing anything because I had never seen their campus or anything. I had been to Seattle a couple of times before. My Dad and I walked around for a bit, saw the facilities. The stadium is amazing. I had seen it on TV, but it's a lot different being there. It's just an awesome place to watch college football, you can tell. The lake on one side...I was really blown away."

It didn't hurt to see a friendly face. "I was in the weight room and saw Taylor Barton's dad (Greg) there, so he showed me around," Gunderson said. "I spent the day hanging out with him. I got a chance to check out the locker rooms and watched the drills before practice. It was great to watch Coach Axman, watch the coaches and see their business faces when they are in their office. After the scrimmage I saw Taylor. I know him well because my QB coach married his sister and I've thrown with him before. He introduced me to Paul Arnold, which was great. I was really impressed."

Ryan's current top-5 schools of interest are Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington, Northwestern and Cal. His only current offer is from Portland State. "I'm going to the Stanford Nike camp, because coaches will be there," he said. "And I'm also going to go to the Eugene Nike camp. And I'll go to the one-day Oregon camp. After that, I'm not sure what I'm going to do." Top Stories