Sonoma LB high on Northwest

Mark Van Paris is a 6-2, 220 RB/LB prospect from Sonoma (Calif.) Sonoma Valley and not too many people know about Mark, but those that do are impressed with his combination of size and speed. Three northwest Pac-10 schools have been contacting Van Paris regularly, and he's close to setting up an official visit with one - the Washington Huskies.

"They like the fact that I'm big and have some speed," Van Paris told about the feedback he's been getting from college coaches. "They like the plays I make when they see the films." Mark ran a 4.42 40 at the Stanford NIKE camp, benches 325 pounds and jumps 27 inches in the vertical jump.

Van Paris plays both ways for Sonoma, but expects to be playing defense at the next level. "Probably outside linebacker," he said. "Most schools haven't said, so I'm guessing. They just say they are interested. I like running back more, but realistically it'll be linebacker or something on defense. Washington has mentioned something about fullback, and some other schools have talked about tailback, outside linebacker."

Coaches can't help but love Mark's attitude toward the game. "I want to be competitive and win," he said. "I will do anything to win. I think I have that competitive edge."

Besides the Huskies, Fresno State, Oregon and Oregon State have also been calling Mark's house on a regular basis. Who is the coach talking to Van Paris for Washington? "Tim Hundley," he said. "He is really fired up about their season and who they are playing. He's happy that we're doing well. We just talk football and see how things are going with each other's teams. I'm trying to get a visit set up with Washington. They are the only ones I've talked to about that yet."

Mark gave us a quick blueprint for what he's looking for in a college. "What really interests me is what is around the school, what's involved with the program and I'm basing my choice on where I get to play, where they think I'll play," he said. "I guess I hope I play running back, but really I just want to play."

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