Pelluer fulfills a dream

SEATTLE - Sometimes life works in strange ways. Kim Pelluer was driving her daughter back to school, when she passed by the University of Washington. Her son, Skyline athlete Cooper Pelluer, was getting set to sign with Hawaii on Wednesday, so she stopped by a flower shop to buy him a lei to earmark the occasion. The shop was closed. A sign, perhaps?

She didn't know it at the time, but things were happening with Cooper. About 20 miles away, he was at school in class when Skyline Head Coach pulled him out to make sure he spoke with Washington linebackers coach Mike Cox on the phone one last time before Signing Day.

"He said that we've got a great opportunity with a possible commitment dropping out," Pelluer told late Monday night. "If that were to happen, we'd like you to offer you a scholarship to come play for us."

Pelluer was ecstatic. "I've always thought about the possibility of U-Dub offering me at the last minute," he said. But he never let himself get past that point.

But now? A possible spot on the team he grew up watching? The team where his Dad Scott coached for six years during two different stints? It was beyond his imagination.

But there was a kicker; he couldn't tell anyone about it except for his parents. The UW staff wouldn't know for sure the details until late Monday night, so Pelluer had to go through the rest of his day at school and basketball practice with a secret burning a Huskies-sized hole through his stomach. The wait was unbearable.

Then he got the good news via a phone call with UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian. "He laid down the words, 'We'd like to offer you a scholarship'," Pelluer said.

"It happened."

He went back, talked to his parents some more about it, and then called Sarkisian back with the news that he was going to be a Husky. "Once he said it I knew I would be a Dawg by the end of the night," Pelluer said. "I grew up a Dawg. "It's a dream come true."

It's a little ironic, simply because if he had ended up at Washington State, he would not only have been a fourth-generation Cougar, but a fourth generation Cougar football player. But WSU never came calling, so it was the Huskies that picked up the slack.

They saw him a bunch at their Rising Stars camp over the summer, in a linebacker group that also included Devin Topps (Kentridge), John Kanongata'a (Bellevue) and John Goldwire (Lakes). It was there where Pelluer first tried playing with his hand down at the line of scrimmage. It was also at that camp where the UW coaches realized they had a rough gem on their hands. At 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, they like him as a SAM linebacker, but he may not be done growing.

"They saw the potential, they realized that he's got a lot of upside," Cooper's father said, also noting that Cooper missed a lot of playing time as a junior because of injury, as well as a double-hernia operation that also curtailed much of his prime football growth at the prep level. "And the Huskies did a phenomenal job of staying with him and keeping in touch and letting him know that something might happen in the last minute."

"He's been so supportive throughout," Cooper said of his Dad. "He's been right there. It was so nice to be able to come home and have my own coach. He's one of my best friends. It's a big thing for the both of us."

The hard part of everything that happened Monday night was the call made to UH Assistant Coach Chris Tormey. "It was tough," Pelluer said of the conversation with Tormey, also a former UW assistant coach. "I appreciate everything he's done for me. But he understands where I'm coming from. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I just love it here, and U-Dub…it's just one of the coolest places to be.

"I had no idea this would happen. I was set to go to Hawaii. The coaching staff is great, and I really enjoyed my visit over there. I definitely saw myself going there, but once this opportunity came about, it was just tough to say no."

About three hours passed before Pelluer was able to get back to Sarkisian to give him the good news. "He was excited," Pelluer. "I'm just excited to be part of that first class. They have good things going and I truly believe we're headed in the right direction, getting back to U-Dub football and what it's all about."

Pelluer will be joined Wednesday at Skyline by three other Spartans that will also be signing their national letters of intent. Jase Butorac and Evan Day are expected to sign with Eastern Washington, while Anthony DeMatteo is expected to sign with Central Washington.

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