Central Washington reeled in a 21-member class of football recruits Wednesday – every one from the state of Washington, which has been the norm under coach Blaine Bennett.
“Since I’ve been here, every class we’ve tried to recruit only in-state guys,” he said. “Four years ago we signed a young man from Indiana, but it happened to be my son (Blaine John) so that doesn’t really count. And one year we signed one kid out of Oregon. But over the last five years, traditionally 100 percent of our signing class is all high school seniors … from the state of Washington.”
What’s different about these newest Wildcats, Bennett said, is their size.
“It will be the biggest physically, size-wise, class that we’ve signed, with the D-ends and the tight ends and the O-linemen that we have,” he said. “That’s probably not on purpose, but at the end of the day we’re certainly excited about those big bodies that are coming into the program.”
One of the newcomers Bennett cited is Kyle Self, a 222-pound tight end from Peninsula High School.
“Kyle Self, I think, is going to be a phenomenal tight end,” Bennett said. “Again, it kind of factors into those big bodies. We’ve got him down as 6-31/4, 222; and he’s just going to get better. That Tacoma area – Nick Whitworth, our running backs coach/recruiting coordinator – he recruits that area and does an excellent, excellent job.”
This season, Whitworth got a little help from a famous CWU alum: Jon Kitna, former NFL quarterback and current coach at Lincoln High School.
“Jon Kitna supports us and is a very, very committed Wildcat in this state,” Bennett said. “We’re very excited he’s in the coaching profession and obviously to be able to sign a young man from Lincoln, we’re very excited about it.”
The CWU recruit from Lincoln is receiver Josh Eckwood. Other new Wildcats from around the South Sound are Nick Aumua, a defensive end from Auburn (Auburn Mountainview), Zach Budnick, an offensive lineman from University Place (Curtis), Austin Olson, a defensive lineman from Renton (Kentridge), Jacob Swilley, a linebacker from Olympia (Yelm) and Kevin Young, a defensive back from Federal Way (Decatur).
Farther east on Interstate 90, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin signed a 17-member class recruited from up and down the West Coast.
“We knew going into it the class wouldn’t be a huge number,” Baldwin said in a school press release. “But we are signing the players we earmarked very early on in recruiting, and we felt like these players would really fit well into our program.”
The class is heavy on receivers and linebackers, areas where seniors will depart from the 2012 team, which won a share of the Big Sky Conference title and advanced to the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The class includes seven all-state selections from Washington and two from Oregon. However, EWU dipped into California for one of its prime catches: D.J. Martin from Bakersfield, who at one point was rated as the No. 14 running back in the nation by various high-school recruiting services.
“He’s probably the highest-profile player we recruited, and deservedly so,” said Baldwin, a Curtis High graduate. “He’s been productive all the way back to his sophomore season. He’s an every-down running back. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, block, get short yardage or hit the big one. He has all the tools, and we’re excited about that.”
EWU recruits from the South Sound include Victor Gamboa, a receiver from Parkland (Washington); Albert Havili, a linebacker from Federal Way (Federal Way); Joe Miles, an offensive lineman from Auburn (Auburn Riverside); and D’Londo Tucker, a defensive back from Federal Way (Federal Way).
Roldan Alcobendas K/P6-0175 Camas Camas
Kendrick Bourne WR6-3190 MilwaukiePortland
Joe Douglas DL6-3240 Hanford Richland
Samson Ebukam DL6-3230 David Douglas Portland
Jake Gall LB6-1215 Cle Elum/Roslyn Cle Elum
Victor Gamboa WR6-0180 WashingtonParkland
Albert Havili LB6-2240 Federal Way Federal Way
Jake HoffmanWR6-0170 North Central Spokane
John Kreifels LB5-9205 Thomas Downey Modesto, Calif.
Andre LinoDL6-3240 Bishop Blanchet Seattle
William Lopez OL6-5240 Skyview Vancouver
D.J. Martin RB5-10 205 Stockdale Bakersfield, Calif.
Joe Miles OL6-5265 Auburn RiversideAuburn
Nic SblendorioWR6-0190 Skyline Sammamish
Matthew SommerDL6-5290 West SalemSalem, Ore.
D’Londo TuckerDB6-0170 Federal Way Federal Way
Keonte WhiteDB6-4185 SylmarPacoima, Calif.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org