When the Jacksonville Dolphins of the Football Championship Subdivision’s Pioneer Football League discovered they still needed to recruit a running back, they came 3,000 miles across the country to find the one player they knew they had to have on their offense: Cascade Christian High senior Robert Terhune IV.
"The coaches called me up and they wanted me — they want me on running back," Terhune said. "They looked at my highlights and really wanted me down for a visit to see if it’s a good fit. Once I got down there, I realized it was a good fit for me, and it was where I wanted to spend the next four years."
Jacksonville went 7-1 in league play last season and tied for the league title with San Diego.
Terhune’s signing makes him the second big recruit out of the Class 1A state champion Cougars’ senior squad that went undefeated last fall. Mason Tobeck signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for Utah State University in the Mountain West Conference last month.
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For Terhune to get to Wednesday’s signing day, it required a ton of patience from the bulldozing back as the recruiting offers just weren’t coming. But always known for having good vision on the field, Terhune put that to test, confident his time would come.
"Robert’s parents were getting a little nervous that things weren’t happening," said Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis about the recruiting process. "The recruiter told them to just be patient because a lot of these schools go late."
That advice paid off for Terhune and his family. Not only did he land an offer, but he now gets the chance to see game action as a true freshman with Jacksonville’s thin depth at the position.
"(Jacksonville) came in needing a running back — and they run a lot like we do (on offense)," Davis added. "The great thing about this is Robert may not need to redshirt. They might be thin enough where he can see game action his first year."
The prospect of early playing time in his college career brings excitement for Cascade Christian’s standout halfback.
"It’s an unbelievable feeling looking back at it ... the whole high school career," Terhune said. "Just to know that I’m going to be playing for a university is just an unbelievable feeling."
As Terhune went through his signing ceremony Wednesday in front of the 1A state championship trophy while taking pictures with family — parents and the ones he made on the practice field — it gave his father, Robert Terhune III, time to reflect.
It’s hard for any parent to let go of a child — especially one leaving to go a place so far away. But the time spent at Cascade Christian has prepared his son for what’s to come, he said.
"It’s hard to describe but it’s like seeing him go from a little boy to almost a man now," Robert Terhune III said. "What Cascade (Christian) does is really teach people (how) to be in a unit. They really preach the brotherhood aspect, and those guys live for each other."
Now, thanks to staying patient, Terhune has a great challenge ahead of himself, with a new team to call his brothers.
"I wanted to go away for college, for sure, because I probably want to spend the rest of my life up here (in Washington)," Terhune said. "I wanted to go away for four years (first) to see what that’s like."