The Graham-Kapowsin High School gymnasium was packed with students, some chanting Foster Sarell’s name. The band played the school fight song, the cheerleaders danced and cameras lined in front of a podium on the court.
It seemed all that was left to do was to name a day after the 6-foot-7, 310-pound G-K senior left tackle, who is considered the top-ranked offensive line recruit in the nation.
It was a ceremony to present Sarell with an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a nationally broadcast football featuring some of the best senior high school players in the country on Jan. 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“I’ve been blessed with a great opportunity and great physical gifts that God has given me,” Sarell said. “I think the only way (to stay grounded) is to shine a light on not me, but on God.
“And I think it’s kind of territorial. I live in Graham, Washington. We’re just a humble town. And I was just raised by my parents to be humble and I have great friends.”
Sarell is one of two players from Washington who will compete in the Army Bowl, alongside Juantia’s Salvon Ahmed, a University of Washington commit.
Sarell and Ahmed make it 10 consecutive years the state of Washington will be represented in the Army Bowl. Lake Stevens’ Jacob Eason played in last year’s game and is now the starting quarterback at Georgia.
Some notable athletes from the South Sound to play – Gig Harbor’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins (2011), Lakes’ Jermaine Kearse (2008) and Timberline’s Jonathan Stewart (2005).
“I’ve known Foster since he was probably six years old playing soccer and basketball,” Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said. “It’s an incredible feeling because you’ve seen him grow throughout the years and you knew he was going to be special.
“You become that great No. 1-type of guy in the nation because you’re a hard worker, you got the talent and you got the grades and that’s what Foster has got. We’ll see what he can do. Hopefully he will just keep getting better and better and do the same things in college and hopefully get into the NFL and just be a special player.”
Sarell has yet to decide where he’ll be next year, though he’s got just about every school in the country salivating for the opportunity to add him to their offensive line.
He said he has four official visits remaining after taking a trip to Nebraska the first week of the season. He’ll head to Notre Dame this weekend after Graham-Kapowsin’s game against Olympia, followed by official visits to UW, Alabama and Stanford.
Some of Sarell’s teammates started woofing throughout Tuesday’s ceremony – making their case for UW as Sarell sat next to his parents, Ryan and Pam.
“There’s a push for UW,” Sarell laughed. “How can you not? They are on fire right now.
“I’m not ready to commit. I feel like if I’m going to commit somewhere, I want to be rock solid on where I’m going. I don’t want to have those whole decommitment things on Twitter. I don’t want that. I don’t think colleges deserve that. I think they deserve your respect – if you’re committed, you’re committed. That’s what I want to do.”
But Sarell did say he’d like to commit by early December so the colleges he doesn’t choose have enough time to recruit other athletes at the position.
His last visit is scheduled for Stanford in January.
“So either I’ll be committed to Stanford and I will take that official, or I won’t commit to Stanford and I won’t take that official,” Sarell said.
“It’s crazy. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to be flown out with your parents and fly out to wherever you decide to go and you get food, hotel, trips, games – I’m just going to soak it all up and enjoy these next couple of months.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677