Central Catholic (Ore.), DB
Committed to Oregon
The safety with the long hair and surfer’s vibe committed to Oregon two years ago and never looked back. It was about the same time he transferred to Central Catholic from South Medford. His athleticism isn’t quite like La’Mar Winston, his fellow Oregon-bound teammate at Central Catholic, but neither was his uncle’s, Chad Cota, who played eight years in the NFL after a Hall of Fame career at Oregon. “He is an amazing tackler in open space,” Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne said. “That’s a huge advantage he’ll bring to the college level. And that his football IQ is off the charts.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Brady Breeze: “He loves the physicality associated with being a defensive back. But question is where do you play him?”
Abbotsford Collegiate (British Columbia), WR
Committed to Notre Dame
The last time Abbotsford coach Jay Fujimura measured Claypool’s vertical, it was 46 inches.. Claypool didn’t shift his focus to football from basketball (he scored 57 points in a game this season) until this year. But his dual-sport focus only helped in his development as an athlete. “I’ve been coaching now for about 18 years and I have never in my life seen or coached against an athlete that can do some of the stuff he can do,” Abbotsford coach Jay Fujimura said. “We could have him do anything. I think he will play wherever (Notre Dame) would like him to play.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Chase Claypool: “He is still growing into his body. It will be interesting to see what Notre Dame does with him. He will likely start as a receiver but it would not shock me to see him move to defense as a safety or outside linebacker.”
1This is the first year a Northwest Nugget one has come from British Columbia since this list’s inception in 1988. It’s also the first time one has come from Eastside Catholic.
Lake Stevens, QB
Enrolled at Georgia
Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said it looked like his team was playing an NFL quarterback in this year’s 4A state quarterfinals. But it wasn’t a more than 60-yard throw that most impressed Skyline coach Mat Taylor, it was an eight-yard completion across the field on the final drive in the state semifinals. “He had the craziest arm strength I’ve ever gone against,” Taylor said. “He’s on their sideline and he looks left and lets it fly all the way to the numbers on our sideline. When he threw that pass, I was like ‘Oh, game over.’ We were picking that off. But it was a laser. That was insane.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Jacob Eason: What Coach (Tom) Tri does in (Lake Stevens’) offense is predetermined. So he has not had to make a lot of pre-snap reads. A lot of his throws do not come out on time — like three-step drop, boom. We will see how quickly he picks up on those things (at Georgia).”
564Number of days between when Jacob Eason originally committed to Georgia and the upcoming Feb. 3 national signing day. His father, Tony Eason, said they quit counting all the scholarship offers.
Committed to Washington
In playing safety this past year for the Wolverines, Gilchrist was a shut-down corner, but also a waste to Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff to have one of his best athletes and tacklers getting thrown at only six times his junior year (with two intereceptions). “We asked a couple of colleges, ‘Would it hurt if he played safety?’ They said ‘No.’ So we put him out in the field because he can tackle,” Goncharoff said. “He’s really fast. I think you have to start there: Can he cover? And he can. No. 2 is he has great football IQ. He understands coverages well.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Isaiah Gilchrist: “He has got really good feet. He has the track times to support being able to play outside on the edge, and he has good cover skills.”
4Consecutive years Bellevue High School has had a Northwest Nugget. Its nine all-time Nuggets trails only O’Dea (11) and Lakes (10) and is tied with Puyallup and Central Catholic.
Gonzaga Prep, DL
Committed to Cal
Three-star prospect? Gonzaga Prep coach David McKenna remembers Bishop Sankey and Travis Long both being three-star recruits, too. No defensive lineman was as ferocious, physical or made as great an impact this past year as Weaver, who was triple-teamed by Skyline in the 4A state title game. McKenna expects him to play more linebacker at Cal — a position he played sparingly for the Bullpups. “He was too valuable putting pressure on the quarterback for us,” McKenna said. “… He wants to get better. His drive, that motor he has, I’m telling you — it’s very unique. I’ve truly never seen a guy with this kind of drive when it relates to football.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Evan Weaver: “If you saw him in the state championship game, he was able to take over because he was bigger, faster and more physical than everybody. And he is intelligent. Those are his strong points. I don’t know if he is a hand-down or stand-up defensive end, which is the biggest question mark with him.”
Eastside Catholic, ATH
Committed to Washington
Linebacker? Safety? Running back? Kick returner? All signs point to the Huskies getting immediate production from the two-time state champion, likely at linebacker. Eastside Catholic coach Jeremy Thielbahr, a former Northwest Nugget out of Sandpoint, Idaho, compares Wellington’s determination to that of Marcus Trufant — Thielbahr’s former teammate at WSU. “He is an elite-level player,” Thielbahr said. “Brandon is going to work harder than anybody in the building. He is going to work harder than anybody else and watch more film than anybody. I have high expectations for him and he has higher expectations for himself. I am really excited to see his future.”
What an FBS recruiter says about Brandon Wellington: “I think he is underrated nationally. Part of that was because he was committed to UW for so long (since Aug. 2014). I think he will play defense, likely as an outside linebacker. He’s similar to Shaq Thompson.”
Central Catholic (Ore.), ATH
Committed to Oregon
No player was more heavily recruited in the state of Oregon than Winston. The Ducks will likely put him at outside linebacker, the position where he played backup for most of his junior year while playing wide receiver full time. But Pyne said he wouldn’t be shocked to see Winston get some pass-catching opportunities. “He can run, he can jump, he’s quick, and he’s more physical than people give him credit for,” Pyne said. “People look at him and don’t think he’s a physical football player, but they just got to turn on the film and watch him. He’s pretty physical.”
What an FBS recruiter says about La’Mar Winston: “He has got good size and frame and you can tell he loves to play the game. He plays it with passion. He is probably going to be that (strongside) linebacker type.”
7Total Northwest Nuggets for the 2016 class of recruits, two fewer than last year. “I would say it is probably an average to slightly above average class,” said one FBS recruiter.
BEST OF THE REST
Twin Falls (Idaho)
Eric Briscoe Jr.
West Salem (Ore.)
David Douglas (Ore.)