High School Sports

The News Tribune's 2015 Class of Northwest Nuggets

The top high school football recruits from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

Myles Gaskin

O’Dea, RB, 5-9, 185

Committed to Washington

Gaskin said he’s heard plenty of opinions about his stature. “I laugh,” Gaskin said. “Some people think, ‘He’s a little dude, he’ll be easy to tackle.’ I just take them by surprise.” Those people must not have been saying that while Gaskin was moving because it’s tough to tackle what you can’t catch. Gaskin said he has worked on his quickness since he can remember and that’s why there wasn’t a defensive player he couldn’t dance past. Gaskin rushed for 1,567 yards (14.4 yards per carry) and 27 touchdowns this season in an offense at O’Dea that was centered on getting Gaskin the ball however, whenever. He said his next best trait he’ll take to Washington is coachability.

Tristen Hoge

Highland (Idaho), OL, 6-5, 290

Committed to Notre Dame

Hoge has stood out at Highland since even before he entered its halls (his uncle, ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, is in the school’s hall of fame) But Tristen quickly made a name for himself with his intense work ethic. “He’s a worker above anything I’ve ever coached. From the weight room to the classroom,” Highland coach Gio Mariani said. “He’s one you have to slow down in practice. You can’t get anything done because everyone is on their back half of the time.” He started 47 consecutive games, had 139 pancake blocks and is the first player from the state of Idaho to make the Army All-American Bowl.

Austin Joyner

Marysville-Pilchuck, ATH, 5-10, 185

Committed to Washington

As a running back, Joyner was considered one of the state’s best, rushing for almost 5,500 yards the past three years and averaged 13.3 yards per carry this season. But he’ll go to Washington to play cornerback. Joyner played safety, transitioned to outside linebacker this year, and then back to safety at the end of the season. But cornerback? “He’s got elite skills,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “His closing speed is amazing and he’ll be a physical, hard-hitting DB. I didn’t play him at corner because you don’t put your best player on the edge of the field.” Joyner was named Gatorade Washington Player of the Year.

Fotu T. Leiato II

Steilacoom, LB, 6-0, 200

Considering: Michigan State, Oregon, San Diego State, Washington State

Steilacoom coach William Garrow knew Leiato was an NCAA Division I prospect, all it took was getting some recruiters to see it, too. It’s one thing to break tackles and run for touchdowns against less talented players (something more difficult against more talented players) but playing all-out, all the time works for 2A South Puget Sound League coaches as well as it will for FBS ones. “Fotu’s highlight tape is really impressive because he’s an impressive football player,” Garrow said. “It’s fun to watch a kid play that hard.” Some recruiters see him more as a Kam Chancellor-type hard-hitting safety than a linebacker at the next level.

Chico McClatcher

Federal Way, ATH, 5-8, 175

Committed to Washington

You don’t have to love McClatcher’s size, but how about that elusiveness? “He can make people miss in a phone booth,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. Agility was his only calling card when he first entered the Eagles’ program. So as long as you got an arm on him, he’d go down. But Meagher says McClatcher is much stronger than he looks, so good luck bringing him down with his strength and 4.41-second 40-yard dash speed. “I’ve told this to a lot of recruiters: As soon as he walks on your campus, he’s your best punt returner,” Meagher said.

Benning Potoa’e

Lakes, DL, 6-4, 270

Committed to Washington

Potoa’e benches 440 pounds. He’s 270 pounds and runs a 4.65 40-yard dash. He’s a monster of an edge rusher in the mold of UW consensus All-American Hau’oli Kikaha, Lakes coach Dave Miller said. But Miller said his leadership is what has gone most unnoticed in his four years of high school football. “He’s got that alpha male in him,” Miller said. “The thing that takes kids the farthest is their attitude and work ethic. He’s got both of them at a high level.” Potoa’e’s huge hands made him a great tight end, too, and he could see time there in college, especially in goal-line situations.

Henry Roberts

Bellevue, OL, 6-5, 275

Committed to Washington

Butch Goncharoff knows great offensive linemen. Two of his former players are currently in the NFL (David DeCastro with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Stephen Schilling with the Seattle Seahawks). He said Roberts’ athleticism puts him in their class of Bellevue greats. “He’s very athletic,” Goncharoff said. “His best football is ahead of him. You don’t see linemen move like him. He’ll come in (to Washington) as a very accomplished run blocker. We use our hands a lot, so he’ll have an easy transition.” Goncharoff said Roberts compares best to Schilling and that he’s more athletic than the four-year starter at Michigan was, but just not as big.

Brett Rypien

Shadle Park, QB, 6-2, 185

Committed to Boise State

If he isn’t the best quarterback in state history (his state-record career 13,044 passing yards might say he is) he’s one of the best to never play in the Tacoma Dome. He never played for a state title, but he shattered plenty of records, making many programs rethink what a high-school quarterback can do. Still, yards don’t transfer to the next level, athletes do. And Rypien is an athlete. “Not many quarterbacks can hit a receiver on an out route throwing from one hash to the other with a defender in press coverage,” Shadle Park coach Jim Mace said. Rypien’s ability to break down film might be just as legendary as his throwing arm.

Cameron Scarlett

Central Catholic (Ore.), RB, 6-1, 210

Committed to Stanford

Scarlett is supposed to be David Shaw’s next featured running back at Stanford from what Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne was told. “He’s their prototypical tailback,” Pyne said. “They targeted him as their next guy because he’s a big, durable back.” Scarlett missed most his senior season with a hamstring injury that never quite healed. He came back in the playoffs and had 275 yards, five touchdowns before tearing his ACL the next game. He had surgery Dec. 17, but Pyne said Scarlett should come back even stronger. “He was never a weight-room warrior, and this is going to force him to work.”

THE BEST OF THE REST

POSITION NAME SCHOOL COMMITTED TO
OL Trey Adams Wenatchee Washington
TE Brion Anduze Central Kitsap Arizona
LB Drew Berger Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) Boise State
QB Ross Bowers Bothell California
OL Blake Brandel Central Catholic (Ore.) Oregon State
LB Mustafa Branch Bellevue Stanford
QB Eric Dungey Lakeridge (Ore.) Syracuse
OL Jared Hilbers Beaverton (Ore.) Washington
OL Garrett Larson Fruitland (Idaho) Boise State
OL Shane Lemieux West Valley Yakima Oregon
LB Kyler Manu Highland (Idaho) Washington
OL Alex Neale Eastside Catholic Montana
WR Justice Murphy Evergreen of Vancouver Undecided
OL Calvin Throckmorton Newport of Bellevue Oregon
LB Jusstis Warren Lincoln Washington
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