Eagles Sign 19 Players to Letters of Intent - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles Sign 19 Players to Letters of Intent

Courtesy: The Daily Herald (Everett) Courtesy: The Daily Herald (Everett)

By EWU Athletics

Sure there are the stars, and the chips and the All-State performers and the stats, but this year's Eagle class of signees is highlighted by "EKG" – "Eastern Kind of Guys."
 
That's the recruiting mantra new Eastern Washington University head football coach Aaron Best used at his introductory media conference in January, and now he announces the signing of 19 high school players on Wednesday (Feb. 1) to letters of intent to attend EWU and play for the Eagles.
 
"When we set out we are looking for the total package – Eastern kind of guys who are good people, good students and good players," explained Best. "When you mix those things together we've coined the phrase EKG. Every one of them fits that mold based on what we've seen thus far."
 
"They have infectious personalities," Best continued. "They have the big smiles when you see them – they are just pleasant individuals and have been raised in a great structure. I'm excited to see them incorporated into our locker room. They are good football players as well."
 
The class includes 15 players from the state of Washington, as well as two from the California alma mater of former Eagle All-America quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. Locally, Eastern signed Gonzaga Prep defensive end Matthew Simpson, the co-Defensive MVP of the 4A Greater Spokane League as a senior.
 
All-State selections included defensive back Anfernee Gurley from Everett, Wash., and Archbishop Murphy High School, and cornerback Darreon Moore from Pasco, Wash., and Kamiakin High School. Both led their respective teams to state championships in a year Associated Press elected to no longer select All-State teams. Moore earned All-State honors from both the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune, and Gurley was honored by the TNT. In addition, the Seattle Times picked Gurley as one of the top 18 prospects in Washington.
 
In Oregon, Eastern signed All-State linebacker Mitchell Johnson from West Linn High School. Johnson had 170 tackles in leading the Lions to a perfect 14-0 season and State 6A title in 2016.
 
Eastern also signed a highly-regarded linebacker in Cale Lindsay from Lakes High School in Tacoma, Wash. He received votes in the balloting for State 3A Player of the Year as chosen by the Associated Press after the 2016 season when he had 121 tackles in nine regular season games. He earned All-State honors as a tight end by AP following his junior season.
 
The Eagles also signed a quarterback with NFL lineage, Nick Moore, from Hart High School in California. Moore accounted for 36 touchdowns with 2,815 yards of total offense as a senior. His older brother Matt Moore is a former Oregon State quarterback who played versus EWU, and is a 10-year NFL veteran now playing for Miami.
 
Moore's Kamiakin teammate, offensive lineman Wyatt Musser, also signed, as EWU inked four sets of teammates. Wide receiver Marques Hampton and safety A. Pasesa Leiato were teammates at Steilacoom High School near Tacoma, Wash., and Lindsay and linebacker Xavier Banner were teammates at Lakes, also near Tacoma. The other set – wide receiver Johnny Edwards IV and linebacker Chris Ojoh – were graduates of California's Bishop Alemany High School where Adams graduated from in 2011. Interestingly, Leiato's older brother plays for Oregon and Banner's older brother is at USC.
 
The Eagles also signed one other wide receiver (Andrew Boston) and another quarterback (Gunner Talkington), as those two positions were among the recruiting priorities in 2017. Although Eastern has plenty of other offensive skill players already in the their program, Eastern replaces three senior receivers – Cooper Kupp, Kendrick Bourne and Shaq Hill -- who combined for an astonishing 817 catches for 12,412 yards and 132 touchdowns in a combined 160 games of experience (109 starts).
 
"Quarterback always will be a recruiting priority for an Eastern Washington offense," said Best. "The receiver position was important too after losing three senior standouts at that position. It's not necessarily three for three, as much as you want to find the best fit and the best players for those positions. We are just fortunate to sign those three individuals. But we're also always trying to fit all positions with the best players available that fit our system."

 
 

More Comments from Aaron Best . . .

 
Best on 14 Recruits from Washington: "We start in the State of Washington, and that's where we will always start. Where we end is to be determined each year because of our positional needs and the player type we need. It fluctuates year to year. Signing 15 of 19 this year from Washington is a testament to the brand of football being played in this state. It's a tribute to the high caliber of coaches who are developing players to put us in a position to be able to support their student-athletes."
 
Best on No Running Backs on List: "The one position we didn't feel like we needed to address in the now was the running back position. We feel we have young players there who are going to be very effective moving forward, and we're excited at that position. We determined that if we found a running back that really fits us we try to sign him, but if not we'll look at the class of 2018."
 
Best on Schedule Since Being Named Head Coach: "I don't know if there is an adverb or adjective to describe it, but 'unscripted' might fit. It's been a whirlwind and I've been excited every single minute along the way. We've been recruiting, talking to players, hiring coaches, speaking to human resources, talking to athletic department administrators and visiting with media in and around Spokane. It's been a platform to tell the Eastern story that has been built up in me for 20 years. It's been a great opportunity, and this week we're talking about bringing in a great recruiting class in here and developing them in the next four or five years. I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything else in the world – I'm blessed, fortunate and my family is excited. I look forward to many years as an Eagle."
 
 

More about the 2016 & 2017 Eagles . . .

 
Eastern, which has compiled a 48-16 record overall and 35-5 league mark in the last five years, lost 12 seniors to graduation from its 2016 team. The Eagles are expected to return 6 1/2 starters on both sides of the ball when spring practices begin in April. Eastern advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs in 2016, finishing with a 12-2 record overall after going a perfect 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference play.
 
Aaron Best, who has spent 20 seasons since the fall of 1996 as a player at coach at Eastern, was named head coach on Jan. 21. He has spent the last nine seasons as Eastern's offensive line coach under former head coach Beau Baldwin, who announced Jan. 16 he was leaving EWU to take the offensive coordinator position at Cal.
 
Best helped coordinate an offense in 2016 which set seven Big Sky Conference records and two additional EWU marks for a total of nine school records. Eastern finished the year ranked second in FCS in total offense with an average of 529.6 yards per game and was the FCS leader in passing offense (401.0 yards per game). Eastern was also third in scoring offense (42.4).
 
Eastern's offense excelled after Best helped develop an offensive line that lost all five starters from EWU's 2015 squad plus two other seniors. In the last eight games of the 2016 season, the starting lineup consisted of two redshirt freshmen and a trio of sophomores.
 
In the last 13 seasons (2004-16) – 12 with Best on the coaching staff -- EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing 11 times and in total offense on nine occasions and scoring five times. In 2016, center Spencer Blackburn was a second team All-Big Sky selection and went on to earn sophomore All-America accolades.
 
Eastern also made huge strides on defense in 2016 under second-year defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding. In their last seven victories of the season, the defense allowed just 113 points (16.1 per game).  The Eagles allowed only 24.4 points per game (195 total, second-best in the league) during its 8-0 Big Sky Conference season after allowing 40.7 against three challenging non-conference opponents. The Eagles scored 69 unanswered points in the playoffs in defeats of 31-14 over Central Arkansas and 38-0 over Richmond, which was EWU's first shutout in 102 games.
 
The starters returning on offense were all either sophomores or freshmen, and the defense included four sophomores and three juniors who started at least seven of EWU's 14 games. Eastern's kicker, punter and long snapper will all return as well. Of Eastern's 13 players honored on All-Big Sky Conference teams, seven of them were underclassmen (QB Gage Gubrud, DT Jay-Tee Tiuli, C Spencer Blackburn, CB Nzuzi Webster, OT Tristen Taylor, OT Nick Ellison, S Mitch Fettig).
 
 

 


Eastern Washington University 2017 Recruiting Class

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School)
Xavier Banner LB 6-0 200 Tacoma, Wash. (Lakes HS 17)
Andrew Boston WR 6-3 180 Puyallup, Wash. (Emerald Ridge HS '17)
Ira Branch CB 6-1 170 Tacoma, Wash. (Mount Tahoma HS '17)
Johnny Edwards IV WR 5-11 175 Pasadena, Calif. (Bishop Alemany HS '17)
Anfernee Gurley DB 5-10 180 Everett, Wash. (Archbishop Murphy HS '17)
Marques Hampton Jr. WR 6-1 180 DuPont, Wash. (Steilacoom HS '17)
Dylan Ingram TE 6-5 235 Camas, Wash. (Camas HS '17)
Mitchell Johnson DE 6-3 225 West Linn, Ore. (West Linn HS '17)
A. Pasesa Leiato S 6-0 180 Steilacoom, Wash. (Steilacoom HS '17)
Cale Lindsay LB 6-1 220 Tacoma, Wash. (Lakes HS '17)
Amir Matheney DT 6-2 300 Olympia, Wash. (Olympia HS '17)
Debore'ae McClain DE 6-3 210 Bremerton, Wash. (Peninsula HS '17)
Darreon Moore CB 5-11 165 Pasco, Wash. (Kamiakin HS '17)
Nick Moore QB 6-0 180 Newhall, Calif. (Hart HS '17)
Wyatt Musser OL 6-5 275 Kennewick, Wash. (Kamiakin HS '17)
Chris Ojoh LB 6-1 215 Sunland, Calif. (Bishop Alemany HS '17)
Matt Shook OL 6-4 270 Graham, Wash. (Graham-Kapowsin HS '17)
Matthew Simpson DE 6-3 235 Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep HS '17)
Gunner Talkington QB 5-10 180 Battle Ground, Wash. (Battle Ground HS '17)

 
Pronunciations
Marques Hampton – first named pronounced "Marcus"
A. Pasesa Leiato – Puh-seh-suh Lay-ah-toe
Cale Lindsay – Lynnd-zay
Amir Matheney – Uh-meer Muh-thee-knee
Darreon Moore – Dare-ee-uhn
Wyatt Musser – Muss-ur
Chris Ojoh – O-joh
Debore'ae McClain – Duh-bore-ee-aa
 

 
 
 
 

Xavier Banner

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Banner: "Xavier has bloodlines – I think his brother Zach is like 7-feet-7, 415 pounds – I exaggerate, but I know he's huge. What strikes you when you watch Xavier's video is that he is selfless. He played defensive end and we are going to play him at linebacker here, but he also played at offensive tackle. He's willing to do what's best for the team. He was excited about the opportunity to be recruited as a linebacker. His personality is infectious – he has a big smile, he has wild hair and he has a great family that has delivered him to this point. I'm excited to see what he does – if I was a player again I would want a locker next to him because he's going to make me a better person on top of being a better player. He's been in our camps and comes from a program that knows how to win. We're extremely excited to see Xavier, and see him get bigger, faster and stronger."
 
HS: Will graduate from Lakes HS in 2017. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area second team as a defensive lineman. Earned first team All-3A Pierce County League honors as a defensive lineman and honorable mention as an offensive lineman. Spent part of the season as a backup tight end for fellow EWU signee Cole Lindsay, but moved to left offensive tackle. Lakes finished 7-5, beating Edmonds-Woodway (18-12) and Southridge (31-17) in the State 3A Playoffs before falling to Eastside Catholic (57-24) in the quarterfinals.
 
His Lakes teammate Cole Lindsay ('17) also signed with Eastern. Numerous former Eagles also attended Lakes, including 2016 senior J.J. Njoku ('12) and 1991-92 All-Big Sky Conference running back Harold Wright ('89).
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in criminal justice. Born 11/29/99 in Tacoma, Wash. Parents are Ron and Vanessa Banner. His older brother, Zach Banner, is a 6-foot-9, 345-pound offensive lineman at USC. Xavier had a playoff game in Kennewick, Wash., and was unable to attend his brother's lone visit to Husky Stadium when USC beat Washington on Nov. 12, 2016. Nickname is "X".
 
 

Andrew Boston

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Boston: "Andrew has great hands and great ball skills. One of the things we realized watching video of him was that when the ball is in the air, it's his ball to come down with. He has an aggressive mentality and he finds a way to get possession. He has some return skills to him as well. He's a long-levered type of player that we're used to, the likes of Greg Herd, Nick Edwards, Brandon Kaufman, Cooper Kupp, Kendrick Bourne – the six-foot and above club, so to speak. Above all he's a really good student, and we're excited to have Andrew on board."
 
HS: Will graduate from Emerald Ridge HS in 2017. His co-head coaches in high school were Adam Schakel and Troy Halfaday. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area first team as a defensive back. Earned first team All-4A South Puget Sound League honors as a wide receiver after catching 69 passes for 859 yards (12.4 per catch) and 13 touchdowns. He also returned a kick 92 yards for a touchdown versus Puyallup.
 
As a junior he also earned first team All-SPSL 4A South Division honors as a wide receiver and second team accolades as a defensive back. He caught 55 passes for 846 yards (15.4 per catch) with seven touchdowns in 2015. In his sophomore season he earned honorable mention all-league. Also competed in basketball and track and field in high school. Former Eagle wide receiver Brynsen Brown ('05) also played at Emerald Ridge, as well as current Eagle Ashanti Kindle ('14).
 
He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Rated as a three-star performer by the website scout.com, who also rated Boston as the No. 1 wide receiver recruit in the state of Washington and the 28th best WR prospect in the Western United States. Was also named as a three-star recruit by the website 247sports.com and was ranked as the 18th best prospect in the state of Washington (as of 1/25/17). Ranked as a two-star recruit by rivals.com.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 2/12/99 in Boise, Idaho. Parents are Chris and Rechelle Boston. In selecting Eastern, he also received interest and/or offers from Hawaii, Air Force, Army, Idaho, Montana State, Portland State, UC Davis and Weber State.
 
 
 

Ira Branch

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Branch: "Once you get to meet him, you think you have known him forever because he has such an infectious personality. I want to be around him, so I'm assuming our players in the locker room want to be around him as well. That's on top of his ability to break-up passes or intercept the ball from the cornerback position. He also has special teams capabilities as a returner. He tackles well, and we feel extremely happy that he can be put on an island and be able to bring ball carriers down no matter the situation. He is a good student and is a high academic achiever. We're excited to sign him."
 
HS: Will graduate from Mount Tahoma HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Ricky Daley. He earned first team All-3A Pierce County League honors as both a defensive back and as a kickoff returner. In his career he had 45 tackles, three interceptions (two for touchdowns), five passes broken up, a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns and one punt return for a TD. He had 29 tackles as a senior and returned an interception 95 yards. He returned two kickoffs for 177 yards and averaged 6.0 yards on five punt returns. On offense he caught three passes for 32 yards and also completed 14-of-20 passes for 152 yards. He also earned all-league honors as a junior. Among the many former Eagles who played at Mount Tahoma were wide receiver Tony Brooks ('89), as well as Will Edge ('06), Gabriel Jackson ('07) and Ronald Baines ('09) off of EWU's 2010 National Championship team.
 
Listed as a two-star recruit on rivals.com and scout.com.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in sports medicine. Born 6/27/99 in Oklahoma City. Parents are Eric Tillman and Maliks Branch. He is related to former Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch. Nickname is "I.B."
 
 
 

Johnny Edwards IV

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Edwards: "The first thing to come to mind is smooth. He's a very good route runner. He also has great capabilities in the return game too, and can make plays on special teams. He can scoot and we are going to utilize his speed at receiver and in our return game. He's a multi-sport player, and we look for them to be well-versed in a lot of facets other than football. We're excited about his play-making skills, whether it's in the slot or outside. It will be fun to see which player is the first 100-ball catcher of the three we bring in. He's a dynamic player and we look forward to having him on campus."
 
HS: Will graduate from Bishop Alemany HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was James Washington. As a senior, he earned second team All-Mission League honors as a wide receiver. He caught 43 passes for 774 yards (18.0 average) with 13 touchdowns in 2016. Including 556 yards (23.2 average) on kickoff returns and 71 yards returning punts, he had 1,411 all-purpose yards (141.1 per game). Edwards had at least 100 yards receiving in four games, including 184 on five catches with two touchdowns versus Santa Margarita. In his next game against Oaks Christian he had three touchdown catches. He lettered in football as a junior, and also competed in track and field for the Warriors. His Alemany teammate Chris Ojoh  ('17) also signed with the Eagles, and Alemany was the high school home of former Eagle All-America quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. ('11).
 
Edwards is a three-star recruit on scout.com, who also ranked Edwards as the 15th best wide receiver recruit in the state of California and the 20th best WR prospect in the Western United States. Was also rated as a three-star recruit by rivals.com and by 247sports.com, who also ranked him as the 16th best WR recruit and 122nd best overall in the state of California.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 12/31/98 in Pasadena, Calif. Parents are Johnny Edwards III and Mary Elizabeth Presley.
 
 
 

Anfernee Gurley

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Gurley: "He played on both sides of the ball at the high school level, so he's had the ability to make plays with the ball on the offensive side and make plays on the defensive side. He can close and make tackles – some players have that innate ability to be able to close the distance between themselves and the ball carrier. When he closes on defenders, he sets himself up to finish the play with a tackle. He has a real knack for the football. He's a versatile player and can fit in at multiple positions in our defensive backfield, which may allow him to play sooner rather than later. We recognized his talent a few years ago with two of our coaches on the campus of Archbishop Murphy for a camp. We're excited for Anfernee's skillset to be on this campus."
 
HS: Will graduate from Archbishop Murphy HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Jerry Jensen. In his four-year, 40-game career, he rushed for 1,432 yards with 18 touchdowns, caught 62 passes for 1,501 yards and 10 scores, and had a total of 1,587 yards returning kicks. In all, he had 4,747 all-purpose yards and had 45 touchdowns with a total of 272 points scored. Defensively, he had 107 career tackles with 10 interceptions for 227 yards in returns.
 
Was one of just 26 players selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-State team, earning honors as a defensive back. He received 11 points in finishing ninth in balloting for the State Player of the Year (all classifications) by Associated Press, and was second with 34 points for 2A Player of the Year honors. He was picked for the Everett Herald All-Area first team as both an all-purpose player and as a defensive back. Repeated as the 2A Cascade Conference co-Offensive Player of the Year, and was also first team all-league on defense. He had 583 receiving yards with seven touchdowns, 437 rushing yards with five TDs, a kickoff return for a 95-yard touchdown and 216 yards on 11 punt returns (19.6 per return) with two more scores. He also had 29 tackles, two interceptions and scored 15 total touchdowns. He had 1,371 all-purpose yards for an average of 152.3 per game. Those statistics came in just nine games on the field, as the private school made national news by receiving five forfeits after dominating opponents in its first three games 170-0. The Wildcats capped a perfect season by beating Liberty of Issaquah 56-14 for the 2A State title, their first since back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003. Gurley caught a 69-yard TD pass in the game, giving Archbishop Murphy a 49-7 lead in the third quarter. He also had a 51-yard TD reception in the first half and finished with three catches for 122 yards and a rush for six yards. He also had six tackles on defense, a forced fumble and an interception he returned 39 yards to set-up his own third quarter touchdown. The Wildcats finished the season 14-0, including a 9-0 record on the field. The Wildcats outscored those nine opponents 463-44 (average score of 51-5), including 245-44 in five playoff games (49-9). Gurley also earned preseason All-State honors from the Tacoma News Tribune.
 
As a junior, he was named first team All-State by Associated Press as an all-purpose player. He was picked as the 2015 Football Athlete of the Year by the Everett Herald, and was also on that newspaper's All-Area first team as a defensive back. Gurley earned 2A Cascade Conference MVP honors on offense and was a first team all-league selection on defense. He had 607 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing, 780 yards receiving on 31 catches with nine more scores and 562 additional yards on kick returns. Gurley finished with a total of 1,975 all-purpose yards (151.9 per game). He also had 37 total tackles, three interceptions and scored 22 total touchdowns. The Wildcats advanced to the semifinals of the State 2A Playoffs, but lost to Tumwater 24-21.
 
In his sophomore season, Gurley earned first team All-Cascade Conference honors on defense and second team on offense. He rushed for 390 yards and had 130 rushing, finishing with 431 all-purpose yards with seven touchdowns. He had 26 tackles and three interceptions he returned 153 yards. As a freshman, he had 15 tackles, two interceptions, 431 all-purpose yards and scored three times. He also competed in basketball and track and field in high school. Former Eagle Kyle Wilkins ('05) also attended Archbishop Murphy.
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him. He was named by the Seattle Times as a "Red Chip" selection as one of the top 18 prospects in the state of Washington. Gurley was given a two-star rating by scout.com, rivals.com and 247sports.com, who also rated him as the 36th best recruit in the state of Washington.
 
Personal: Born 3/29/99 in Orlando, Fla. Parents are Quantez and Jessica Gurley.

 

Marques Hampton Jr.

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Hampton: "He's a multi-sport athlete who is also a very good student. He's going to adapt well to our locker room based on his well-roundedness – the EKG factor if you will. He high-points the ball and finds a way to corral the ball and come down with it. I'm sure he would have loved to have more opportunities at the high school level to catch more balls and be more of a focal point, and he'll have that opportunity at Eastern Washington. He has an unassuming personality – he's happy-go-lucky with a grin on his face all the time. He makes you feel better just by being around him. He's an upstanding student-athlete with great parents, and we covet having him bring his skills to Cheney."
 
HS: Will graduate from Steilacoom HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Richard Lane. He had career totals in 27 games of 138 catches for 2,274 yards (16.5 per catch) and 23 touchdowns. He also had 113 tackles with five interceptions, four fumble recoveries and two fumbles forced.
 
In his senior season, he was selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area first team as a wide receiver. He earned first team All-2A South Puget Sound League first team honors as both a wide receiver and defensive back. He finished with 73 receptions for 969 yards (13.3 per catch) and 13 touchdown grabs. He had five performances with at least 100 yards, including five catches for 152 yards and a touchdown versus River Ridge. He had a season-high 10 catches for 103 yards against Orting during his team's eight-game winning streak. The Sentinels finished the season 8-3, beating Olympic 29-14 in the State 2A Playoffs before losing to Liberty 20-13 in the second round.
 
As a junior, Hampton was selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area second team as a wide receiver. He also earned first team All-SPSL honors as a receiver and second team accolades as a defensive back. He had 54 catches for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns. He had six performances with at least 100 yards, including career highs of 10 catches for 161 yards versus Fife. He added 11 catches for 203 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore when he also had a school-record three interceptions versus Yelm. He also competed in basketball and track and field in high school. His Steilacoom teammate A. Pasesa Leiato also signed with the Eagles, and current Eagle Josh Lewis ('14) also attended the school. In addition, former Eagle wide receiver Greg Herd ('09) and Ed Harris ('94) played there. Herd holds school records for single season receiving yards (1,513) and touchdowns (13).
 
He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Hampton is a two-star recruit according to scout.com as well as 247sports.com, who also ranked Hampton as the 23rd best prospect in the state of Washington. Listed as a three-star recruit by rivals.com.
 
Personal: Born 9/10/98 in Tacoma, Wash. Parents are Marques Hampton Sr. and Sarah Dorfner. First name is pronounced "Marcus."
 
 

 
Dylan Ingram

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Ingram: "He has length – he's 6-6 and if not, he's darn close. That allows him the ability to play multiple positions, and possibly on either side of the ball. We have not ruled out the possibility of playing him on defense – he's what we call a 'big athlete.' He's a wrestler and his goal is to be a state champion, and wrestling is a tough sport. He's versatile, physical and has a great frame. When he gets here we'll see where his growth goes – the bigger the better. He's ready to make plays wherever he plays. He was also a state champion in football and he's a good student. All those attributes describe Dylan in a nutshell."
 
HS: Will graduate from Camas HS in 2017. Coached in high school by Jon Eagle, whose teams were a collective 35-2 in Ingram's three seasons on the varsity. Earned first team All-Greater St. Helens League honors as a tight end and defensive lineman, and was selected All-Region by the Columbian as a defensive lineman. Camas won the State 4A title, beating Richland 24-14 for the title, with Ingram contributing four tackles and a pass reception for five yards. The Papermakers finished 14-0, having also defeated Enumclaw (56-0), Graham-Kapowsin (55-6), Skyline (28-14) and Sumner (45-21) in the playoffs. They outscored opponents 619-181 during the season (average score of 44-13), and won the 4A Greater St. Helens League title with a 4-0 mark.
 
Ingram played on varsity teams in 2015 when Camas finished 11-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, and in and 2014 when Camas was 10-1 and was ousted in the first round. He also wrestled at Camas, and placed third in the 220-pound weight class at the State 3A Championships as a junior. Ingram earned All-State honors and as a junior is expected to compete for the state title. He competed in track and field as well. Former Camas Eagles on EWU's 2016 roster included Roldan Alcobendas ('13), Zach Eagle ('14) and Reilly Hennessey ('14).
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 12/20/98 in Portland, Ore. Parents are Jason and Michele Ingram.
 
 
 

Mitchell Johnson

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Johnson: "He's an outstanding student with great character. He's long-levered, and that allows us versatility within positions. You can kind of nurture that type of player into different positions so they aren't pigeon-holed. He played linebacker in high school, and he can possibly play our buck position and make plays out of a two-point stance on the line of scrimmage. But we also see him at putting his hand in the ground at times on the defensive line. He'll rush the passer, drop into coverage and be a ball-hawk – he has a nose for the football. He played for a state championship team and knows what it takes to win. He comes from a great family and a great high school program, and we're excited for Mitch to join our program."
 
HS: Will graduate from West Linn HS in 2017. Coached by Chris Miller in high school. Was selected by the Oregonian as a first team 6A All-State selection as a senior linebacker. He earned first team All-Three Rivers League honors on defense as well. He had 170 tackles (12.1 per game) as a senior, including 16 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also had three quarterback hurries, two interceptions, five passes broken up and two fumble recoveries. He had at least 10 tackles in his first nine games of the season, and finished with double figures in 11 of 14 games. He had a season-high of 22 with five for losses in a 54-7 win over Lakeridge. Helped lead the Lions to a perfect 14-0 finish and the State 6A championship, beating Central Catholic 62-7 in the title game. He had six tackles in that blowout victory. In five playoff games, they outscored opponents 277-75 (average score of 55-15) after winning the 6A Three Rivers League title with a 7-0 record (average score of 44-10). For the season, West Linn outscored opponents 684-198 (48-14).
 
In his junior season, he had 38 tackles, including one for a safety. West Linn was 12-2 and advanced to the 6A title game where it lost to Jesuit 21-14. He equaled his season high with seven tackles in the championship game. Johnson also played on the varsity as a sophomore when West Linn was 9-3, for a collective 35-5 record in his three seasons.as a Lion. He also competed in lacrosse at West Linn, earning All-USA Oregon honors from USA Today following his sophomore season. He scored five goals as West Linn beat Lakeridge 10-6 to capture the 2015 Oregon High School Lacrosse Association championship and finish 18-4 on the season. He earned honorable mention All-State honors as sophomore, and as a junior he was selected to play in an Oregon all-star game. He was a National Honor Society student at West Linn with a 3.5 grade point average.
 
The Oregonian gave him honorable mention on its list of top college prospects following the 2016 season. Was rated a two-star recruit by scout.com, rivals.com and on 247sports.com, which also ranked him as the 28th best prospect in the state of Oregon.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 6/25/99 in West Linn, Ore. Parents are David and Shannon Johnson.
 

 
A. Pasesa Leiato

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Leiato: "He's a flat-out, selfless type of player. He likes to cover kicks and hit people when he does. He has a great special teams mentality, and that also rings true on the defensive side of the ball. We're excited to see him at the safety or rover position, and see where he fits whether it's on the hash or at or near the box. He has multiple capabilities and he is very physical and loves contact. He has football instincts and at the end of the day he's always around the football. Where exactly he will play is to be determined, but we expect a ton out of him in his tenure at Eastern. His hair also jumps out at you, much like his brother Fotu who is at the University of Oregon."
 
HS: Will graduate from Steilacoom HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Richard Lane. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area second team as a linebacker. He also earned first team All-SPSL honors as a linebacker. He had 125 total tackles as a senior with four sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and one forced fumble. He also rushed for 125 yards and passed for 130. He had at least 10 tackles in seven games, including 18 in a 33-23 win over Tumwater and 15 versus Stadium. He also had a sack, an interception and a blocked kick versus Tumwater. The Sentinels had an eight-game winning streak during the season and finished the year 8-3. Steilacoom defeated Olympic 29-14 in the State 2A Playoffs before losing to Liberty 20-13 in the second round. In his junior season, he earned second team All-SPSL honors as a defensive back and honorable mention as a quarterback. He also played as a freshman and sophomore, and competed in track and field in high school. His Steilacoom teammate Marques Hampton Jr. also signed with the Eagles, and current Eagle Josh Lewis ('14) also attended the school. In addition, former Eagle wide receiver Greg Herd ('09) and Ed Harris ('94) played there.
 
He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Leiato is a two-star recruit, according to scout.com and 247sports.com, who also ranked him as the 30th best recruit in the state of Washington.
 
Personal: Full name is Anthony Pasesa Leiato. Born 10/6/98 in Orange County, Calif. Parents are Fotu and Linetta Leiato. His older brother, Fotu T. Leiato II, now plays for Oregon and made his debut versus EWU on Sept. 5, 2015. Nickname is "Sesa". Name is pronounced "Puh-seh-suh" "Lay-ah-toe."
 
 
 

Cale Lindsay

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Lindsay: "He was very well-coached and comes from a great family. He's a good student and in our mind he's a box player who will play tackle-to-tackle. He's instinctive and he makes tackles when he arrives where he needs to be. With or without teammates, he finds a way to bring ball carriers down. We are excited to see him play on one side of the ball and truly blossom as a linebacker. He'll get even more instinctive with coaching, and will be a great addition to our linebacker corp. We're excited to see him truly take off as a football player after kind of an injury-plagued senior season. He was hampered, but we never wavered in what we thought about him. We're excited to have him here at Eastern."
 
HS: Will graduate from Lakes HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Dave Miller. After having 196 tackles in his final two high school seasons combined, he received votes in the balloting for State 3A Player of the Year as chosen by the Associated Press. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area first team as a tight end for the second-straight season. Despite a hamstring injury, he still earned first team All-3A Pierce County League honors and was the league's "Front Seven" Player of the Year after leading Lakes in tackles with 121 (13.4 per game) during the regular season. Lindsay also had four sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble. On offense, he finished the season with 12 catches for 205 yards (17.1 per catch) with three touchdowns, and punted for a 37.9 average with a long of 45. Six times he had double figures in tackles, including 16 versus Bellarmine Prep. He had 15 and 14 in the final two regular season games of his career. Lakes finished 7-5, beating Edmonds-Woodway (18-12) and Southridge (31-17) in the State 3A Playoffs before falling to Eastside Catholic (57-24) in the quarterfinals. Earned 2016 preseason All-State honors from the Tacoma News Tribune, as well as the Olympian, as a linebacker.
 
As a junior, earned first team All-State honors from the Associated Press as a tight end. Was also selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area team as a junior, and also earned first team All-3A Pierce County League honors as a tight end and honorable mention as a linebacker. He had 36 catches for 613 yards (17.0 per catch) and 10 touchdowns. He also had 75 tackles and an interception on defense. He had two touchdown catches on three occasions, with a high of 104 yards on four catches (no scores) versus Auburn Mountainview. He had 11 tackles in victories over Franklin Pierce and Bonney Lake. The Lancers finished 10-3 after beating Kamiakin (53-34) and Kennewick (35-6) in the State 3A Playoffs and then falling to eventual champion Eastside Catholic (49-21) in the semifinals. Also played varsity football as a sophomore, and competed in track and field in high school. His Lakes teammate Xavier Banner ('17) also signed with Eastern. Numerous former Eagles also attended Lakes, including 2016 senior J.J. Njoku ('12) and 1991-92 All-Big Sky Conference running back Harold Wright ('89).
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him. He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in mechanical engineering technology. Born 10/2/98 in Federal Way, Wash. Parents are Shelby and Katrina Lindsay. Name is pronounced "Lynnd-zay."
 
 
 

Amir Matheney

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Matheney: "Olympia has been a very good pipeline for us. Amir is a great hand-down defensive player, and his first step is one thing that jumps out at you. He gets off the ball fast and makes life difficult on guards and centers. As a former center, I wouldn't like to face him every snap of an entire game. Hopefully he imposes that will on future centers and guards he'll face. He can really get off blocks. We saw him at our camps, and that's important for us to see him up close and personal and not just on a video screen. He's huge and has a huge personality. The class of 2017 has nicknamed themselves the 'Savage '17,' and he's kind of the emperor of that domain. His personality is infectious, so we look to add him not only as a good player but as a good person. We're excited to sign him."
 
HS: Will graduate from Olympia HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Bill Beattie. In three years, he had career totals of 147 tackles including 13 sacks and 25 total tackles for loss. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area first team as a defensive lineman. Was also selected to the All-Area first team as selected by the Olympian. Was a first-team All-4A South Puget Sound League first team selection in 2016. Despite being double-teamed and even triple-teamed much of the season, he finished his senior season with 52 tackles, seven tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and a blocked kick. He helped lead the Bears to a 7-3 record and the first round of the State 4A Playoffs where it lost to Skyview (38-27). His coach, Bill Beattie, called him a "very dominant force in the middle."
 
As a junior, he earned first team All-Narrows League honors in helping Olympia finish 7-3. He had 56 tackles, seven sacks and 13 total tackles for loss. The Bears allowed an average of just 62.5 rushing yards per game with Matheney plugging the middle. Also started for the Bears as a sophomore when he earned second team All-4A Narrows League honors. That team finished 6-4 and he finished with 39 tackles, four sacks and five tackles for loss. Current Eagles Mitch Fettig ('14) and Brett Thompson ('16) attended Olympia HS, as did 1997 Eagle All-America quarterback Harry Leons ('93).
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him. He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Matheney was a two-star recruit by rivals.com, scout.com and by 247sports.com, and was ranked as the 50th best prospect in Washington.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in political science. Born 6/22/99 in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Parents are Jason and Sherry Matheney. Nickname is "". Name is pronounced "Uh-meer" "Muh-thee-knee."
 
 
 

Debore'ae McClain

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on McClain: "Debo is probably the most versatile player in this class in terms of positions played. You don't see many quarterbacks also play defensive end. He played both ways and played all over. From a physical standpoint he has length and is a wiry individual who makes plays. Whether he's playing attack defensive end or running read-zone at quarterback, he finds a way to be productive. He has a ton of room to grow physically and we're excited. He has a motor, and motors aren't taught – you either have one or you don't. He has a myriad of ways to get on the field for us – he'll just find a way. We're excited for the next five years for him. At the end of the day, he's going to make our locker room and team better."
 
HS: Will graduate from Peninsula HS in 2017. Coached in high school by Ross Filkins. Earned honorable mention All-3A South Sound Conference honors as a defensive lineman. Helped Peninsula finish 10-2 in his senior season and advance to the State 3A Playoffs where the Seahawks defeated Stadium (44-21) and Mountain View (17-0) before losing to Meadowdale (34-29) in the quarterfinals. Also competed in basketball, soccer and track and field while in high school.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business administration. Born 12/26/98 in Bremerton, Wash.  Mother is Kisha McClain. Nickname is "Debo". Name is pronounced "Duh-bore-ee-aa."
 
 
 

Darreon Moore

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Moore: "Great competitor comes to mind when describing Darreon. He played on both sides of the ball, whether he's catching balls or defending them as a cornerback. He's a well-rounded player and person, and he's already in the running start program. He's well ahead of the game as a student. He can also help us on the field on special teams as a returner. We're extremely excited to see a player with his capabilities grow so close to home. We'll see how he progresses as a cornerback, and we think he and Ira Branch can be two very good cornerbacks for us in the near future and the far future here at Eastern."
 
HS: Will graduate from Kamiakin HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Scott Biglin. As a senior in 2016, Moore was one of only 24 players honored as an All-State selection by the Seattle Times. Was also one of just 26 players selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-State team as a defensive back. He earned first team All-Mid-Columbia honors as both a wide receiver and a defensive back, and was selected to the Tri-City Herald All-Area Team as a first team defensive back and second team wide receiver. It was the third time in his career he was first team all-league on defense. In the regular season he had 26 receptions for 496 yards (19.1 per catch) and eight touchdowns, and finished with 671 total all-purpose yards. Moore scored nine total touchdowns for a team which led the Mid-Columbia Conference in total offense (398.1) and was third in defense (249.9). He added five catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs, giving him a season total of 31 grabs for 609 yards and nine scores. He helped lead Kamiakin to its first-ever State 3A title and the first for a high school in the city of Kennewick. The Braves beat O'Dea 14-7 in overtime to capture the first 3A title for a team east of the Cascade Mountains since 1999. Moore caught a 53-yard touchdown pass with 4:24 left to tie the game at 7-7 and help send it into overtime. He also had three tackles to earn recognition as the game's MVP. Kamiakin finished the season 12-2 after handing the Irish their first defeat in 14 games. Was a preseason All-State selection by the Tacoma News Tribune.
 
As a junior, he was selected to the Associated Press 3A All-State first-team as a defensive back, and earned first team All-MCC honors as a defensive back and second team as a receiver. He was also selected to the Tri-City Herald All-Area Team as a first team defensive back. Kamiakin led the Mid-Columbia Conference in total offense (386.0) and was second in defense (259.8). The Braves finished the 2015 season 8-3 overall and lost to Lakes 53-34 in the first round of the State 3A Playoffs. He also started as a sophomore, and was a first team All-MCC selection. He led the Braves to an 8-3 record but did not advance to the State 3A Playoffs. His Kamiakin teammate Wyatt Musser ('17) also signed with the Eagles, and several other former Eagles played there, including former EWU player and assistant coach Garrick (Rick) Redden ('83).
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him. He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Moore was a three-star recruit on scout.com. He was also rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, and was listed as the 19th best prospect in the state of Washington by that website. Rivals.com listed Moore as a three-star recruit.
 
 Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 3/9/99 in Memphis, Tenn. Parents are Nickolus Thomas and Cassandra Moore-Thomas. First name is pronounced "Dare-ee-uhn."
 
 
 

Nick Moore

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Moore: "We obviously make quarterback a focal point of who we are. Nick Moore stands out as being a competitor, fiery and a dual-threat player. We've evolved to that, although our pocket passers have been successful. The presence of Nick with the ball – whether throwing or running – is what excites us. He was injured his junior season, but that didn't make us look at him any differently watching him as a senior. He was at our quarterback camp here at Eastern, so we were able to take an up-close and personal sneak peek at him, and see his productivity from the field level. He's tough to tackle, and a quarterback with that ability makes life miserable on a defense. He also has bloodlines and that says a ton. He's a different type of quarterback than his brother, but Nick has lived it, he's breathed it, he's seen it and he's related to it. We're not going to compare him by any stretch, but it's intriguing to have a quarterback who can see where his brother has been and what he's done. I'm sure Nick will try to emulate some of those characteristics."
 
HS: Will graduate from Hart HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Mike Herrington. As a senior he earned Foothill League Offensive Player of the Year honors and was on the Daily News All-Area first team as an all-purpose player. Moore also earned first team All-Santa Clarita Valley honors as selected by The Signal. He completed 58.2 percent of his passes (166-of-285) for 2,102 yards (191.1 per game) and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed 173 times for 713 yards (4.1 per carry) and 15 more scores, thus accounting for 36 touchdowns with 2,815 yards of total offense in 11 games (255.9 per game). He had at least 224 passing yards in six games, including a high of 309 and three touchdowns versus Arroyo when he completed 23-of-31 passes. He also had 79 yards rushing in that game to give him 388 yards of total offense. He had four TD passes and 285 yards against Ventura. He rushed for at least 100 yards twice, including 151 and two touchdowns against West Ranch when he also had 252 yards and three TDs passing to finish with a season high of 403 yards of total offense. He led Hart to an 8-3 record and berth in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Playoffs where it lost 34-17 to Cathedral.
 
He also started as a sophomore and again as a junior until suffering an ACL knee injury. He had 1,307 yards passing and 420 rushing with 19 total touchdowns in the 2015 season. The Indians finished 7-4 and lost to Mission Viejo 49-14 in the playoffs that year. In 2014, Hart finished 8-4 including a 30-22 playoff win over Edison and a 52-21 loss to Upland in the second round.
 
He attended EWU football camp, enabling the coaching staff to get a closer recruiting look at him. Listed as a two-star recruit by scout.com.
 
Personal: Full name is Nicholas George Moore. Born 7/28/98 in Van Nuys, Calif. Parents are Donald and Melinda Moore. His older brother, Matt Moore, also graduated from Hart and is now a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. He played at Oregon State, and came off the bench to complete 7-of-14 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns in OSU's 56-17 victory over EWU on Aug. 31, 2006. He was with the Carolina Panthers for four years and Miami for the past six. He's played in 45 career games in 10 NFL seasons, including 28 as a starter. Most recently, he had his first career playoff start as an injury replacement in Miami's 30-12 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 8, 2017, completing 29-of-36 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown.
 
 
 

Wyatt Musser

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Musser: "He was heavily recruited, and had multiple offers. But he felt Eastern was the best fit for him as a player and person above and beyond all the other things he was offered. He's a great student and very physical in the run game. He understands what it takes to win being from a very good program and a state championship team. He's a blue-collar worker, and he doesn't take things for granted. I've created a great relationship with Wyatt, and now it seems like I'm talking to a son instead of a player coming in. He'll probably play tackle, but he's a versatile player – whether it's left or right, or inside at guard or outside at tackle. He's solid and comes to us already built well. We usually put a lot of weight on players, but we'll only have to put a little weight on him. He can probably play any one of four positions right now, so we're extremely excited to see his progression. Along with Matt Shook, he needs to be one of the next great ones on our offensive line. He'll redshirt behind players who will teach him lessons, and we're looking forward to see that progress."
 
HS: Will graduate from Kamiakin HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Scott Biglin. He earned first team All-Mid-Columbia honors as an offensive lineman. He blocked for a team which led the Mid-Columbia Conference in total offense (398.1) and was third in defense (249.9). He helped lead Kamiakin to its first-ever State 3A title and the first for a high school in the city of Kennewick. The Braves beat O'Dea 14-7 in overtime to capture the first 3A title for a team east of the Cascade Mountains since 1999. Kamiakin finished the season 12-2 after handing the Irish their first defeat in 14 games.
 
As a junior, he earned honorable mention All-MCC honors. Kamiakin led the Mid-Columbia Conference in total offense (386.0) and was second in defense (259.8). The Braves finished the 2015 season 8-3 overall and lost to Lakes 53-34 in the first round of the State 3A Playoffs. He also competed in track and field for Kamiakin, and won the State 3A title in the discus with a school-record throw of 185-10. He also placed fifth in the shot put with a personal record of 52-0 1/4, and was the state runner-up in the discus as a junior. His Kamiakin teammate Darreon Moore ('17) also signed with the Eagles, and several other former Eagles played there, including former EWU player and assistant coach Garrick (Rick) Redden ('83).
 
He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Musser was a three-star recruit, and was rated as the fifth-best offensive tackle in the state of Washington and the 26th best in the Western United States by scout.com.  Was also rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, and was listed as the 20th best recruit in the state of WashingtonListed as a two-star recruit by rivals.com.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 9/9/98 in Kennewick, Wash. Parents are Scott and Teresa Musser. Nickname is "Muss". Name is pronounced "Muss-ur."
 
 
 

Chris Ojoh

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Ojoh: "The first thing that stood out was his infectious personality and big smile, but he also has big hands, big shoulders, big legs, big thighs and big feet – big everything. He's a quiet giant. He has length, long levers and he's very young, having just turned 17 in November. He has a lot of physical growing to do, but he plays physical and wants you to know he's there and it's him. He has great closing speed, and he has that defensive mentality where he quickly closes the air between himself and the ball carrier. He'll play in the box, and he can run, tackle and hit. When you put all those things together that's usually a defensive player, and we're excited about his growth and production. His mental capacity is great and has been raised by a great family."
 
HS: Will graduate from Bishop Alemany HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was James Washington. As a senior, he earned first team All-Mission League honors as a linebacker. He had 115 tackles (11.5 per game) with four sacks and a fumble recovery. Also played basketball and competed in track and field in high school. His Alemany teammate Johnny Edwards IV ('17) also signed with the Eagles, and Alemany was the high school home of former Eagle All-America quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. ('11).
 
Ojoh was a two-star recruit by scout.com and rivals.com.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in business. Born 11/15/99 in Nigeria. Parents are Christopher Ojoh and Paulin Elad. Nickname is "Mojo". Name is pronounced "O-joh."
 
 
 

Matt Shook

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Shook: "If you looked on the other side of the offensive line for Graham-Kapowsin, you would see a big kid who is going to Stanford. So I'm okay with the fact that Matt may have been under-recruited by other schools. That just tickles my fancy, because under-recruited or not, he's an offensive lineman. He has blue-collar instincts to him and is willing to block defenders for long periods of time. He'll start out as a tackle in college, but he could also play at either guard or tackle. He's athletic and has the feet and nimbleness we look for in offensive lineman. He has versatility, and he comes from a great program that knows what to do, how to do it, get the most out of players and wins games. Matt is a great student to boot, and he's the type of EKG we're looking for to easily transition into our program."
 
HS: Will graduate from Graham-Kapowsin HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Eric Kurle. Selected to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area second team as an offensive lineman. Earned first team All-4A South Puget Sound League South Division honors. Was part of the "Trench Crew" in helping lead the Eagles to a 9-2 record, advancing to the State 4A Playoffs where is beat Kentlake (55-28) and lost to eventual champion Camas (55-6) in the second round.
 
As a junior, he also earned first team All-SPSL 4A South Division honors. Graham-Kapowsin advanced to the quarterfinals of the 4A Playoffs and finished 11-1 after going a perfect 6-0 in the SPSL 4A South Division. After a playoff victory over Mount Si (38-13), the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season against Lake Stevens (49-14). Shook played on the offensive line with five-star recruit Foster Sarell, who was a U.S. Army High School All-American in 2016 and is headed for Stanford. Former Eagle offensive lineman Thomas Gomez ('11) also attended Graham-Kapowsin.
 
He was named by the Seattle Times as a "White Chip" selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Shook was a two-star recruit by scout.com and rivals.com.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in physical therapy. Born 5/7/99 in Lakewood, Wash. Parents are Steven Shook and Mariah Bartholomew. Nickname is "Shook Daddy."
 
 
 

Matthew Simpson

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Simpson: "He comes from a highly-touted high school program at Gonzaga Prep, so the locality of Matt excites us. Even before we circle players from Washington, we start with Spokane – 20 minutes away is our best friend. We're looking for good players who are good students and make good decisions, and he's on his way to doing that. Physically he brings a great motor to the table, and is relentless in his pursuit of ball carriers. He understands the defensive scheme of having his hand in the ground or flat out making plays and getting to the ball carrier and taking him down. He doesn't stay blocked for long, and takes advantage of his quickness and elusiveness. He's been a state champion, and when you are from a program like that you know how to win. You don't need to teach that. We're excited about Matt, his locality and what he brings to the defensive front."
 
HS: Will graduate from Gonzaga Prep HS in 2017. His head coach in high school was Dave McKenna, whose son Conor McKenna is a Gonzaga Prep graduate ('16) and redshirted as an Eagle linebacker in 2016. Simpson was the co-Defensive MVP in the 4A Greater Spokane League as a senior. He helped the Bulldogs win the Greater Spokane League title with a 5-0 record and finish 7-3 overall. Gonzaga Prep advanced to the State 4A Playoffs where it lost to Chiawana 37-35.
 
As a junior, he helped lead Gonzaga Prep to a 14-0 record and a 34-16 victory over Skyline in the championship game of the State 4A Playoffs. The Bullpups allowed only 12.7 points per game, including only 51 in its last three games of the season in dominating victories in the quarterfinals (28-18 over Woodinville), semifinals (31-17 over Richland) and championship game (34-16 over Skyline) of the playoffs.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in exercise science. Born 7/1/99 in Spokane, Wash. Parents are Jacobly Simpson and Tanna Finley. Nickname is "Matt".


 

Gunner Talkington

 
Head Coach Aaron Best on Talkington: "You hear Talkington and you kind of think of Tarkenton. It's about 40-50 years later, but Gunner has the same abilities – he's a little Houdini-ish like Fran Tarkenton was. He's tough to tackle and he's a dual-threat quarterback, and we're in the wheelhouse for those kind of players. Plus he can make all the throws in our Eastern system. Height and size aside, we ask if he can do what we're going to ask him to do on a play-by-play basis. We believe Gunner can. He's also a multi-sport athlete, so he's well-rounded in that respect. He's a worker and he's not afraid to roll up his sleeves and go to work. We've talked a lot about Gage Gubrud, and how he was maybe under-recruited and overachieved, which is the standard we have at Eastern. We're excited to see what Gunner will be like at Eastern Washington and where it goes in the next five years."
 
HS: Will graduate from Battle Ground HS in 2017. Played in high school for Larry Peck. He passed for 7,905 yards and 77 touchdowns in his career, completing 70 percent of his passes (566-of-813). He also rushed 284 times for 648 yards and 14 touchdowns, giving him 8,553 yards of total offense in his career while accounting for 91 TDs. He earned first team All-4A Greater St. Helen's League honors as a senior at quarterback, helping Battle Ground finish 7-2. He completed 71 percent of his passes as a senior (185-of-259) for 2,553 yards, 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He also rushed for 398 yards and 11 touchdowns, giving him 2,951 yards of total offense and 36 TDs accounted for. He was voted the high school player of the week by The Columbian after he completed 31-of-39 passes for 503 yards and six touchdowns in a win over Mountain View, adding 51 rushing to finish with 554 yards of total offense.
 
Talkington earned All-GSHL second team honors in 2015 and was a first team choice as a sophomore in 2014. He passed for 2,774 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior and 2,578 yards and 28 scores as a sophomore. Battle Ground advanced to the 2015 State 4A Playoffs in 2015 where it lost to eventual champion Gonzaga Prep 42-14 in the first round. The Tigers were 8-3 in his junior season and 4-5 as a sophomore.
 
He also played baseball at Battle Ground, earning second team 4A All-State honors as a catcher. He started since his freshman season, earning All-GSHL honors three times.
 
Personal: Considering majoring in health and fitness. Born 9/4/98 in Spokane, Wash. Parents are Troy and Cathy Talkington.

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