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Eastern Washington keeps its faith in injured recruits, signs nine on national letter of intent day

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 19, 2018

Pittsburg (California) High quarterback Trey Turner’s recruiting took a hit when the talented dual-threat player suffered a season-ending knee injury as a junior.

A similar injury sidelined Fife (Tacoma) High standout defensive lineman Soli Paleso’o this past season.

Eastern Washington kept its faith in the duo, and it acted in kind.

Turner and Paleso’o were two of nine recruits to sign with EWU on Wednesday in the NCAA’s early signing period.

Second-year head coach Aaron Best, whose Eagles (12-2) face top-ranked North Dakota State (14-0) in the FCS title game on Jan. 5, said he’s excited about this group.

Turner’s senior season was also shortened by injury, but he passed for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games, including 103 yards rushing for Pittsburg, one of the better programs in the Bay Area.

Best made a home visit to Turner in California on Saturday, a day after the Eagles beat Maine 50-19 in the FCS semifinals.

“He came to our quarterback camp and showed his physical talents and his character,” Best of Turner, who was also offered by Army. “He’s very humble, competitive and driven, which we need at all positions.

Paleso’o, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound force up front, was also offered by Idaho, Montana State, Portland State and Utah State, according to recruiting website 247sports.com.

“He had a knee injury, which turned a lot of people off, but one of those teams wasn’t us,” Best said of Paleso’o. “We were true to our word and stayed with him the entire way.”

Running back Kyle Bryant (San Fernando, California) comes to EWU after rushing for 3,554 yards and 44 touchdowns, helping San Fernando win three straight league titles.

Tight end Dawson Ingram is the latest in the EWU and Camas (Washington) High pipeline. The 6-5, 240-pound standout joins his brother, Dylan Ingram, a sophomore tight end for the Eagles.

Defensive end Brock Harrison of Ridgefield (Washington) High brings size (6-3, 235) and speed to EWU team that loses two senior defensive ends to graduation. Harrison, who was also offered by Air Force and Georgetown, was the 2A Greater St. Helens Defensive Player of the Year.

“He had other opportunities to go different places,” Best said, “but felt like this was his home away from home.”

EWU also signed defensive end Warren Hardin of Riverside (California) Poly High, an athletic pass-rushing end who also received interest from Utah State and Air Force. Safety Jordan White (Lynwood, Calif.) comes to Cheney after starring both ways at Chaparral High.

Best also brought in a pair of offensive linemen in George Becker (6-4, 265), of Gridley, California, who was also offered by Fresno State, and Valley Catholic (Banks, Oregon) standout Isaac Flemmer (6-7, 265).

“It’s a great class, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from our coaches and support staff,” Best said. “Half the class is in and half the class is yet to come.”

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