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Two-sport athlete Nathan Rawlings-Kibonge lists Washington State in top-eight list for football

UPDATED: Mon., May 11, 2020

14-year-old Washington State fan Cole Gilbert holds a sign during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Washington State and UCLA in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Young Kwak / AP)
14-year-old Washington State fan Cole Gilbert holds a sign during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Washington State and UCLA in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Young Kwak / AP)

Since Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge committed to Kyle Smith and Washington State last summer, the 6-foot-7, 240-pound prospect basketball prospect from Portland’s Jefferson High took up football and quickly established himself as one of the top defensive ends in the state, if not the country.

Now Rawlins-Kibonge is leaning toward a career in college football, not basketball, but the Cougars still have a chance of landing the four-star recruit.

Rawlins-Kibonge, who has yet to decommit from Smith’s basketball team and has indicated he could still play both sports in college, listed Nick Rolovich’s WSU football program in his top eight schools on Mother’s Day.

If nothing changes between now and the time he makes a final decision, Rawlins-Kibonge will be headed to either WSU, Washington, USC, Cal, Arizona State, Colorado, Miami or Oklahoma. According to 247Sports.com, he also had football offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Nebraska, Tennessee, Indiana and Boise State.

As a basketball player, Rawlins-Kibonge has Division I offers from the Cougars and hometown Portland State.

Rawlins-Kibonge made his basketball commitment to WSU on June 18, 2019, before playing his first football season for a Jefferson High team coached by Houston Lillard, the older brother of Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. Midway through Mike Leach’s final season, the Cougars offered Rawlins-Kibonge as a football player on Nov. 20.

On Sunday, Rawlins-Kibonge broke down each of his eight options with 247Sports.com national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman, explaining that “Washington State is a place built on family and have embraced me as such, and I have a great relationship.”

In an interview with Huffman, Rawlins-Kibonge indicated he wouldn’t necessarily choose his college based on the opportunity to play football and basketball.

“Some schools understand – some schools said I can play both and they will be cool with it,” he said, “but some schools, if it’s a problem, but it’s a good fit for me, then I’m just going to play football.”

Rawlins-Kibonge hasn’t given many hints as to which way he’s leaning, but Huffman recently gave Arizona State a “crystal ball” prediction for the two-sport standout.

During his debut football season, Rawlins-Kibonge recorded 74 total tackles for Jefferson as an edge rusher, adding five quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery.

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