Wildcats go heavy on QBs

February 2, 2012 by  

YAKIMA, Wash. — That five quarterbacks would be included in Blaine Bennett’s fifth Central Washington recruiting class might be misunderstood by some observers.

Yes, Bennett was himself a quarterback, first at Walla Walla High School and later at Whitworth University. But no, he doesn’t collect QBs as a hobby.

“To justify that, we only signed one quarterback last year and felt like we needed some young quarter-backs in the program,” Bennett said Wednesday on the release of CWU’s 28 signees. “But also, high school offenses have changed over the last four or five years, and a lot of coaches in our state are now putting their best athlete at that position. It used to be that the best athlete was probably a running back.

“So we feel like we’ve gotten some excellent athletes who are multiple position possibilities, although they’ll all start by being quarterbacks for awhile.”

Of course the Wildcats do have a quarterback history in the persons of Jon Kitna and Mike Reilly. The probable starter next season will be senior Ryan Robertson, but Bennett clearly wants to begin grooming QBs for the future.

The most highly rated of the newcomers, according to The Seattle Times, are 6-foot-1, 192-pound Jake Nelson of Lake Stevens and Drew Austin (6-2, 180) of Graham-Kapowsin.

Both were white chip selections by the Times — the highest rating is blue, followed by red and then white. Nelson completed 70 percent of his passes for 2,086 yards and 21 touchdowns with only four interceptions for the Vikings, who went 12-1 and reached the Class 4A state semifinals.

Three of Nelson’s teammates also signed with Central — wide receivers Brady Pahukoa and Christian Gasca and linebacker Korey Young.

Pahukoa’s father, Jeff, was an all-conference offensive lineman at Washington in the early 1990s and his uncle, Shane, was a UW safety.

Bennett also wants Central to become a faster team, and mentioned speed as a key ingredient his newest recruiting class.

“We signed some receivers, defensive backs and running backs with legitimate big-play speed,” he said. “This is probably the fastest class we’ve recruited since I’ve been here, and that was very important to us.”

Recruits are told they’ll redshirt during their true freshman seasons, although injuries and other circumstances have occasionally pressed some into varsity play sooner.

Bennett said David Fontenette, a 6-2, 228-pound tight end from Bethel High in Spanaway, is a physically mature prospect who could see playing time next fall.

“He’s an excellent athlete,” Bennett said of Fontenette, CWU’s lone Times red chip. “We tell them all they’ll redshirt, but you never really know. Sometimes a chance presents itself, even for a young guy who’s not quite ready but just gets thrown into the fire.”

Bennett also said the heights and weights listed with his signees are accurate as per measurements taken during the players’ on-campus visits.

“We signed one player who was 6-0 and 190 on his high school roster,” Bennett said. “We get him here and he’s 5-10 and 181. Those are two different people. In this case, he was a good enough athlete that it didn’t really matter.”

Next on Bennett’s agenda is to find a replacement for assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Joe Lorig, who left last month for a job at Arizona State.

Filed under All, CWU Football


One Response to “Wildcats go heavy on QBs”
  1. Miller an says:

    Recruiting class again appears to be excellent. This team still needs to find a quality offensive coordinator to re establish itself as a contender

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