A lot of Washington in EWU's 2014 recruiting class
Cole Karstetter from Ferris High in Spokane is one of 22 EWU recruits from the state of Washington.
Putting the emphasis on the Washington part of their name, Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin officially unveiled the signing class of 2014 last Wednesday at National Letter of Intent Day.
Speaking before a crowd at Northern Quest Resort at lunch, and later to a variety of media outlets, Baldwin, who prepares for his seventh season at Eastern, listed 26 new recruits. Of those, 22 were from the state of Washington and six were from the immediate area.
Eastern, the undefeated (8-0) defending Big Sky champions from 2013 which advanced to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs for the third time in the past four years, lost 23 seniors to graduation from its 2013 team that finished 11-3 and ranked third-in the nation.
The new signees include 11 All-State selections and four players out of the Greater Spokane League.
The four GSL players include safety Cole Karstetter from Ferris, defensive end Jonah Jordan from Mead, wide receiver/defensive back Stu Stiles from Mt. Spokane and linebacker/defensive end Marcus Saugen from North Central. A fifth local product, offensive lineman Jack Hunter from Gonzaga Prep, did not sign a letter of intent but has been admitted to Eastern.
Karstetter set a GSL rushing record with 1,442 yards and scored 20 touchdowns as a senior. His father, Jerry, is a former Eagle men's basketball player. "You don't always have the combination of great athleticism with incredible toughness," Baldwin said of Karstetter.
While he was pleased overall with each of the new additions, there was one who Baldwin was especially excited about.
That's quarterback Reilly Hennessey out of Camas (Wash.) High School, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington, who comes to EWU along with his favorite target, the appropriately named Zach Eagle. Hennessey passed for 6,188 yards and had 64 touchdown passes the past two years, with Eagle catching 142 for 2,356 yards and 37 TDs.
"Within the Northwest, he was our guy," Baldwin said of Hennessey. "We feel really good about his future."
Offensive lineman Nick Ellison from Moscow High School was signed and fits into the focus of the Eastern coaching staff. "We wanted to sign a good number of guys who could fit into an O-line class because the last two years our O-line class is kinda' thin," Baldwin said.
Ellison reminds Baldwin of former Eagle and Tennessee Titan All-Pro offensive tackle Michael Roos when he was a high schooler. Like Roos, the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Ellison played only one year of high school football, but is an outstanding basketball player.
"We lost three senior corners so we signed a number of skill guys," Baldwin said. And a pair of out-of-state recruits, twins Simba Webster and Nzuzi (pronounced Zuzi) Webster, might help fill at least some of that gap.
The Websters are out of Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif. – the same school that produced former Eagle All-American and current Oakland Raider Taiwan Jones. Simba was recruited as a wide receiver, but also played quarterback. Nzuzi started on both offense and defense, and was recruited as a safety.
Notable with this class was "We had commitments earlier than we ever had," Baldwin said. The problem for Baldwin and staff "Was making sure we don't become out of sight, out of mind," and they recommit to another school.
"With the big class of seniors, we had a lot of holes to fill," said Baldwin. "We're excited to do that at a level that covered our entire roster top to bottom at all positions."
The Eagles are expected to return 46 letter winners from last year's team, including six starters on offense and five on defense.
Click the following link to view the full roster of new recruits. http://www.goeags.com/sports/m-footbl/2013-14/Releases/14fbRECRUITS#List
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.