Despite a season that may not have met expectations, the Eastern football team was able to gain a strong victory on the recruiting field. The Eagles recently signed 21 players to take the field for EWU in the upcoming years.
“I think we were in the top two or three recruiting classes in the conference” Eagles Head Coach Paul Wulff said. “I like all of these players, I think they can potentially bring a lot of things to the university and make the university proud of what they can do.”
Of the new class, 14 players are from Washington, 12 of whom received all-state honors in their high school careers. The other seven young men are from California, Oregon and Minnesota.
The Eagles signed many players who are expected to make a big impact on the defensive side of the ball, taking seven defensive linemen in particular. Standing out in the class of lineman are 6-foot, 1-inch 290-pound Chris Patu and 6-foot, 2-inch 300-pound Renard Williams. Williams was named an official “white chip” selection by the Seattle Times as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Williams also garnered 4A state honors from Washingtonpreps.com and the Associated Press.
The Eagles also picked up junior college transfer Ryan Kelley, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 190 pound cornerback from the College of San Mateo in California. Kelley spent 2004 and 2005 at Montana State, and after seeing limited playing time, transferred to San Mateo.
“We are really counting on him to be an impact player for us this fall,” Wulff said.
The Eagles also snagged a set of twins, Matt and Zach Johnson from Tumwater, Wash. Both play linebacker and defensive back.
Offensively, the Eagles signed more athletes who had exceptional high school careers. The Eagles signed running back Tyler Hart from Friday Harbor. Hart, an all-state athlete, was also named a “white chip” selection from the Seattle Times and last season he saw action as a returner, running back, defensive back and even back-up quarterback.
“We really like the athletic ability he showed at Friday Harbor,” Wulff said. “We really like Tyler as a person and what he will bring to the table.”
Perhaps the most heralded of Eagle recruits was quarterback Andrew Schumacher, a 6-foot, 4-inch quarterback from Churchill High School in Eugene, Ore. Schumacher, a three sport all-state performer, earned honorable mention 5A All-State honors and was the Midwestern League Most Valuable Player as a senior.
“Andrew Schumacher is one of those kids we have to find here at Eastern,” Wulff said. “Time will tell how he does. For him to pick up the offense will be a test, but we think he will compete early in his career for a starting spot.”
Wulff believes the big class could spell success for the future of the Eastern football.
“We believe it’s a very strong class,” he said. “Football is different from other sports because you won’t find out until down the road how your players are going to do.”