Sports

Federal Way athletes sign on the dotted line

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

The Eastern Washington University football coaching staff got pretty used to rolling around the streets of Federal Way.

First-year Eagle head coach Beau Baldwin signed three players from the district to national letters of intent Wednesday — Decatur running back Chase King, Beamer defensive end Evan Cook and Jefferson wide receiver Bryant Cameron. Wednesday was the first day football players could officially sign with a school.

King, Cook and Cameron were three of 21 high school players to ink with the Eagles, and 16 of them are from Washington.

“That is something that is more unique about Eastern than any other school in the Big Sky (Conference),” said Baldwin, a 1990 graduate of Curtis High School. “We are fortunate to be in a state that is so strong — we can recruit a lot of players in Washington.”

Baldwin inherits a team that finished 9-4 last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formally Division II) Playoffs.

The Federal Way School District has been a hotbed for the Eastern football program in recent years. Federal Way High School grads Brandon Keeler (Class of 2002) and Anthony Dotson (‘03) both started in the Eagles’ defensive backfield in the past, and 2004 Decatur grads Lance Witherspoon (defensive line) and Ryan Burks (punter) are currently on the roster.

“It is a great place,” Cook said at a signing ceremony at Beamer Wednesday afternoon. “I liked the town and the people were really nice. It just felt right.”

Cook is a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder, who was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year in the South Puget Sound League South Division. He had 50 tackles and two sacks as a senior and was named first-team, All-Area by The News Tribune and was first-team, All-SPSL South as an offensive and defensive lineman in 2006 and ‘07. Cook also visited Fresno State University and was offered a partial scholarship.

“He may be considered a little undersized in the minds of the larger schools, but what you are going to see is a player with incredible quickness and athletic ability,” Baldwin said. “He’s a great football player, and with our situation of having four senior defensive linemen, he has a chance to play really early in his career.”

Cameron will head to Eastern after putting up eye-popping numbers at Jefferson. The 6-4, 205-pounder caught 118 passes in his TJ career for 1,758 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cameron was a first-team, All-SPSL North selection as both a receiver and defensive back his senior year.

“He is a tall, rangy, athletic receiver,” Baldwin said. “With time in the weight room and strength training, he has a chance to explode in this offense and be a huge presence as an outside receiver. He’s one of the tallest receivers we’ve recruited at Eastern. I believe Bryant will make huge strides each year and will be a great fit in our program.”

Eastern and Baldwin will run the spread offense, meaning four or five wide receivers will be on the field at all times.

“It’s a good place for me and they are a good team,” said Cameron, who was also considering Western and Central. “I can see myself there for a long time.”

King also had an impressive senior season in Decatur’s backfield. He was a first-team, All-SPSL North selection as a running back and was also named the division’s Special Teams Player of the Year. King ran the ball 166 times for 951 yards (5.7 a carry) and seven touchdowns.

“He’s big already (6-0, 220), but once he gets into our program he has a chance to become a 220-pound running back,” Baldwin said. “The thing that impressed me about Chase was his feet for a big back were incredibly good. That’s not always an easy combination to find in players coming out of high school. Usually your bigger backs are not as light on their feet. Chase is very light on his feet, but at the same time bigger than most players you see.”

Beamer’s Fuller headed to Central

Todd Beamer senior running back Lamardray Fuller inked a letter of intent Wednesday to play next year at Central Washington University.

“I went on a visit and I liked what I saw,” Fuller said. “They have a good program.”

Fuller (5-9, 199) was a first-team, All-SPSL South running back following his junior and senior seasons. He finished with 149 carries for 1,107 yards and eight touchdowns last season and ran for a career-best 307 yards in a win over Jefferson.

Central finished 10-3 last year and played in the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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