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Football signing day: Barrington, Pulu go their separate ways
The text messages will be piling up between the cell phones of Andre Barrington and Andru Pulu before the 2009 Apple Cup kicks off in Seattle. The two longtime Federal Way High School teammates officially became arch enemies Wednesday morning after they both signed their respective national letters of intent inside the school's cafeteria.
Barrington inked with Washington State University and Pulu signed with the University of Washington in front of their families, coaches and about 600 students.
"We are both goofy guys, so I'm sure there will be a lot of that," Barrington said about trash-talking text messages. "But it will get serious when we get on the field."
Wednesday was the first day football players could make their commitments to college programs official by signing a full-ride, national letter of intent. Barrington was one of 21 players to ink with the Cougars and second-year head coach Paul Wulff and Pulu was one of 18 players signed by first-year Husky coach Steve Sarkisian.
"It is just great for the program for a kid to sign to play college football," said Federal Way head football coach John Meagher. "And playing in the Pac-10 is even more special. We as a staff are very proud. They are going to represent Federal Way High School at their given universities."
Barrington, who was an All-South Puget Sound League running back and defensive back during his Eagle career, will move to an outside linebacker position when he hits the Washington State campus in the summer. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder is listed as the 48th best football player by Scout.com on their 2009 Northwest Hot 100 list. The Northwest region includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii, British Columbia and Montana.
Barrington might be the most gifted athlete in the SPSL. He ran for over 1,000 yards for the third-straight season this year with 1,169 yards, despite missing the first two games of the season. Barrington also tallied 13 total touchdowns, including 11 on the ground, one receiving and he also threw for another in a playoff win over Gig Harbor.
"I was nervious initially (about playing football at the Pac-10 level), but then I realized if I work hard in the offseason, then I'll be right with those guys," Barrington said. "I just knew that I wanted to be a part of something like that."
Barrington also had interest from schools like Boise State, Washington, Cal, Oregon and Oregon State, but never wavered on his commitment to the Cougars he made before his senior season began.
"We were both set on where we wanted to go," Barrington said. "I went there and it seemed like a good environment. It's a nice community and everybody is about the football program. During our sophomore years we talked about him and me wanting to go to school together. It just ended up not working out."
Wulff loves Barrington’s quick fee and believes his frame can put on 20 pounds of muscle to be a 225-pound outside linebacker without his agility being affected.
"Andre is a good athlete," said Wulff. "He is going to mature and as he matures he is going to develop and his frame is going to allow him to be a nice, big linebacker when it is all said and done. He is going to be a very good player as he grows into his position."
Pulu, an All-SPSL North linebacker and offensive tackle, was the man in the middle for the Eagle defense during his entire three-year career. He was named the lineman of the year in the SPSL North and was informed last week by Sarkisian that he will continue to play middle linebacker in college. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder thought he would move onto the defensive line earlier in the recruiting process. Scout.com rated Pulu as the 61st-best prospect on their 2009 Northwest Hot 100 list.
"He's a local kid and I am anxious to watch him develop," Sarkisian said at a Wednesday press conference. "He may develop into a defensive lineman, I don't know, but right now he's a big physical inside linebacker who can put his hat on guys. I think he can have an immediate impact on special teams.''
"The new coaches are a good addition to the team," Pulu said. "They have been to Rose Bowls. I talked with (Sarkisian) during my visit and he told me some things that they wanted me to do, like getting my speed up. It felt special."
Pulu also considered Washington State, Eastern Washington and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Barrington and Pulu were huge reasons why the Eagles advanced into the state playoffs for the first time since 1976 after finishing third in the SPSL North during the 2008 season. Federal Way lost to eventual state champion Skyline in their state opener, 49-6.
The last Federal Way High School football player to sign a national letter of intent was wide receiver Lake Dawson in 1990. Dawson went on to star at Notre Dame and had a successful career with the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
"Even as freshman, I knew they were going to be leaders," Federal Way Principal Lisa Griebel said. "They are role models for our entire student body."