Sammie Long (Scout.com)
It's not a long trip down Interstate 5 to Lakewood, a suburb south of Tacoma, Wash. to find one of the most talent-rich high school football programs on the west coast - Lakes. Head Coach Dave Miller has been churning out the recruits for years and years, having two for the 2012 class - Zach Banner and Ced Dozier - who signed with Pac-12 teams.
The 2013 recruiting class looks to be on a similar trajectory, with Sammie Long and Marquin Russell at the top of the list.
Long, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver, already has a scholarship offer from Washington, and many others could be close. He caught 20 passes for 276 yards as a junior - not super impressive standing alone, but much better when you consider players like Dozier and Mane Manaea were the Lancers' primary skill players, and Long was also sharing snags with junior teammate Russell.
Speaking of Russell, the 6-foot, 185-pound receiver is a phenomenal athlete as the current Class 3A 400 meter title holder with a run of 49 seconds flat last spring. According to Russell, he's already shaved a couple of tenths off that time during the chilly Northwest winter, and he continues to get faster and faster.
Coach Miller is going to have a tough time getting the ball to Long and Russell, however, as he has arguably the best stable of running backs to ever grace the Lancers' program coming back. Gone is standout Levonte Littlejohn to Central Washington, but coming back are juniors Dre Milton, Kevin Thompson, and Dionte Johnson. And all three run the ball in different ways, giving Miller a ton of versatility.
Milton, at 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds, is a bruiser. The 5-foot-7, 185-pound Thompson is built more in the mold of a Maurice Jones-Drew or Jacquizz Rodgers, getting lost behind big lines and sprinting to daylight. He's also a smart kid with a 3.92, so it's no surprise Ivy League schools are all over him. And Yelm HS transfer Johnson is a blend size-wise of the two at 6-feet tall and 183 pounds.
The scary part is that a current freshman - Jusstis Warren - just might beat them all out. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds already, Warren has a look about him that just screams out 'Big Time'. And he's not the only standout for the Lakes 2015 class.
DL Benning Potoae, younger brother of current UW DL Sione Pototae, played a ton in 2011 and at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Potoae is already physically ready to compete at the highest levels of Evergreen State football.
And last, but certainly not least, is the next great lineman in a string of great Lancers linemen that includes Banner, Potoae, Aaron Butler, the Kuaea brothers, Bilal Liggins, Tupou Manaea and Zaheer Webb. His name is Kiyrie Simons (pronounced Simmons), and according to Miller he is a load. At 6-foot-1 and 255 pounds, he isn't done with his freshman year but is already making waves about being an impact player for Lakes in 2012.