Kavario Middleton (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
SEATTLE - It's that time again. After weeks and weeks of hitting the road in search of the best players in the region, after hours and hours of looking at movies without the benefit of popcorn and junior mints, after too many nights in Best Western hotel rooms than at home...Scout.com is ready to unleash it's revised rankings for the Northwest Hot 100.
The miles logged, the hours spent pouring through game clips and the countless meetings with too many high school coaches to count (thank you coaches!) were worth it all, as Scout.com has come up with a comprehensive look at the top players from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii. It's only one opinion, and the list will continue to evolve as the recruiting process weaves its way toward February.
Again, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes DE/TE Kavario Middleton was deemed the top player in the region, and in breaking news, Lakes Head Coach Dave Miller told Scout.com on Tuesday that Middleton has narrowed down his list to his final five suitors - Washington, Michigan, Oregon, California and Arizona State. If we had to guess right now, it looks as if it will be hard to pry Middleton from the northwest schools - but a lot can change from here to Signing Day.
Scout.com revised Northest Hot 100 - 6/19
Here is a position-by-position look at the top northwest region player at each spot.
QB: Calvin Schmidtke - Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes. Calvin has been tearing it up on the camp circuit, getting MVP honors at Arizona and cleaning up at Boise State Sunday with teammate Jermaine Kearse. As it was with Cody Hawkins a couple of years back, if Schmidtke was two inches taller, he'd have his pick of schools to choose from. Look for a Pac-10 offer to arrive soon from a school looking outside the box when it comes to getting a quarterback that can make all the throws and is a winner.
RB: Sausan Shakerin - Sandy (Wash.) Alta. Shakerin is a rare specimen - a player that possesses great size, but also breakaway speed. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Shakerin shows an uncanny ability to get to the second level, and from there eventually creates separation once in the open field. He is equally skilled between the tackles or bouncing plays outside.
TE: Austin Holt - West Jordan (Utah) Bingham. Holt - who is verbally committed to BYU - is a winner and goes about his business the right way - with an all-out effort. His focus and concentration allowed him to catch every single ball thrown at him in 2006. That's right, he didn't drop one pass. Add to that his ability as a blocker, and you've got the consummate tight end - one that can make plays on the line or off it.
WR: Jermaine Kearse - Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes. It's rare that one school has No. 1 players at more than one position, but Jermaine Kearse deserves it. The Lancers just attended a 7-7 passing tournament at the University of Washington, and according to Coach Miller, the Husky coaches were even more impressed with Kearse and what he did at the camp, and they are already impressed enough to be one of the first two teams to offer - along with Washington State. With Cal, Oregon and Oregon State also in the mix - as well as heavy interest from Michigan - Kearse's recruitment will be a fun one to follow.
OL: Alameda Ta'amu - Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. Ta'amu, at 340 pounds, is a mountain of a man, but this mountain can run. He is not a plodder at all, and in fact moves with uncanny grace and agility for his size. He can pull from the guard position or zone block with no problems. His strength comes naturally, as does his football accumen.
DT: Solomon Koehler - Kaneohe (Hawaii) Castle. At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, Koehler is nothing, if not relentless. Bull in a china shop? That describes Koehler to a t. But don't think of Solomon as a strict bull-rusher. He is nimble and can use his hands to gain the needed adavntage to overpower. Quick off the ball, Koehler would be perfect in a two-gap front, causing havoc on every snap.
DE: Kavario Middleton - Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes. A tremendous athlete, it's hard not to keep him at TE, where his head coach - Dave Miller - likens his potential to a current pro-bowler - Tony Gonzalez. Like Gonzalez, Middleton is also an excellent basketball player, so he's got quick feet, quick instincts, and quick reaction time. With his frame and his feet, it's harder not to think of Julius Peppers.
LB: Lynn Katoa - Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood. Hits like a truck, plain and simple. Very aggressive, can take the play sideline-to-sideline, and won't stop. It's telling when THREE USC coaches came to Cottonwood this spring to see Katoa take part in some basic non-contact 7-7 work, but that's the kind of reputation Lynn has.
DB: Justin Glenn - Mukilteo (Wash.) Kamiak. Having seen Justin play in a 7-7 tournament a couple of weeks ago just reinforced my thoughts on his abilities as a player. Nothing stands out either from a pure physical or athletic point of view - but Glenn just makes plays. It's as simple as that. His football IQ is so high, and he is so smooth in everything he does, it's as if you're watching him in slow-motion, and then BANG! He's picked off another pass. The highest compliment you can pay a football player? He just makes plays.
Scout.com revised Northest Hot 100 - 6/19