Traditionally the state of Oregon and the region in general hasn’t been known as a recruiting hotbed. That said as the last 1/2 decade things have changed with Northwest athletes becoming much more relevant on a national stage.
This years 2018 group featured maybe the state’s best class ever, with the likes of the nation’s #1 ranked athlete Talanoa Hufanga (USC), South Medford’s Chase Cota (UCLA), and Tigard’s Braden Lenzy committing to (Notre Dame). Two of these three were offered by Alabama. These individuals are just a few out of a class that currently has additional commitments from Oregon, Washington, Washington St, Nevada, Utah St and more.
With rising athletes come top teams, and what potentially could be some of the best groups ever to come out of Oregon if things continue to align. If there is anybody doing it the right way it is 2nd year Westview head coach Ryan Atkinson. The former Oregon St standout has put the wheels in motion from the youth on up, with a handful of D1 projected kids in each of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 classes.
Atkinson’s involvement and efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as excitement within the community is at an all time high. With the Metro League not being what it once was, the Wildcats are headed in the complete opposite direction of others within the conference. In the coming seasons, possibly as early as next year, look for Westview, Jesuit, and Mountainside to take a firm hold on the league with Liberty also looking legit in 18′.
Next year’s team will be fun to watch for the simple fact that 8-9 freshman and sophomores could be starting for the Varsity squad. An unreal number at the state’s highest classification level. Current freshman JJ Woodin started at QB before going down with an injury in week 5. Woodin projects as the state’s top quarterback for his class and potentially the West with continued progression. His coming out party came right before his injury with two deep TD passes against Southridge, putting the team up 20-0 at half. After leaving the game the team lost 26-23, speaking to his value.
Referencing Woodin Atkinson says, “JJ is the hardest worker I have been around as a Coach in my 13 year career. His future is very bright.”
Two additional big time kids for 2021 include EJ Broussard (RB/LB)and Jalen Grable (WR/S). Both started as freshman this past season, not just holding their own, but looking like all conference projected kids next year. Grable caught 12 balls for 84 yards in 3 games as a starter, with Broussard impressing on both sides of the football and collecting 27 total tackles while starting every game at LB.
To put it mildly next years freshman (2022) could be unmatched from an overall talent standpoint. Over the last 4 years they have won 4 titles at the youth level, absolutely crushing opponents with a record of (51-3). Two of those losses came this past season with multiple injuries early. Fully healthy and playing those teams again in the playoffs it wasn’t really close trouncing Tualatin 41-0, Clackamas 50-12, and Jefferson 27-16.
Speaking on some of those kids Coach Atkinson says, “I think Aaron Jones is the best athlete in the state for his class, he’s just that good.” Jones went for 31 TD’s and 9 INT’s this past year. Expect him to immediately be listed as one of the nation’s top DB’s and overall athletes, as he is hands down one of the best players I have EVER seen at this age.
Talented TE/ DE Jordan King is another kid that is going to cause a lot of problems for opponents. His size and overall athleticism make him an individual that will require a consistent double team, if you want to have any chance of containing him. His ability on the basketball floor only helps reinforce how dominant he will be on the football field.
Continuing the trend for the class is Isaac Perez, one of the most versatile kids in the West, accounting for 37 TDs (23 passing, 14 rushing) this past season. Standout WR Darrius Clemons has been Mr consistent during the title run catching 13 touchdowns with 3 INT’s in 2017.
If that wasn’t enough Westview may feature the top two 2023’s in Oregon, with Sam Leavitt and Kadin Huppin representing. Many remember Utah State Safety Dallin Leavitt out of Central Catholic, one of the best DB’s ever to play in Oregon. Little brother Sam has the potential of being just as good with his father starring at BYU back in the day as well.
Add to this Kadin Huppin, a kid who coach Atkinson calls “an unquestioned D1 athlete and someone who could possibly play in the league someday.” The combination of this duo and the older athletes ahead of them, give the Cats a perimeter that projects as one of the most talented in state history.
In summary Coach Atkinson, his elite staff, and many of the parents deserve a lot of credit for building what many consider the premier up and coming football program in the Northwest. For years the kids out of Rock Creek have killed it in baseball, basketball and other sports with no such luck on the football field.
Atkinson gives praise to a lot of people and says they haven’t done anything yet, but does confirm the excitement level and some of their expectations moving forward. “Our principal Jon Franco and athletic director Troy Christiansen have been instrumental in getting us to where we are today, the support has been outstanding,”
The Cats return a senior line with experience next season. Even with a very young skill group expect them to be in the Metro League title hunt with state title expectations in the years to follow.