100s of prospects to gather on Mercer Island
BENNETT BONTEMPS, now a Cougar, was a 2009 camper
BENNETT BONTEMPS, now a Cougar, was a 2009 camper

Posted May 20, 2012

THE QUARTERBACKING tree at Washington State is known to be tight, and this story illustrates the point. As a kid growing up in Seattle, Cole Morgan wanted to become a Cougar because Jack Thompson was the best coach he ever had.  When Morgan arrived at WSU as a freshman QB, Jack introduced him to another old Cougar signal caller: Jason Gesser.

They never overlapped in school, but became good friends when Morgan  started helping Gesser out with his clinics and camps.

So when Gesser was hired as an assistant coach at Idaho and had to relinquish his role as director of the Northwest Elite Football Camp he founded four years ago, he naturally turned to a comrade in the WSU quarterbacking fraternity to take over.

“I’ve been working with Jason at the Elite Camp since day one, so it’s a very natural transition,” says Morgan, the new director. “From a philosophical standpoint, Jason and I are totally aligned. We believe position-specific drills are the best way for players to improve their skills. This is not a combine. There are no 40 times or shuttles here. It’s all about drills that can help kids step up their game – and in an environment where college coaches can work with them."

Morgan, who spent four years at WSU and then led Central Washington to a 12-1 record and national semifinals appearance in 2009, is wasting no time making his mark.  This year’s camp, set for the evening of June 8, is headed for a bigger venue – Mercer Island High School – and already has more players signed up than last year.

“We have more than 350 high school ballplayers registered right now, the most ever, and we have room – and a coaching staff – that can accommodate a couple hundred more,” said Morgan.

The camp offers instruction for every position group.

The coaching staff makes the Northwest Elite Camp unique among youth camps. College coaches from around the West, running the gamut from Division I to III, run the drills and work directly with the athletes. This year’s lineup will include Mike Breske and Eric Russell from Washington State; Gesser, Robb Akey and the entire staff from Idaho; as well as coaches from Washington, Arizona State, Boise State, Nevada, Portland State, Montana, EWU, Princeton, CWU, UPS and possibly more.

Six of the nine position MVPs at last year’s camp wound up accepting scholarship offers from schools who were on hand for the camp, with Wyoming nabbing four of them: Uso Olive, Jayshawn Jordan, Trent Sewell and D.J. May.

Two of last year’s “rising star” award recipients were Cody O’Connell, the big lineman from Wenatchee who recently committed verbally to WSU, and Seattle Prep DB Tere Calloway, who is on the WSU radar.

The defensive line MVP of the 2010 camp was Spokane’s Joe Dahl, who recently walked on at WSU after a redshirt freshman season at Montana.

For more information on the Northwest Elite Camp, click to Northwest Elite Sports

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