Tune in for early glimpse of two future Cougs

TYLER BRUGGMAN and RIVER CRACRAFT

WASHINGTON STATE fans on Saturday can get a glimpse of tomorrowland when two future Cougars -- quarterback Tyler Bruggman of Brophy Prep in Phoenix and receiver River Cracraft of Santa Margarita High in southern California -- take to the field in a nationally televised ESPN2 showdown between Western prep powers.

Bruggman verbally committed to WSU on June 13 and Cracraft followed on June 18. On Saturday, however, they'll be looking to help set the tone for their respective teams' seasons by beating the other. The game will mark the season opener for Santa Margarita, and the second in four days for Brophy, which opens the season tomorrow against area foe Mountain Ridge.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Pacific Time at Phoenix Community College.

Santa Margarita went 13-2 in a championship run last season and is widely considered the best team in the state of California this year. Moreover, USA Today has pegged them No. 2 in the nation in pre-season rankings. Brophy is coming off an 11-1 season and returns a load of starters.

In addition to the Bruggman vs. Cracraft storyline, there's also the Bruggman vs. Stanton storyline. Stanton is Santa Margarita QB Johnny Stanton, the No. 30-rated quarterback prospect in the nation who has verbally committed to Nebraska. Last season he rushed for more than 1,400 yards and passed for another 2,439 -- 554 of those air yards going to Cracraft.

Bruggman, who is rated the No. 26 QB prospect in the nation, last season completed 156 of 259 passes (60.2 percent) for 2,497 yards. He fired 37 TDs and tossed but two INTs. He was named the Arizona Republic Phoenix Metro Player of the Year.

Bruggman, Cracraft and Stanton aren't the only notables who will be on the field Saturday. Bruggman's favorite target, receiver Devon Allen, is entertaining more than a dozen scholarship offers from around the country, and Santa Margarita offensive lineman Riley Sorenson has four Pac-12 offers, including one from WSU.

NOTABLE:
  • Two well-known athletes in Cougar sports history -- defensive back Billy Newman of the late 90s/early 2000s, and basketball star Klay Thompson -- are graduates of Santa Margarita. As a prep senior in 1996, playing running back, Newman beat out his team's quarterback, Carson Palmer, for league offensive player of the year honors.
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