By David Krueger Herald Writer
This past week Mountlake Terrace running back/linebacker Devonte Downs got his first scholarship offer to play football in college from the University of Washington.
It didn’t take long for the Pacific-12 Conference to catch on.
Forty-eight hours after receiving his first offer, Utah doubled Downs’ options Wednesday morning, giving the Hawks running back offers from one-sixth of the Pac-12.
“It’s crazy and amazing and astonishing,” Downs said.
One thing it’s not is surprising, according to Mountlake Terrace head coach Tony Umayam.
“I knew that he was going to get a lot of college attention here real quick,” Umayam said. “It’s not real surprising. He’s a good athlete.”
Through six games this season Downs is leading the Wesco 3A South conference in rushing attempts (106), yards (616) and touchdowns (13). He led the Wesco South in touchdowns his freshman year and ran for over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as a sophomore.
He’s also had a strong impact on defense, where he’s made his presence felt as a linebacker for the Hawks.
“He’s really raised his level of play, especially on defensive side of ball,” Umayam said.
Downs officially has schools taking notice, including the hometown Huskies. Downs still remembers the call from Washington coaches like it was yesterday.
“I was talking to Coach (Joel) Thomas, the running backs coach, on the phone and he handed the phone over to (head coach Steve Sarkisian) and he offered me a scholarship,” Downs said. “I was like, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?’ He said, ‘No. I’m 100 percent serious. I want you to play here.’”
While many more offers are likely, Umayam thinks the fact that Washington was the first school to offer will help the Huskies down the road. But, he warns, it might be a long, winding road.
“He’s really excited that it was the hometown Huskies that came to him with the first offer,” Umayam said. “I think that’s going to go a long ways to him making his decision. But I don’t envision him making a quick decision because I think there are a few more options out there.”
Downs agrees that, between his two current offers, UW is the front runner.
“Right now, the leader would be U-Dub, just because they’re a hometown school and I’ve wanted to go there since I was a freshman watching (former Washington running back) Chris Polk,” he said. “Now that I have an offer from there, it solidifies me wanting to go there.”
However it’s a decision that Downs is not taking lightly. The junior, who wants to be a pharmacology major, is going to take some time to make a decision. He also wants to see who else out there might be interested.
The first day schools could send letters to recruits was Sept. 1, and Downs’ mailbox has received notices from Michigan, Oregon, Oregon State, Nebraska, Arizona State, Colorado State, Washington State, Boise State, Northern Arizona and Missouri — “from the SEC, that’s pretty crazy,” Downs noted.
Umayam said that Downs’ success both on the field and in the classroom, makes him very appealing to universities.
“He’s a very good student. He’s very on top of all his decisions,” Umayam said. “He’s not the type of player that makes decisions without thinking through them carefully. He’s done everything to really make himself recruitable.”
Downs said he’s going to wait until his senior year to commit to a school so he can “see where things play out.” He said he doesn’t have a dream school or location, but his parents do.
“Really I don’t care (what part of the country), but my parents want me to stay home,” Downs said. “But at the end of the day it’s going to be my decision.”