Cascade High School football player Josh Watson plans to sign a national letter of intent with Washington State University on Wednesday. Watson is a 6-foot-41/2, 265-pound offensive lineman.

Cascade High School football player Josh Watson plans to sign a national letter of intent with Washington State University on Wednesday. Watson is a 6-foot-41/2, 265-pound offensive lineman.

Cascade offensive lineman plans to sign letter of intent with WSU

EVERETT — After falling in love with football as a boy, Josh Watson began to dream of one day playing in college.

But over the next few years, and even as he got bigger, faster and stronger, “I never had an idea of (playing in) the Pac-12,” Watson said.

Of course, that is the great thing about dreams. Farfetched as they can sometimes seem, they also can sometimes come true.

And so it is for Watson. Just weeks before his senior season at Cascade High School, he made an informal visit to Washington State University. The Cougars had been studying film from Watson’s junior year and evidently liked what they saw — on his trip to Pullman they offered him the chance to become a Cougar.

On Wednesday, Watson will make the deal official when he signs an NCAA letter of intent to play football at Washington State.

To say he is thrilled is an understatement. “I’m so blessed to have this,” he said.

Watson wants to study business in college, “and they have a good business program at Washington State, so it’s the best fit for me academically,” he explained. “And the coaches are amazing. I love them. And it’s close to home and I have a lot of friends that go there. … I found the perfect match for me and it’s Wazzu.”

According to NCAA rules, WSU coaches are not permitted to talk about recruits until signed letters of intent are received. But Cascade coach Shane Keck said the Cougar staff saw plenty of film of Watson “and they like his aggressiveness.” In addition, they like that the 6-4½, 265-pound Watson “has very wide shoulders. They see that frame and they think they can tack on some weight.”

Sending a player to a Pac-12 school “is pretty cool for Josh and for our football program,” Keck added. “He’s a great kid and a super-hard worker.”

Watson’s scholarship will include tuition, room and board, books and other benefits. If he stays in Pullman for five years — and that is likely, since he is expecting to redshirt as a freshman — Keck figures the scholarship will be worth about $125,000.

“There’ll be a ton of work,” Keck pointed out. Being a Division I football player “is very strenuous and difficult, but the reward is the opportunity to play football and get your school paid for. And I think that’s really neat.”

Watson received six other Division I scholarship offers — Idaho, Boise State, Fresno State, Texas-El Paso, Nevada and California-Davis — and he had more offers from smaller schools. But he committed on his trip to Pullman last summer, and he followed up with an official visit to the campus in mid-January. Last week, WSU coach Mike Leach was in Everett for an in-home visit with Watson and his parents.

A week after his high school graduation, Watson will head to Pullman to begin a summer bridge program, which is intended to help incoming students prepare for the college academic experience. In August, the Cougars start practicing for the 2016 season.

“It’s an amazing feeling, knowing that this dream of mine is going to happen,” Watson said. “But the thing I take away from this is that I’m not finished. The scholarship and the signing is never the finish. It’s really just the beginning to this whole world that I’m going into.

“So even though I’m on the top of the world right now, I have to keep working. And I will. I’ll never stop.”

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