Kamiak’s T’Andre Waverly poses for a portrait during football practice on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kamiak’s T’Andre Waverly poses for a portrait during football practice on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kamiak’s T’Andre Waverly a dominant force and heralded recruit

The junior tight end and linebacker is the state’s top prospect and No. 30 nationally for the class of 2025.

MUKILTEO — There’s no missing T’Andre Waverly on the football field.

He’s the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder moving with gazelle-like speed and smoothness. With long, flowing dreads, a beard and a chiseled frame, Waverly already looks like he could be playing football on Saturdays.

He likely will be in the future, but for now he’s starring on Friday nights for Kamiak High School.

Waverly, a junior, is on track to be one of the most anticipated football recruits to hail from Snohomish County. He’s the state’s top-rated prospect for the class of 2025 and No. 30 overall in the country, according to 247sports.com.

The last Snohomish County recruit to appear that high on the national rankings: five-star Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason, who was the country’s No. 4 prospect in 2016.

“When he came in as a freshman, he was bigger than the seniors. So, you kind of knew he was special,” Kamiak head coach Ivan McLennan said. “Then when you start seeing him run. … He runs like Jesse Owens or something, man.”

Waverly comes from a football family. He started playing the sport as soon as he was old enough to sign up. His older brother, Tyrell, played at Mariner. His dad, Thomas, was his youth coach for several years.

In those early years Waverly’s rare combination of size and athleticism was already on display. Despite being one of the bigger kids in his age group, he played running back at the youth level.

“I kinda just grew up being fast,” Waverly said.

Waverly plays tight end and linebacker at Kamiak and has received meaningful minutes for the Knights since entering the program as a freshman.

He had 275 yards and two TDs receiving his freshman season. Last fall he increased those numbers to 460 yards and seven TDs. His versatility also allowed Kamiak to feature him in the running game and as a kick returner on special teams.

“It’s no secret formula,” McLennan said. “Get him the ball and he’s gonna score touchdowns. It’s literally that simple for us.”

McLennan said Waverly’s unique physical tools and understanding of the game make him just as dangerous on the defensive side of the ball.

“He always knows his job,” McLennan said. “So, when you have that type of speed and talent with it, he’s a force.”

Waverly is also a standout in track, where his blazing speed is on full display. Last spring he placed second in the 100 meters and third in the 200 at the Class 4A state championship meet. His 10.60-second time in the 100 prelims at the state meet set a Snohomish County record in the event, and he did it as just a sophomore.

“When you see 6-4, 220 (pounds) running 10.6, 10.5 (in the 100), I mean, sheesh,” McLennan said. “That’s why every college wants him.”

Indeed, just about every college wants Waverly to don its uniform. He received his first scholarship offer from the University of Washington during the spring of his freshman year. The list of potential suitors also includes Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Mississippi State and Oregon, among others.

Waverly isn’t in a rush to make his college commitment, but said he hopes to make a decision before his senior football season.

Waverly’s physical tools are evident when he takes the field, but McLennan raved just as much about the intangibles his star junior brings to the team.

It starts with his competitive drive and willingness to always compete. As Waverly simply put it, “I hate to lose.”

“It helps (the team) tremendously, and it’s more than just the compete periods,” McLennan said. “He’s the first one out here, he’s the first one leading the charge, he always practices hard. He just sets the tone for us.”

And despite all the offers and fanfare that come with being a top national recruit, Waverly stays grounded.

“You would never know that T’Andre has a lot of offers,” said McLennan, who played football at Washington State University and in multiple professional leagues, including the NFL. “He doesn’t flaunt it, he’s not flamboyant, he’s not just loud. He reminds me of a Julio Jones a little bit. When I was in the locker room with Julio, Julio was the best player on the team, but you wouldn’t know it because he’s just so humble and such a great teammate, and that’s really T’Andre. He’s just like a Julio type of dude. Very humble and chill, one of those guys who’s loud with his playmaking.

“None of his teammates see him as this four- or five-star (recruit). He’s just T’Andre.”

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