Central Washington University head football coach Ian Shoemaker watches a spring practice at Tomlinson Stadium in Ellensburg, Wash. on Friday, April 13, 2018. Shoemaker and the Wildcats signed 31 players, 25 from Washington state, for their 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (Amanda Ray, Yakima Herald-Republic file).

YAKIMA, Wash. -- To assemble one of the best small-college football programs in the west, Central Washington coaches started with a pretty straightforward formula — find the best talent in the state of Washington and then fill things out from there.

Successfully landing the best available players in-state has helped the Wildcats win two straight GNAC titles with an NCAA Division II playoff berth in 2017.

As this year’s late signing day arrived, Central, at least on paper, produced another such effort with it’s 31-player recruiting class dominated by 25 in-state players, including Zillah all-state defensive lineman Bailey Sparks.

“This is just an extension of the five years leading up to this with a strong structure in the state of Washington and being committed to them,” Central coach Ian Shoemaker said, noting that Sparks is part of a solid east-side contingent. “This is one of the strongest group of players from the east side we’ve ever recruited. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

Along with staying in-state, Shoemaker said his staff also looks to add to all position groups rather than focus specific positions of need.

Again, Central appeared to be successful with that approach as the Wildcats added players all over the field, most notably at linebacker (seven recruits), wide receiver (seven), offensive line (five) and defensive line (four).

“What we try to do is build the strongest class for depth and breadth; fill across the position groups,” he said. “If you have a strong class, every position has to have the right number of athletes.

“This group is pretty solid.”

In particular, Shoemaker pointed to both lines and linebacker, along with the fact they brought in two quarterbacks.

Central added significant size on the offensive line with the signings of Kent Powell (6-foot-4, 330 pounds) from Lodi, Calif., Isaiah Cook (6-4, 305) from Oregon City, Ore., and Kian Abdalkhani (6-7, 305) from Glacier Peak in Snohomish.

“We want the biggest, most athletic group,” he said. “You look at those guys, they’re not overweight kids. You see their speed and athleticism.”

Shoemaker also said they got their top linebacker targets in Woodinville’s Danny Metsker, Timberline’s Jamin Fa’alogo and Kelso’s Riley Noah.

In addition to the 6-2, 260-pound Sparks, the other eastern Washington recruits were safety Darius Carlson (Wenatchee), receivers Angel Farias Ramos (Royal) and Cody Sanderson (Richland), running back Micah Holmes (Nine Mile Falls) and offensive lineman Davion Pruitt (Pasco).

Central also took advantage of Humboldt State’s decision to drop football and grabbed several players from northern California — Powell, saftey Genesis Finau from South Sacramento, and quarterback Quincy Glasper from Stockton.


(Name, position, height, weight, school, hometown)

Kian Abdalkhani, OL, 6-7, 305, Glacier Peak, Snohomish

Mejinta Adams, DE, 6-3, 205, Marysville-Getchell, Gladewater, Texas

Mason Ahlemeyer, DE, 6-3, 250, Skyline, Sammamish

Makai Anderson, FS, 6-2, 190, Mountain View, Vancouver, Wash.

Jeremy Banks, DB, 6-0, 185, Kentridge, Kent

Darius Carlson, WR-SS, 6-2, Wenatchee, Wenatchee

Isaiah Cook, OL, 6-4, 305, Oregon City, Oregon City, Ore.

Tyler DeJong, LB, 6-0, 205, Skyview, Vancouver

Ethan Eilertson, WR, 6-3, 182, Enumclaw, Enumclaw

Jamin Fa’alogo, LB, 6-2, 245, Timberline, Lacey

Angel Farias Ramos, WR, 6-2, 185, Royal, Royal City

Genesis Finau, S, 6-1, 194, Luther Burbank, South Sacramento, Calif.

Alan Fischer, DE, 6-5, 220, Lakes, Lakewood

Tyler Flanagan, RB, 5-1, 185, Woodland, Woodland

Quincy Glasper, QB, 6-3, 170, Bear Creek, Stockton, Calif.

Micah Holmes, RB, 6-2, 195, Lakeside, Nine Mile Falls

Darius Kubalanza, CB, 6-1, 170, Bothell, Bothell

JJ Lemming, QB, 6-5, 220, Steilacoom, Steilacoom

Evan Mannes, LB, 6-4, 200, Snohomish, Snohomish

James Marsh, TE, 6-4, 225, Lynden, Lynden

Danny Metsker, LB, 6-3, 210, Woodinville, Woodenville

Jonah Miyazawa, WR, 5-10, 170, ‘Iolani School, Moanalua, Hawaii

Darius Morrison, WR, 6-3, 175, Puyallup, Puyallup

Riley Noah, LB, 6-1, 210, Kelso, Kelso

Riley O’Rourke, OL, 6-5, 260, Skyview, Vancouver

Drake Owen, WR, 5-11, 180, Camas, Camas

Kent Powell, OL, 6-4, 330, Lodi, Lodi, Calif.

Davion Pruitt, OG, 6-3, 290, Pasco, Pasco

Sekai Samuleu, OLB, 6-5, 230, Fife, Fife

Cody Sanderson, WR, 6-2, 195, Richland, Richland

Bailey Sparks, DT, 6-2, 260, Zillah, Zillah

Jaden Thomas-Fuentes, OL, 6-2, 285, Spanaway Lake, Spanaway