"Today begins the 2001 college football season. Before you think I've lost track of time or you've slept away a few months, let me explain.Feb. 7 is the first day a high school senior may sign a letter of intent to accept a scholarship to play college football. Today college football coaches are keeping their schedules clear so that they may huddle around fax machines and take telephone calls from recruits they covet. Though most of the high profile players have given verbal commitments months in advance, it's like Yogi Berra used to say, it ain't over til it's over, or in this case, until the signed letter is in the coach's hand.Over the past months hard-core college football fans have logged onto the internet, read newsletters from recruiting services and listened to sports radio anxious to know where the stars are heading and who their alma mater is getting.Perusing the Sunday editions of the Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Bellingham Herald readers found in-depth coverage of the recruiting game ranging from how various schools entertain recruits, UW makes use of a float plane for those they most cherish, to ranking Blue, Red and White chip players, to listing where many have verbally committed.Several Oak Harbor football players have gone through the process in the recent past and have begun to make their marks with their college teams.1999 graduate Jason Williams signed with the University of Idaho two years ago. Williams was a four-year starter at linebacker, a two-year starter at tight end and a one-year starter at fullback. He had 380 career tackles as a Wildcat, tacked on 41 receptions for 835 yards and gained 551 yards on 98 carries from his fullback spot during his senior season.Williams, a three-year All-WesCo pick, named to the 1998 Associated Press all-state team, an Everett Herald all-area selection and was chosen the Herald's Defensive Player of the Year. He was the MVP of the 4A All-State game following graduation, kicking a pair of field goals in a 6-3 win by his West team.After redshirting for Coach Tom Cable in his first year at Idaho, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound linebacker saw action in all 11 games this past season, logging 25 tackles, 15 of those unassisted. He had one quarterback sack and also returned a kick for 10 yards as a special teams player.The Vandals were 5-6 with losses at UW, Oregon and West Virginia. They beat Washington State in Pullman for the second consecutive season.Another Class of '99 player is at Eastern Washington. 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver Peter Coombe played in nine games last season, mainly as a special teams player. He was listed third on the depth chart behind a pair of seniors so his playing time should increase significantly in 2001. On special teams he logged 10 tackles. Eastern Washington had a 5-6 record, including a heart-breaking 21-19 loss in their opener at Oregon State.Oak Harbor has been a hot bed for Eastern Washington with former Wildcats David Lewis, Maurice Perrigo and Levar McClary each taking their talents to Cheney and enjoying successful collegiate careers.From the Class of 2000, quarterback Jay Hartman is at the United States Coast Guard Academy where he is listed as a 5-foot-11, 175-pound running back. Coach Bill George's troops suffered through a 2-9 season in 2000. A true scholar-athlete, offensive lineman Matt Wilcox continued his football career at Central Washington where he walked on and made the Wildcat's roster last fall. Matt did receive several academic scholarship awards. "

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