Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tales from the road: Casa Grande
By Mason Kelley
Editor's note: HuskyNation's Mason Kelley is in Northern California this week, visiting top prospects and potential Washington targets. Click here for all of his updates.
PETALUMA, Calif. -- When the school day ends, Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) is just getting started.
Elijah Qualls is a key part of Washington's recruiting class.
The football season is over, but the 6-foot-1, 282-pound defensive lineman is often at the school well past 4:30 p.m. every day.
He isn’t on the field. He isn’t working in the weight room. He is studying in the classroom.
The Washington commit is investing as much time on his studies as he has spent honing himself into one of the nation’s top talents. Rated the No. 212 prospect in the ESPN 300, Qualls wrapped up his studies Tuesday and walked into the Casa Grande weight room wearing a black Nike jacket, matching pants and a pair of purple headphones wrapped around his head.
He had a wide smile on his face. He greeted me like we were old friends. He shook my hand, and used the other one to slap me on the back. He showed the inviting personality that, in addition to his talent, has made him one of Washington’s top assets in its 2013 class.
There is a reason the recruit is a valuable recruiter.
After spending some time talking about his past and present, I asked him a question about Christmas. It was something I have asked recruits at each stop during this Northern California trip.
“If you could have one thing for Christmas, and price wasn’t an issue, what would it be?”
The answers will be compiled in a story later this week. Qualls said, if he could have anything, it would be the opportunity to enroll early at Washington. He is ready to begin his college career, both in the classroom and on the field.
JaJuan Lawson, Qualls’ cousin, also stopped by the weight room after school. The junior quarterback is a member of the ESPN Watch List and is drawing plenty of recruiting interest with FBS offers from Arizona and UNLV.
HuskyNation will have more on both prospects over the next two weeks.
The three-day Northern California tour wraps up Wednesday with stops at Oakley (Calif.) Freedom and Novato (Calif.) San Marin.