Five Puget Sound-area players will take their games to Wyoming
Kennedy Catholic quarterback Jason Thompson, Bothell receiver Trent Sewell, Skyline defensive back Damian Greene and running back D.J. May and defensive lineman Uso Olive of Federal Way are expected to sign with Wyoming on Wednesday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
For Kennedy Catholic's Jason Thompson, it was a "one-in-a-million chance" to play quarterback.
For Bothell receiver Trent Sewell, it was an opportunity to prove he could play receiver at a Division I university.
For Federal Way standouts D.J. May and Uso Olive, it was a ticket to fulfill a dream.
When high-school seniors across the country sign their names on letters of intent Wednesday, five local standouts will lock in a future at the University of Wyoming. May, Olive, Sewell and Thompson will be joined by Skyline defensive back Damian Greene on the journey to Laramie, Wyo.
There is a chance the Cowboys could land a sixth local player if Seattle Prep receiver Parker Mays, the brother of former USC standout Taylor Mays, accepts his scholarship offer.
"My dream was to play Division I football," said Olive, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive lineman. "They open up with the Texas Longhorns, and I've always wanted to play at that level."
Wyoming is fresh off its second bowl appearance in three years under Dave Christensen. The former player and graduate assistant at Washington, who was just given a five-year extension, has a connection to the area. His offensive line coach, Pete Kaligis, also played for the Huskies and spent time as the program's strength and conditioning coach.
They know the area, and they've worked to uncover talent passed over by Pac-12 programs.
"It's fun for me, because it gives you that feeling that you're still at home even though you're still so far away," Sewell said. "You still have things you can relate to with your coach that will hopefully bring us closer as a team."
There are several local products already on the roster, including a pair of players the Cowboys landed last year, Jackson kicker Daniel Sullivan and Edmonds-Woodway linebacker Zack Berg.
Thompson committed to Washington as a defensive back in July, following in the footsteps of his brother, Everrette. But there was a part of him that wanted to play quarterback. When Wyoming hired former Washington and Washington State assistant Chris Tormey to be its defensive coordinator, he offered Thompson the chance to play quarterback.
"I've always wanted to play quarterback," said Thompson, who is 6 feet 2, 205 pounds. "That thought kept weighing on me. It kept bugging me, because I knew that I always wanted to play quarterback. It's too much work in college not to love the position you're going to play."
Thompson recently went to visit the campus with May, Olive and O'Dea defensive back Jayshawn Jordan. They toured the facilities, watched a basketball game and rode snowmobiles.
"It was funny to see the big guys on snowmobiles," said May, a 5-11, 187-pound running back.
While talking at the hotel during the visit, May, Olive and Jordan decided to commit, although Jordan later flipped his commitment to Idaho.
"This is a good program," May said, remembering the conversation. "We should all just go together, stay together and represent Washington. That's what we did."
They tried to get Thompson to commit that weekend.
"They kept trying to get me to commit over there with them, but I just had to take it home and think about it," Thompson said.
Sewell, 6-2, 205 pounds, at one time was offered a scholarship to Washington State, but later had it pulled by coach Paul Wulff.
So, instead of committing to the school he considered his "dream school" growing up, Sewell was left looking for options.
Then the Cowboys called.
"I'm going to have that be my fuel for the next few years," Sewell said.
They all have different reasons for continuing their careers at Wyoming, but one thing is certain: There will be familiar faces to ease the transition.
"You know that you have someone that's going to stick with you the whole way," May said.
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org