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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - Page updated at 06:30 p.m.

Eastern Washington fulfills its needs at linebacker and wide receiver

CHENEY — Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin said he filled two glaring needs Wednesday when he announced the signings of letters of intent by 17 high-school players ready to play for the Eagles.

"We lost a lot of seniors at the linebacker and wide-receiver positions, and we were able to address those in this class," Baldwin said. "We were able to fill that void."

Of those 17 players, seven were all-state players in some fashion from the state of Washington.

"It's a very strong class," Baldwin said. "One of the ways we judge that is how many commit to us after trips — especially on early trips. A lot of times when you don't get them to commit, you have to scramble a lot on the last weekend or two. We were able to have a high percentage commit to us early. That was huge."

Eastern Washington lost three wide receivers who had 1,000-yard seasons for the Eagles.

To try to minimize those departures, the Eagles signed Nic Sblendorio from state Class 4A champion Skyline, Victor Gamboa from Washington High in Tacoma, and Kendrick Bourne from Milwaukie High in Oregon.

"We need another group of young receivers," said Baldwin, whose starting quarterback, Vernon Adams, will be a sophomore next fall. "You can call them inexperienced, but we have some players who are in the program already. Including the players coming in with this class, we're excited about our next wide-receiver group."

At linebacker, the Eagles lost a pair of starters. In turn, the Eagles signed Albert Havili from Federal Way High, Jake Gall from Cle Elum/Roslyn High, and John Kreifels from Thomas Downey High in Modesto, Calif.

The most highly rated player signed by the Eagles might be running back D.J. Martin from Stockdale High in Bakersfield, Calif.

From a sports-information report.

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