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Gonzaga Prep's Charlie Hopkins is headed to Stanford to play football. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Area players head out of state

Charlie Hopkins signed his letter of intent before school Wednesday and planned to spend the afternoon continuing rehabilitation from a season-ending knee injury last fall.

The Gonzaga Prep defensive end is headed to Stanford. For that, Hopkins is grateful that the Palo Alto, Calif., school stood behind its offer even though he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee midway through the season.

Stanford’s coaches were so committed to Hopkins that they requested he have surgery at the school’s hospital.

“It (rehab) is going really good,” Hopkins said. “Being able to go to Stanford is really just a dream come true.”

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Hopkins was one of seven Greater Spokane League athletes to sign Wednesday.

Along with Hopkins, Kellen Clute of Mt. Spokane is one of six headed out of state. The 6-5, 215 Clute is going to Oregon State University to play tight end.

Since Clute has late arrival for school each day, he had breakfast at one of his favorite restaurants where he signed his letter. His father faxed it to OSU.

“It kind of feels like a weight off your shoulder to finally get it out of the way,” Clute said.

Hopkins works out for two hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

“I’m right on schedule,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins recalled the play in which he injured his knee in a runaway win at Central Valley.

“It was a broken play,” he said. “Bishop (Sankey) was running up the sideline. I went to block somebody and my knee hyperextended.”

The plan for Hopkins is to redshirt. He said Stanford will assess how much physical contact he’ll be allowed when he reports June 14.

“I’m looking forward to the competition (and) being able to play for such a great school,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins was projected to be a big part of the Gonzaga Prep basketball team this year. He continues to sit on the bench with the team at games.

“Pretty much every game there are moments that I want to get out and play,” Hopkins said. “I’ve played with those guys all through high school and wanted to stick with them my senior year.”

Clute took his official visit to OSU two weeks ago. He got to watch specific video on what the Beavers do with their tight ends.

“I really like the offense they run and how they utilize their tight ends,” Clute said. “They get creative with some of the stuff they do. And I love blocking so that will be fun, too.”

Clute will report in early July and attend a class designed to help freshmen become acclimated to the college lifestyle.

He’s been told most of the freshmen will redshirt.

“(Coach Mike Riley) told me to come in with the mindset that you’re going to play and come in ready to play,” Clute said. “He said that will get you most prepared in case you end up playing.”