After a record-setting senior season, Mead quarterback Ryan Blair finally knows where he’ll be playing college football.
The Greater Spokane League 4A Most Valuable Player committed to Western Oregon University on Wednesday, the National Signing Day.
“For me, I really loved the coaching staff, especially (quarterbacks) coach Trey (Shimabukuro),” Blair said. “I think he can make me a really good player.”
Blair is a national three-star recruit according to 247sports.com. He threw for a school-record eight touchdown passes and 513 yards in a 63-27 win over Marina (California) in October and guided the Panthers (7-3, 4-1) to a District 8 playoff game this fall.
He threw for 2,516 yards and 32 touchdowns this season, and his 431 yards against University in a 52-21 win on Oct. 24 ranks No. 8 on the league list for passing yards in a single game. Blair holds school records for career passing yardage (4,739) and touchdowns (62).
Blair said he has been talking with Western Oregon for “over a year,” and received his formal offer during his official visit in January.
“I had about 15 other opportunities, but this one kind of stuck out to me,” Blair said. “Just the campus, the coaching staff. I would have liked to played Division I, but the atmosphere and competition in the GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference) was pretty close to that.”
“When you think of a basketball player, that’s a gym rat,” Mead coach Benji Sonnichsen said. “(Blair)’s a gym rat for football.”
Sonnichsen praised his senior quarterback for organizing throwing sessions last summer.
“He started getting kids around the whole city to throw with him.
“He loves the quarterback position. He throws a really good ball, and guys like catching it from him.”
Blair cited Sonnichsen and former Mead coach and Whitworth receiver Drew Clausen as being instrumental in his development.
“(They) have shaped me into the player that I am today,” Blair said.
“They taught me how to read defenses, but more important they me how to be a leader,” he said. “Early on, I didn’t work as hard as I could have and regret my work ethic as a freshman, so I probably could have developed quicker. But by my senior year Benji had taught me what it means to be a leader.”
Blair signed his offer the same day as teammate and long-time friend Ben Voigtlaender, a two-time all-state defensive end, who committed to Eastern Washington.
“I think its really cool,” he said. “Me and Ben went to elementary school together and have grown up together. It was awesome for two kids that have played so long together that we committed and announced at the same time.”
Other area athletes who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday:
Ferris: Tarynce Antolin, football (Idaho); Dylan Stearns, cross country (Carroll).
Gonzaga Prep: Reagan Crain, track & field (Westmont College); Jonas Bears, cross country (St. Louis University), Zane Melzer, football (Carroll College).
Mead: Noah Taigen, soccer (Northwest Nazarene).
Mt. Spokane: Ryne Byus, baseball (Walla Walla CC); Tyler Dallas, football (Whitworth); Ikaika Williams, football (Whitworth); Megan DeSonia, volleyball (Bellevue CC); Trevor Mason, baseball (Pacific Lutheran); Katie McKinnis, softball (Edmonds CC); Hunter Snyder, golf (Northwest Nazarene); Matt McNitt, football (Whitworth).
University: Ellie Boni, basketball (Colorado State), Gracen Crosby, soccer (Georgia State), Cole Dobson, soccer (Pacific Lutheran), CarolAnn Edwards, basketball (Willamette University), Jacksen McCliment-Call, basketball (University of Portland), Tyler McCliment-Call, basketball (University of Portland), Aayiana Fuller, cross country (Gonzaga).
Clarkston: Kaeden Frazier, football (Idaho).
Coeur d’Alene: Colbey Nosworthy, football (Idaho).
Post Falls: Derek Pearse, football (Montana Tech), Sean Calabretto, soccer (Grace Christian).