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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Redlands East Valley HS QB Ronnie Fouch commits to UW

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Prolific prep quarterback commits to UW

By MOLLY YANITY
P-I REPORTER

Ronnie Fouch apologizes for not calling back sooner. He was working, he explains, at a golf course near his home in Redlands, Calif.

Does Fouch play? Yes, he has a 12 handicap.

Does he know Tyrone Willingham is a big golfer? Yes, he has discussed it with the Washington football coach.

Battling an All-American for playing time sounds like Fouch's idea of fun. That quality -- and maybe a bit of that shared fondness for golf -- endeared Fouch to Willingham, who offered the quarterback a scholarship Monday night.

Fouch accepted on the spot.

"I was waiting around for Washington to offer. I really had faith they'd come around," said Fouch, who also had offers from Texas-El Paso, Wyoming, Nevada and Boise State.

Fouch, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, has kept track of the quarterbacks on the West Coast and knows all about Jake Locker, the Ferndale High star who is touted as UW's quarterback of the future.

"He'll play. He's a great quarterback and I imagine that he'll play in his time there. But I love to compete. Once I get my chance, I'm going to keep it," Fouch said.

As a junior, Fouch completed 171 of 274 attempts (62.4 percent) for 2,379 yards. He passed for 34 touchdowns with just four interceptions for the 10-1-1 East Valley High team.In the 10th game of the season against Colton, Fouch scrambled on a fourth down. He made the first down, but was leveled by USC-bound Shareece Wright. Fouch finished the series, but his throwing shoulder was separated. He had surgery the following Monday. Still, he returned for basketball season.

The Wildcats advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation semifinals.

The injury might have scared off some recruiters, but Huskies offensive coordinator Tim Lappano was in Redlands for a spring workout during the evaluation period.

"Our coach (Kurt Bruich) called me and some of the receivers over. We ran a bunch of routes so (Lappano) could see my drops, my feet, arm-strength, my accuracy," Fouch said.

Lappano apparently liked what he saw and, according to Fouch, his shoulder is "back to 100 percent."

Fouch visited Washington a week and a half ago with his father John, who played football at Arizona State, and said he loved everything about UW, especially Willingham and his staff.

"I'm looking forward to being part of a great program. It's on the rise and we have a chance to work hard and get it back," Fouch said.

The Class of 2007 is shaping up well for Willingham.

Fouch joins offensive lineman Emeka Iweka (Rainier Beach), tight end Chris Izbicki (Lake Washington) and linebacker Quinton Richardson (O'Dea) among Washington's early oral commitments.

Landing a quarterback as vital as it is tricky, too. Stacking the position can scare off recruits hoping to make an immediate impact. But the importance of depth cannot be overlooked.

Fouch is aware of all of this.

"I figure I'll redshirt my first year, get bigger and stronger and learn a lot, but I love to compete. I'll get my time," he said.

Oral commitments are non-binding until the student-athlete signs a national letter of intent in early February. College coaches cannot talk to the media about recruits until then.

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