It was literally a big day for Southern Arizona high school football.
Three linemen signed on the first day of the early signing period (this Wednesday through Friday) for Division I FBS and FCS teams.
They are former Ironwood Ridge defensive tackle Sam Benjamin with Arizona State (after transferring from Idaho State), Pusch Ridge offensive tackle Will Way with Weber State and Tanque Verde offensive tackle Jack Endean with Oklahoma State.
Notes on each:
ARIZONA STATE: SAM BENJAMIN, 6-5, 255, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
— Samuel Benjamin (@SamuelB2022) December 21, 2022
- Reserve lineman at Idaho State that played as a true freshman in 2022
- Collected 14 tackles over eight games for the Bengals, including two tackles for loss and half a sack and adding three batted passes
- An Arizona native that played at Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley
- Collected 53 tackles as a senior in 2021 with 12 tackles for loss as a defensive lineman while also playing offensive line for the Nighthawks
- He was named a First Team offensive and defensive lineman by the 5A Sonoran Division coaches
- Ironwood Ridge went 4-1 in the division in 2021 and advanced to the state 5A playoffs
WEBER STATE: WILL WAY, 6-4, 255, OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Will Way is a Wildcat! ✍️
— Weber State Football 🏈 (@weberstatefb) December 21, 2022
- Team captain of Pusch Ridge.
- Played multiple positions, particularly tight end, defensive end and offensive line.
- Mobile for a lineman (played basketball much of his youth) although spending most of his time at the tackle positions.
- Held offers from other Big Sky schools and a preferred walk-on offer from Arizona State.
- Originally committed to South Dakota but de-committed and was looked at by Idaho State before assistant coach Vince Amey left to become the defensive line coach at Arizona State.
OKLAHOMA STATE: JACK ENDEAN, 6-6, 285, OFFENSIVE TACKLE
— OSU Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) December 21, 2022
- The No. 12 overall prospect in Arizona and No. 67 offensive tackle in the national class, according to Rivals.
- He is an early graduate at Tanque Verde who will participate in spring practice at Oklahoma State.
- Played for coach Jay Dobyns at Tanque Verde after being at Salpointe Catholic, where Dobyns was an assistant.
- Dobyns’ former teammate at Arizona, Charlie Dickey, is the offensive line coach at Oklahoma State. Dickey was instrumental in signing Endean.
- First-team all-conference and all-region honoree in 2022
- Senior year stats include 47 total tackles with 28 solo
- Helped lead the Hawks to their first winning season in program history with a 7-3 record as a junior and the program’s first postseason appearance this year.
- Active in church service work
- Chose Oklahoma State over offers from Arizona, California, Michigan State and others.
- Tucson native. Mother Kim played lacrosse at Lynchburg College. Father Ty is an esteemed orthopedic surgeon in Tucson who specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery.
- Plans to study business.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.