Varsity Extra

Idaho native flew under the radar at 6-5, 290 pounds — until his dream school scooped him up

Gaard Memmelaar had a busy summer lined up of visiting college football programs throughout the West. But after receiving a scholarship offer from Washington, the incoming Middleton High junior verbally committed to the Huskies on Monday and canceled the rest of his summer travel plans.

“It was always my dream to play at UW, and I didn’t want to wait any longer,” the 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman said. “I knew that’s where I wanted to go, so why drag out the process when I can commit then and have it all be over with?”

Memmelaar is Washington’s first known commit of the class of 2020 and one that has flown under the recruiting radar so far. He visited LSU for its spring game and planned to compete at camps for Boise State, Washington State, Utah and Utah State this summer.

But before he could visit any of those schools, and before 247Sports could rank him, he verbally committed to Washington. Memmelaar said playing for former Boise State coach Chris Petersen was as a strong pull for the Huskies.

“I always looked up to him and how he coached the Boise State players, and how he made that program great and all the things he brought to the table,” Memmelaar said. “It wasn’t just all about football. It was about being a good person, as well as life after football.”

Memmelaar hadn’t received any communication from Washington until the Huskies sent an invite to their Dirt Dawg Camp to Middleton High. He broke out at the offensive and defensive linemen camp, earning MVP honors for the class of 2020. Offensive line coach Scott Huff followed up with a phone call and a scholarship offer last week.

Memmelaar started every offensive snap at left tackle for Middleton last fall, never allowing a sack in more than 300 pass attempts. The 16-year-old said he can bench 365 pounds and deadlift 550 pounds. He also joined the Vikings’ varsity basketball team as a sophomore and threw the discus and shot put for the track and field team.

“He’s a special athlete,” Middleton football and track coach Bill Brock said. “He’s got great feet and is incredibly strong. Physically, you would think he’s 20 years old instead of 16 years old. He’s going to be a big, fast, strong dude.”

Memmelaar continues the Treasure Valley’s tradition of producing FBS offensive linemen. In the past two recruiting classes, five Treasure Valley natives have signed with an FBS program out of high school, including Rocky Mountain’s Keeghan Freeborn (Boise State), Eagle’s Alec Kuzmack (Washington State) and Maxim Moore (Idaho), Boise’s John Ojukwu (Boise State) and Columbia’s Brandon Kipper (Hawaii), who has since transferred to Oregon State.

Zack Bennett, a 2016 graduate of Rocky Mountain, also signed with Florida Atlantic this winter after two years at a junior college.