By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Mac's Gubrud commits to Eastern Washington

News-Register fileMcMinnville quarterback Gage Gubrud (5) and the Grizzlies made the second round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs in 2013.
News-Register file
McMinnville quarterback Gage Gubrud (5) and the Grizzlies made the second round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs in 2013.

McMinnville senior quarterback Gage Gubrud announced his intention to play college football at Eastern Washington University on Wednesday.

Gubrud, the 2013 News-Register All-Valley Football Most Valuable Player, chose the Eagles over Linfield. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder will arrive on campus as a preferred walk-on quarterback.

Gubrud committed to EWU quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Zak Hill over the phone Wednesday night and announced his decision on Twitter later that night.

“It just boiled down to where my heart was at,” Gubrud said. “I love Linfield, love the coaches. Same with Eastern.

“I want to take on a big challenge. I have a goal to play (NCAA) Division I football. If I don’t do it, I’m going to regret it.”

EWU, located in Cheney, Wash., is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision and the Big Sky Conference, which includes schools such as Montana and Portland State. The Eagles finished 12-3 overall in 2013, winning the Big Sky (8-0) and making the FCS semifinals before falling to Towson on Dec. 21.

Eastern Washington won the FCS national championship in 2010 and has been to the FCS playoffs three times in five years under head coach Beau Baldwin.

The Eagles have gained national attention for their red turf field, installed in 2010, the only such playing surface in the country. It is named Roos Field after Tennessee Titans offensive lineman and EWU alumnus Michael Roos, who donated to the project.

Gubrud led the Grizzlies to the second round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs and Mac’s best season of football since 2007 (6-5, 3-4 Pacific). The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior completed 59.7 percent of his passes (139-for-223) for 2,024 yards, throwing for 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Gubrud heard from Eastern Washington late in 2012, his junior year of football, before the Eagles broke contact. Hill began recruiting Gubrud again during his senior season. Hill attended McMinnville boys basketball’s game against West Salem on Jan. 7 to watch Gubrud.

“He really wanted me to go there,” Gubrud said. “He made me really feel at home.”

Gubrud took an official visit on Feb. 1 and met with Hill and Baldwin. His host was Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams, who racked up 4,994 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns in 2013. (Both marks are the third-best in FCS history.) Adams gained notoriety around the Pacific Northwest when the Eagles upset then No. 25 Oregon State, 49-46, on Aug. 31, 2013 in Corvallis; Adams accounted for 518 total yards and six touchdowns that day.

“Great guy. I enjoyed being around him the whole time,” Gubrud said. “He made me feel welcome. I talked to him about practice. I got to know a lot about the program from a player perspective.”

Gubrud is “99.9 percent sure I’m redshirting” his first season, in part to make sure his right (throwing) arm is 100 percent healthy. From there, he must work toward receiving an athletic scholarship.

“Their words were, ‘You’re a scholarship quarterback to us any other year. We just don’t have the money right now,’” Gubrud said. “Coach Hill said, ‘Hey, come up here and do what we think you can do, and you’ll earn a scholarship.’

“They look at me as a guy who has a lot of untapped potential. They feel they can turn me into a guy who becomes very polished and has a lot of ability that hasn’t been shown yet. They think I can do lot more than what I’ve shown.”

Fall camp in Cheney begins on July 26. EWU’s first game will take place Saturday, Aug. 23, at 12:30 p.m. against Sam Houston State at Roos Field. It will be televised live on ESPN.

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