Washington intrigues junior college lineman

When Nic Purcell first walked into Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach, Calif., he looked the part of a Division I offensive tackle.

At 6-foot-6 and about 300 pounds, with a background in rugby and basketball, he had the size and athleticism. However, growing up in New Zealand, he didn’t have any experience on the football field.

He was a raw talent, but Rustler coach Nick Mitchell felt fortunate to land the prospect.

“He could have gone anywhere, but we lucked out,” Mitchell said.

Purcell had moved to California with his wife, who is from Fountain Valley. He wanted to play college football.

“He’s a really phenomenal athlete,” Mitchell said. “He can run. He can jump. He’s explosive, all considering he’s 300 pounds. He’s really an agile, quick guy. But he’s new. This will only be his second year playing organized football.”

There was a steep learning curve for Mitchell in his first season, but the 4.0 student caught on fast. His performance, combined with his potential, has drawn the attention of several high-profile programs, including Washington.

“The kid is only going to get better,” Mitchell said.

Purcell was in Seattle on an official visit Tuesday. He attended Washington's second fall practice.

“Seattle, obviously, is an intriguing place,” said Mitchell, who added that Purcell would like to remain on the West Coast. “He had an opportunity to go up there, squeeze it in, and he took the opportunity.”