Lynden wide receiver Jalani Phelps, who terrorized Northwest Conference secondaries the past three seasons, is committed to play for Division I-AA FCS school Eastern Washington University next fall.
Joined by his mom, coach Curt Kramme, coach Blake Van Dalen and athletic director Mike McKee, Phelps held a mock signing on national signing day Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, at Lynden High School.
Phelps, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound wideout, moved into the Lions No. 1 receiver role this season and contributed to Lynden's last three state titles. He logged a team-high 55 receptions for 837 yards and nine TDs his senior season.
"Mostly it's a relief to know where I'm going," said Phelps, donning a red jacket and grey EWU beanie cap. "I'm very excited to be playing at Eastern. They have a great tradition of winning, similar to Lynden. I'm super excited to be an Eagle the next couple of years."
Eastern has reached the FCS playoffs four of the past five years, won a national championship in 2010 and advanced to the semifinals each of the past two seasons.
EWU head coach Beau Baldwin gave Phelps plenty of praise.
"What jumps out at you is how mature he is and the mentality he has," Baldwin told EWU Athletics. "He has a calmness to him but a drive deep down that you can see. We like the entire package that Jalani brings to our program at the wide receiver position."
Phelps said originally he planned to attend Central Washington University after the school offered him a scholarship. But he had a change or heart after visiting the Ellensburg campus.
He held off on his decision until he made a visit to Cheney, and there Phelps decided where he wanted to spend the next four to five years of his life.
"I went to camp (at Eastern) the last three years," Phelps explained. "I knew the campus. There was a family feel. When I committed, all the coaches were giving me hugs, and the whole time there I felt like I was already a part of the program on my visit."
Phelps, who is interested in majoring in either business or criminal justice, was told that he won't be informed whether he'll redshirt or not until right before the start of the season, because the coaching staff wants incoming players to battle for starting positions.
Although Cheney is a small city, Phelps was intrigue by Spokane's location only being 15 minutes away, and said similar to Lynden, football players at EWU are recognized throughout the community.
"It's a great opportunity," Kramme said. "His hard work has paid off. He's made contributions to our program for three years now. I'm very happy and proud of him."