nw9

From left: Casey Bauman, Dylan Morris, Northwest 9 founder Taylor Barton, Simon Burkett and Michael Johnson Jr. represent the top four quarterbacks at the Northwest 9 QB camp held from July 30 to Aug. 3 at Northwest University in Kirkland.  (Courtesy photo/Northwest 9) 

KIRKLAND — Nooksack Valley senior quarterback Casey Bauman and Meridian senior signal caller Simon Burkett were among the top 35 QBs from Washington, Oregon and Idaho taking part in the Northwest 9 quarterback camp on the campus of Northwest University in Kirkland on July 30 through Aug. 3.

The two north Whatcom County stars, who each recently committed to NCAA Division I football programs, finished among the top nine quarterbacks at the camp, making up the final Northwest 9 team. Bauman was ranked as the second overall player while Burkett came right behind in third.

Selected to compete among the area’s best at various regional camps throughout the Pacific Northwest, the camp put athletes to the test in various skill drills, position tests and one-on-one and 7-on-7 matchups. Each day, the selection committee and coaching staff ranked the athletes and by the end, the final rankings named the Northwest 9.

Athletes were housed in dorms on the Northwest University campus and fed meals during the camp.

Earning the No. 1 ranking for the event was University of Washington commit Dylan Morris of Graham-Kapowsin High School. It was the second straight year Morris was recognized as the top QB at the camp as he highlighted a large group of impressive talent.

“Dylan’s a good friend of my mine and he’s really good,” Bauman said. “I’ve done this camp for the past few years in a row and it’s just awesome to compete with all those guys.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Michael Johnson Jr., Sheldon (Oregon); Ayden Ziomas, Glacier Peak; Jaden Sheffey, Woodinville; Lincoln Victor, Union; AJ Allen, Lakeside of Seattle; and Wyatt Harsh, Woodland.

Notable drill results had Burkett finish with the fourth-best broad jump at 9-feet-1-inch, and Burkett in third in the vertical jump (38.5 inches) and Bauman tied for fourth (37 inches). A large 7-on-7 tournament during the camp, which occurred at Newport High School in Kirkland, gave the QBs the opportunity to play with some of the top skill position players in the region.

“I wanted to push myself going in and finish as highly as I could,” Bauman said.

The Northwest 9 QB camp, founded by former University of Washington quarterback Taylor Barton in 2015, strives to provide recognition, exposure and competition to the region’s top talent at the position. Several players who have attended the camp have gone on to play at the NCAA Division I level in college.

For Bauman and Burkett, the camp helped the two small-school talents get recognized, as both quarterbacks received multiple D-I scholarship offers this summer.

A Montana State University commit, Bauman excelled as a junior for Nooksack Valley last fall, throwing for 2,787 yards, third most in the state, and 24 touchdowns. The Pioneers fell just short of the postseason, losing to rival Meridian in a tiebreaker game after the teams finished with the same conference record.

“This year, we’ve all been working really hard all summer and we’re coming together as a team,” Bauman said. “I’m just really excited and I think this is going to be our best season yet.”

Burkett, who recently accepted an offer to play football at Eastern Washington University, led Meridian to the Class 1A state quarterfinals in 2016 after surviving the tiebreaker with Nooksack.

The two quarterbacks face off twice this fall — first at Meridian on Sept. 29, then at Nooksack on Oct. 20. They will continue to play against one another in college as well, as Montana State and Eastern Washington both play in the Big Sky Conference.