WEST LINN, Ore. (KOIN) – Whenever Elijah Molden steps onto the football field, he finds a way to make things happen.
“I can play like both corner positions and probably safety, too,” Molden, a West Linn senior, said with a smile.
“[He’s a] tremendous football player [and] probably the best two-way player here in our state,” Chris Miller, West Linn’s head varsity football coach, said. “And there’s some good football players here.”
But it’s been a very challenging season for Molden, who’s in the process of overcoming an injury from Week 5.
“He hadn’t played a whole lot of football for us this year,” said Miller. “I think in the regular season he played about three games in three quarters. He’s extremely explosive when he’s in there. He’s pretty dynamic early in the year.”
“There’s only so much I can do,” said Molden. “I’ve just got to accept that, and then come out here every day and do the best I can. And be out here with my teammates.”
Molden had a lot of interest from University of Southern California, Stanford and Oregon.
But the four-star recruit chose the Washington Huskies.
“[My decision to choose Washington came down to] just a combination of many things with school and the connections [I’ll be able to get at University of Washington],” said Molden. “And [Huskies head football] coach [Chris] Petersen and [UW defensive backs] coach [Jimmy] Lake for sure. It pretty much came down to the culture that was there, with the players and the atmosphere.”
“I just supported him the whole time,” Miller, a former Oregon Ducks quarterback, said. “I said, ‘Hey, bro, whatever you decide it’s your decision. I love you. I’ve got all of the respect for you, and you have my support.’
“I thought it was going to be Stanford to be honest. I thought Stanford was kind of in the lead. And then I think Washington’s success [with] them being No. 4 in the country when he went to watch them play USC last week [helped in terms of the recruiting process]. I think the fact it’s only 2.5 hours away from home [to Seattle is another reason]. It’s a pretty quick drive. And I think academically it really fit him [ for] what he wanted to do.”
His father Alex Molden, a former all-American cornerback at Oregon in the 1990s, is one of the coaches at West Linn.
“I can go to him for anything anytime. He coaches the DB’s [defensive backs] here, and even coaches the linebackers a little bit too when he needs to,” said Elijah. “But whenever I have questions I go to him, and he teaches me what I need to know. And that’s what it takes to take my game to the next level.”
Our Athlete of The Week is focused on trying to help West Linn return to the state championship game once again.
“Each year we keep getting farther and farther,” said Elijah. “The only thing we haven’t done in this school’s history is gotten a championship ring [in football] so that’s the only thing that’s on our minds.”
“I’m so thankful that I got to play with him,” said Tim Tawa, West Linn’s starting quarterback. “He’s going to be the guy that, when I’m in the future talking to my kids, [that] I’m gonna say, ‘I played with Elijah Molden.’ He’s a special player. A special guy. A great teammate. I can’t say enough good things about Elijah and his entire family.”