Archive for December, 2004

Well put, Mikey…

December 24, 2004

Well put indeed. Maybe you’re right, and I’m over-estimating what Willingham can do. I was more thinking along the lines of:

1) african-american head man

2) god-loving(that seems like it’s meaning more and more these days as our country divides blue and red!?!?)

3) Intelligent individual with a tremendous track record of graduation and lack of any probation, and finally,

4) In an area that is producing more and more african-american athletes (Seattle/King County).

I look at how Romar is farming major talent, all african-american Metro league all-stars, all staying home to play for Romar. I made that connection. But, in the end, you and everyone else knows, a kid does NOT choose a school just because the head man is black! IF they did, Notre Dame and even Stanford before them would have had the #1 recruiting class, year after year. They didn’t, not even close, in fact that was one criticism of Ty at ND. The staff was considered a little weak as well, in recruiting and otherwise, and while he is going to get some new blood at UW, he is bringing the majority of “his guys” with him. Diedrick, unfortunately, will NOT be coming along. That’s a big loss for us 🙂

The good news is already one of those big fish in Seattle, Anthony Felder, committed to CAL after hearing Willingham’s pitch. So that’s certainly one that got away.

My biggest fear is that he will land these big-name kids and steal back some kids. Then again, the last “splashy” hire at UW had what was regarded at the time as excellent recruiting classes. They were so good, in fact, that UW had to play eight TRUE frosh this year! On signing day the kids looked great – on paper, absurdly hyped by the Seattle media of course – but as you said Michael, they are just name players and are one ACL injury from never being anything. I always look back at guys like Paul Arnold, who was supposed to win a couple of Heisman’s but whispers of a fear of getting hit turned out to be true; even guys all the way back to Mike Lustyk, just dominant in high school but a complete wuss in college, yet he was higher ranked over Emtman coming out of high school.

In the end? You just never know.

Merry xmas! Hope you and the family are well.

Cougs land SUPERSTAR plus other rumblings

December 23, 2004

Good news – bad news.

First, with holiday cheer, the Cougs got a coveted superstar! No, not THAT superstar – more on him later – but they did get maybe their best recruit from last year back for this year as he has posted a successful SAT score. He will challenge, if not start, at safety as a frosh.

Check it out:

Michael Willis, a phenomenal football player and one of the stars of the 2004 signing class, has met academic admission standards and will be enrolling at Washington State in January.Willis told he is thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to be going to Washington State.”On a scale of one to 10 — I’d say about a 20,” Willis laughed.Make no mistake — this is huge.Insiders a year ago told CF.C that the Cougs had unquestionably landed two bona-fide stars — players of the caliber that could have made an immediate impact at virtually any college in the nation.One was Michael Bumpus. The other was Michael Willis.A long time recruiting observer this winter told that had Willis prepped somewhere in California or Florida instead of Tacoma, he would have garnered a five star rating.”It’s mind-boggling that Willis didn’t receive the same type of in-state hype that Larry Stevens and Paul Arnold enjoyed around the state of Washington a few years back. Absolutely mind boggling.”Other long-time followers of both the state of Washington prep ranks — and Cougar football — expect Willis to make a serious push for immediate playing time in the WSU secondary in ’05.Don’t be surprised if he starts. He’s that good.Simply put, the 6-3, 205-pound Willis is a tremendous athlete capable of making an immediate impact on the gridiron for Washington State.At WSU’s summer camp, a pass was thrown deep downfield. Willis, defending on the play and far away on the opposite side of the field, took off after it. It would have been amazing had he just gotten to the ball. But not only did he get there, he leapt, grabbed it and then all in one motion, came down and took off on a dead sprint for the other end zone. He went untouched.And mouths dropped.Regarded as one of the most feared hitters in the region from his safety spot, the Tacoma native may have actually received more honors and accolades on the offensive side of the ball, piling up 1,207 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns his senior season.Willis is more than capable of earning significant early playing time on either side of the ball for the Cougs. But with one of the biggest needs at safety this coming year, it appears the Cougar defensive backfield will be the likely destination for the former Lincoln High star and newest member of the Washington State family.

Now, really quick on Snoop Stewart – the rumors and whispers are true. He is VERY interested in UW, not to the point that he is going to commit to them, but they have certainly wormed their way into the top-4 with Willingham. He met with Willingham one-on-one after UW beat NC State last weekend, and came away extremely impressed. It’s not a worry that the big man upstairs is telling him to go to UW, that it’s a serious omen that Willingham fell into their laps, a gift from the sky. I’ll have more details after xmas day when I can pow-wow with UW super-sources, but we need to be very concerned…….one rumor making the rounds was that Willingham was going to hope to get one of the guys between Hasty, the player of the year in Washington, and Snoop, but now the whispers are Willingham could get BOTH guys and they will be a force as a duo in the backfield, AND Hasty could also play saftey which is where he broke in at Bellevue.

I’m telling you and anyone else who cares, Willingham will be the Lorenzo Romar of UW football. The future is scaring me when I think of the kind of in-state talent he’s going to keep home. It’s not purely a racial thing, of course, there’s always more to it than that, but Willingham is what he is. He believes in kids getting their education, he has excellent graduation rates (but let’s get real, Notre Dame and Stanford are elite universities, UW is nowhere near that level) and he NEVER gets in trouble. It’s music to many the ears of Mom/Pop/Grandma/Grandpa when he strolls into a living room in purple-n-gold, looks them in the eye, and waxes on about how he will take care of their son, he will play for a great football program rich in tradition, on TV no less, AND he will get an education!


December 16, 2004

Not WSU-football related, but are you kidding me? The M’s just spent $114 MILLION dollars in two days to land two of the biggest free-agent hitters to hit the market in some time. Unbelievable. Congrats M’s, I will see you at the Safe this summer!

Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting…..

December 16, 2004

First, the big fish that verballed today – a 4-star defensive tackle from San Diego, rated the #20 defensive tackle in America. Vaunted run-stuffing, 6-0, 290 lb samoan named Fevaea’i Ahmu (sounds like it’s spelled?!?). Here’s some info:

This one is huge. Literally. It’s also a cause for celebration, jumping up and down would not be out of order.Four WSU coaches certainly thought it appropriate.Coming by to see Fevaea’i Ahmu Tuesday night: Washington state coaches Mike Walker, Robb Akey, Ken Greene and George Yarno. During the in-home, Ahmu told them he wanted to be a Cougar.”I can’t remember the words exactly,” laughed Ahmu. “But I said something like ‘I think I’m ready to be a Cougar.'”Cue the hops.”They were just jumping,” Ahmu said. “I saw coach Walker and coach Yarno get UP! They were jumping. They were all jumping, coach Akey, everybody,” he laughed.Our guess is there are some dents in the living room ceiling, especially if defensive coordinator Akey was flying high in the Ahmu household.”Coach Yarno said he was getting goosebumps. They were really happy that I decided to go to the school.”The 6-0, 290-pound wrecking ball from San Diego is among the top prospects in the West. He simply wreaked havoc upon offenses this year for Serra High.Washington State bested Oregon in the Ahmu sweepstakes. Colorado and Arizona were among other suitors on his short list.Cougar defensive line coach Mike Walker was the primary recruiter on Ahmu — the former WSU and CFL defensive line standout was the deciding factor in Ahmu choosing the Cougs over the Ducks.”I just felt I had a little more of a connection with coach Walker, I felt he could (best) teach me.”Ahmu told CF.C after his Apple Cup visit that the experience Walker brings to the table, how much Ahmu thinks he can learn from defensive line coach, was a huge plus.”Coach Walker is definitely a positive there — his playing defensive tackle (in college and the pros.) It really seems like he knows the game,” Ahmu said at the time.Defensive coordinator Robb Akey and coach Bill Doba also each made a strong impression on Ahmu on his official visit.”And coach Akey, he’s high tempo and he’s excited about me.””Coach Doba, he’s real calm, collective and a fun going guy. It just seems like he’ll take care of me if I go there.”

Another verbal:

James Bradley – 5-9 1/2, 175 lb corner from Garland, TX. He chose the Cougs over ASU and Colorado, among others. He earlier gave Mississippi State a verbal commitment, but then backed out after having a big senior season. Known as a big-time playmaker with tremendous hands. Said South Garland coach Mickey Moss of the defensive back; “He is a playmaking machine.”

He committed Saturday night during his visit to WSU. “I told coach Greene, the DB coach — yes, he was happy. He basically ran downstairs and went and got all the other players.”

Upon arrival, the Washington State campus made an instant and favorable impression upon Bradley. A winter wonderland isn’t something you often see in Texas.”I liked it. The trip was just a whole different atmosphere. It was cold, it wasn’t cold-cold, but there was snow on the ground and it was just different from where I’ve grown up. I haven’t seen snow in a pile of years.”Also turning the head of Bradley, the togetherness of the Cougar football team.”Everything revolves around the college. They caught my eye. I just liked the whole football program — there’s so much unity. It’s like one big family.”Academically, Bradley has already achieved a qualifying SAT score and is in fine shape.”I made a 970,” Bradley said matter-of-factly.On the season Bradley notched 58 tackles, five INTs, eight pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and seven blocked field goals/PATs. Also returned punts and kickoffs, and played on all the special team units.”They’ve got a good thing coming,” said Bradley. “Let all the Washington State fans know, here I come.” Oh yeah, he’s also BLAZING fast – 4.41 in the 40 at a Texas camp last summer!

If you are keeping score at home, that is now 3 recruits in the last year that the Cougs have landed from Texas. Linebacker Marcus Burton, a hard-hitting linebacker, and linebacker Tyson Kirksey, a singing from 2004 but an academic casualty, are both expected to be Cougs this spring. That win over the Horns in the Holiday may turn out to be the biggest splash the Cougs could have hoped for, at least in a state that regulary churs out over 100 division 1 prospects every single year.

Now, the worrisome news – Ty Willingham is pretty dry-witted, boring, you name it. But the man can recruit, bottom line. He’s also african-american. Any minority kid in America might actually want to her his message now, with a D-1 school that has made history with a football and basketball head coach as african americans! The response has been lukewarm, at best, as Willingham wasn’t on any top-10 lists floating around. We all know UW wanted Tedford in the worst way, followed by Urban Meyer, Superior, Nick Saban, etc. All spurned UW on the spot. PHEW. But, I actually think this is a great hire for them, one that won’t lead them to a BCS bowl, but certainly one that will clean up that program and recruit some kids that a 1-10 program might never be able to reach. He’s a gift from the sky is the way one guy told me yesterday. He might be right.

Ho-hum. Pretty boring time right now with the *yahn* bowl season under way…..

By the way, BET EVERYTHING on Oklahoma, right here and now! They are going to win by at least 10 points, maybe 14.