Archive for February, 2005

NEW Martin Stadium vision!

February 10, 2005

Well, the architect’s drawings of the new Martin Stadium have surfaced online. They look amazing, but still hard to tell for sure what it’s going to look like. It appears that the second deck will be on the reserved side and upgraded in the end zone, but the student side pretty much will remain the same. Still hard to tell from just two drawings. Still haven’t seen this info from Todd, either, but this is what’s out there now.

This much is certain, though, we have decided on this architect so this is the way it’s going to look. BE STILL MY HEART, CRIMSON ENDZONES!?!?

2006 recruiting targets

February 9, 2005

Already there are a couple of big-time prospects showing interest in WSU for next year. I’ll post the actual articles later, but it sure sounds as though we have a tremendous shot at both guys. They hail from Eastern WA, so that’s good, but one of them has family ties to WSU.

The first one is Cameron Elisara. He’s a big, active, dominant D-lineman from Ferris. At 6-3, 275 and quick as hell, everyone loves him. However he ALREADY has offer in-hand from the Ducks, and UW has been circling already. There is talk that he’ll get a Coug offer very soon, maybe in a couple of weeks. The catch in our favor?? His dad happens to be a former Coug DT who played for the Cougs back in the late 70’s-early 80’s! The downside? He’s first cousins with the Tuiasosopo family and they are very close, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of pull that has with him going to UW.

Here’s the article:

THOUGH THE CROP of Division IA prospects in the state of Washington was smaller than usual in the just-concluded recruiting season, 2006 is shaping up to be a bountiful year. And one of the headliners figures to be Spokane’s Cameron Elisara, a bull of a defensive tackle whose crimson ties run deep.

Cameron Elisara, a 6-3, 275-pounder from Ferris High, is the son of Matt Elisara, a first-team All-Pac-10 nose guard on Washington State’s 1981 Holiday Bowl team. Pappy, who scored one of the most memorable defensive TDs in Cougar history on 42-yard interception return against UCLA, went on to play professionally in the USFL.

The family ties to Ol’ Wazzu don’t end their, however. Mom Cheryl is a WSU grad and older brother Travis was the scout team QB for the Cougars this past fall.

Elisara already holds an offer from Oregon with Washington State and Washington both very interested in keeping the defensive tackle within the state borders. Offers from both are expected any day.

Ferris head man Clarence Hough told that Elisara spent last summer down at Oregon’s camp and the Ducks have been high on him ever since, culminating in the scholarship offer this past month. A coach from Washington was at Ferris before LOI Day last week looking at tape on Elisara.

A BROKEN ANKLE cut short Cameron’s junior season at Ferris in Week 5, but that didn’t stop him from being named unanimous first team all-league.

“Everybody understood his talent level,” said Hough.

Like many dominant defensive tackles in high school, Elisara is moved around up front to keep teams off balance. Unlike many DTs, he was also versatile enough to play out wide.

“We moved him around, he even played a little end,” said Hough. “He has a great first step, extremely quick. We measured him (a couple days ago) and he’s 6-3, 275 right now. He’s a powerful guy — a powerful guy.”

Before the injury, Elisara was well on his way to a stellar season, collapsing the middle and racking up sacks.

“He was good for about three sacks a game,” said Hough. “Honest to Pete, it seemed like every game he opened with a sack on the first series.”

With Elisara sidelined for the year, Hough said Ferris had to change virtually everything they did on defense and offense without him in the lineup — he was that much a force.

“You lose a Division I football player, and it’s hard to bounce back from that,” said Hough. “He needs to be out on the field for us as much as we can get him out there.”

Elisara is also a standout shot-putter, heaving the orb 56 feet as a sophomore.

THERE’S MUCH TO like with Elisara, an already naturally strong specimen who also holds a real passion for time spent lifting the iron.

“He is a wrecking ball on defense, he’s just a bull,” said Hough. “He’s a great weight room guy too. And he uses his hands really well.”

An assistant coach at another GSL school who asked not to be identified said Elisara figures to rank among the top defensive linemen to have ever come out of eastern Washington.

“He’s an absolute horse ,” said the coach. ” He dominates the line of scrimmage and his pass rushing technique is as good as it gets at this level. Coming out of high school you’d have to rank him up there with Jeremey Williams, George Yarno and Steve Emtman as far as prep linemen from this part of the state are concerned.”

Interestingly, Williams and Yarno are both Ferris and Washington State alums. Yarno, whom many people remember as an offensive lineman because he played that position so long in the NFL, was actually an All-Coast defensive lineman for the Cougars in the late 1970s.

Elisara was in Washington State’s camp this past year and Hough thinks the Cougs, and the Huskies, will be charging hard after the defensive tackle this year.

“I think they’re going to be really aggressive,” said Hough.

The other is a kid named Ryan Tolar from Pasco. The rumors are he already loves Yarno, and WSU in general and will be camping there this year. But he’s FAR from a sure thing. Everyone in the Pac-10 plus many national schools are after him. Check it out:

THE OFFENSIVE LINE is shaping up to be one of the deepest positions in the state of Washington for Division IA football prospects in 2006, with Pasco’s towering Ryan Tolar getting the early nod as the most coveted hoss of them all. Both literally and figuratively, he’s been a driving force behind Pasco’s offensive juggernaut over the last two seasons.

The entire Pac-10 is recruiting Ryan Tolar, and they’re not the only ones who have taken notice of the 6-6, 320 pounder. The offensive lineman is also getting serious interest from Notre Dame, Northwestern and Michigan State.

He isn’t leaning toward anyone at the moment. “Every school that is recruiting me, I’d put in a high spot,” Tolar told

Tolar will be at Washington State in April to take in the Crimson and Gray game for the second straight year.

Before heading to Pullman for some spring ball, he’ll travel to the UW for the Huskies’ junior day later this month and then down to Oregon the first week in March. He’ll also be attending a NIKE camp but is undecided on if it will be the camp at Stanford or the one in Eugene.

TOLAR BLASTED LANES for Pasco running backs last year, with Leon Jackson and Tony Coburn combing for more than 3,300 yards. Pasco was the state 4A champion in 2003. Last season, the Bulldogs were 12-0 and ranked No. 1 before being upset in the semifinals by Skyline, 28-23.

“He is very large,” laughed Pasco head man Steve Graff. “He’s just very tenacious. He’s one of the best offensive linemen we’ve ever had here. He was very important to our success last year and he was very important to our success as a sophomore.”

Tolar also suited up — and played — on the varsity as a freshhman. He is the only freshman to ever to have started for Graff in his eight seasons as head coach at Pasco.

There aren’t many stats kept for offensive linemen. Graff did however offer a glimpse of the dominating force that Tolar is — the pancake blocks he doled out on the competition last year were both numerous and memorable.

“I’d say he averaged 5 to 10 a game,” said Graff. “He finishes really well — that would be one of his best characteristics. He finishes better than anyone we’ve ever had.”

Tolar has very good lateral movement at 320 pounds and is busy this offseason working on improving his speed and quickness. Graff said Tolar’s athleticism is fast coming along to match his strength.

“He’s gotten better and better, his athleticism has improved leaps and bounds,” said Graff. “He works very hard in the weight room, very hard at watching film — just all of those ‘little things'”.

Indeed, on Monday afternoon Tolar hit a personal best with a bench press of 335. He also has a squat of 565 pounds.

AS A JUNIOR, Tolar received a slew of honors and accolades. He was a consensus All-State pick and Lineman of the Year in the Big 9.

Academically, Tolar has already achieved a qualifying test score on the SAT.

Graff said unlike Nebraska-bound Jackson, who only made one official visit last year, Tolar will take a few trips before making a decision. He also said he might line up on defense a bit for Pasco this coming season.

We did great with the speed and skill positions this year, and a couple of “headline” lineman in Ahmu and Alfred, but now it’s time to land some hosses up front.

Great points Roost!

February 5, 2005

I know you said to post these on the Blog Hawk, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. You’re the computer saavy one out of the bunch.

SEAN: I’ll send you guys a document that walks you through how to do it. I always try to look but it’s easy to miss that there are new comments, plus it would be cool to see you guys throw up a headline that we could “discuss” back -n- forth.

Anywho, with the distraction of LOI day going on, some haven’t seen the news that Doba’s contract got extended until 2009. Sweet. The key is going to be for him to keep his staff around and they strike me as faithful to the man. I just have to think that with a stadium expansion, a few more seasons of good recruiting, a bowl game or more this program is going to get nothing but bigger and stronger. Possibly dominating. With that comes more of the thing that can intice good coaches away, MONEY. Or in this case keep them in Pullman. Having said that, as long as Doba sticks around, I feel a coach or two leaving wouldn’t retard the building of the strong WAZZU football program that IS going to happen. Especially, since Doba has already proven himself at putting together a good staff.

The thing that could set the program back is a scandel. Anybody see Doba being involved with something like that? He’s so clean he squeaks when he walks. Having him until 2009 is key. Read Jim Walden’s book, he gives a good examples of how much coach turnover screws up a program and, conversly, how coach longevity builds a program. Plus Jim’s funny and its an easy read (big print and lots of pictures).

SEAN: I COULDN’T agree more, having Doba extended to ought-NINE is great! If you saw Pflugrad’s comments, that was used against us in recruiting as far as “Doba is going to quit” rumors. There actually were a few people in those luxury message boards that posted a few months ago they had heard he was feeling like retiring early, but you know how rumors go in cyberspace. Absolutely no doubt, though, that was a great move to basically guarantee to today’s kids that if you sign on the dotted line, Doba and as much of his staff that he can control will be here long-trem.

I also agree that as things move forward the next couple of years, as we return to bowl game success and unprecedented excitement around the program, I have that feeling that we are going to take some hits in the coaching ranks. All the great programs have it happen to them, but the truly great ones adjust and move on. I would think that Pflugrad will be the #1 guy to go, as he was a finalist for I think Montana State 2 years ago, but it went to Bobby Hauck? He’s also not a long-time Coug and really doesn’t have his roots here, he more or less fell into our laps when ASU fired Snyder. He’s got head coach aspirations, so we’ll see what happens in the near future there.

I also think that Akey is going to be a hot commodity after our D rises back near the top again this year and even more of his players make NFL rosters next year (Derting the headliner), well, it’s only natural that he’ll be pursued.

Oh yeah, I read Walden’s book too. Very good, funny read with good WSU stories all over the place. I wonder what Price’s book will look like once he hangs it up for good, I would imagine he’s got some great tales!

Rooster, are you going to the football dinner on 2/25? Put me down – IN INK – that I’m going. We should even meet up here in Bellevue and then go down together. Todd says they might unveil more public info on the new stadium renovation, can’t wait to see that! Oh yeah, and he SAID WE ARE GOING TO HAVE CRIMSON ENDZONES next year! I’ve been pining for that ever since Seahawks Stadium opened and how good that color looked on the field, and Todd brought it up like 2 years ago to Sterk. They later found out it’s pretty expensive to do, a few hundred thousand, but they finally relented and will do it this year!

Chat with Pflugrad

February 3, 2005

Interesting chat with Pflugrad posted at Cougfan right after the signings yesterday. Good stuff, check it out:

IN A LATE-LUNCH conversation in the chatroom on National Letter of Intent Day, coach Robin Pflugrad answered questions for more than an hour from 70-plus members of CF.C. For the exclusive summary of that fascinating conversation, here’s your chance to gain the insight on the Cougar class from one of the preeminent recruiting coordinators in all of college football.

COUGFANcom: Welcome coach Pflugrad and Congratulations on a phenomenal recruiting class!!! Let’s open it up for questions from the Cougar faithful here on CF.C !!

CoachPflugrad: Thanks – glad to be here and I’m ready to get started.

74Coug: Coach…great class…will numbers force us to do any grey shirting?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the grayshirts…we may go that route with 1-2 players depending on academic results – which we won’t know about until this summer…we are much closer to a balanced budget than we were with last year’s class.

CadTramp: Coach , who do you think will likely play next year from this class?

CoachPflugrad: We will get good mileage out of all the junior college players next season…We want to put the best players on the field who have the best chance of success

bigscoug: what has the coach’s most excited about this class?…..speed?

CoachPflugrad: This is a very balanced class…it is exciting to match your recruiting needs that you have in August and match your blueprint on February 2nd…we were right on with our needs and what we achieved…we might have been 1 or 2 players short of perfection

kjstoph1: Coach- which schools in the Pac-10 do you respect as recruiting foes?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding recruiting foes…all colleges that do not negatively recruit against the Cougars – which seem to get fewer and fewer each year! This could also be because of our success on the field and in recruiting battles.

IBC2991: Any spots still left? I assume we were holding one for Derrick Jones, but he signed with Oregon today.

CoachPflugrad: There is always a spot for a great, great player…you almost have to make a spot open for something unforeseen…if everybody qualifies, we would have to grayshirt 1 or 2 players

GoCougsBaby: Any particular diamonds you think you’ve uncovered in this years class?

CoachPflugrad: the linebackers that we are bringing in will have a chance to play right away…especially on special teams where we felt we struggled down the stretch last year

CadTramp: do you see either Tardy or Woolridge playing next year, both?, which one do you think is more likely to have their redshirt burned?

CoachPflugrad: On the running backs, that is a great question…we are going to be looking at both of them early in camp and they will be ready mentally to play before they even see Pullman again…we were 100 percent honest with them about the chance to play early and both were excited to do that…there is a chance that both of them could play next year.

LA Coug: I’d like to 2nd the question on Woolridge and Tardy and add a follow on. Why only 900 yards for Woolridge with his size and speed?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding Woolridge…the offensive system at Keller was dominated by passing and we are going to use him as a receiver, as we have with Jonathan Smith and Jerome Harrison

SocalCougFan: How many are still “short” of qualifying? Last year we lost several great athletes (but a got a couple of those guys back this year, which was great).

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the qualifying…in reality, none of them have qualified – and that goes for recruits everywhere because of senior English…we have three or four that have more work to do than just the senior English class

bigscoug: when did Texas become a recruiting target for the cougs?

CoachPflugrad: On Texas…Coach Burtnett has a lot of great ties in the state of Texas…the Holiday Bowl victory definitely paid dividends and got us through the door to where we could talk to players and coaches…Coach Burtnett is extremely passionate about the players and the level of play in the state of Texas…he shows that passion in every single recruiting meeting and I think he did and outstanding job this year in recruiting Texas and Louisiana

Kennewick Man: How does this class rank with the last two you’ve brought in?

CoachPflugrad: This class does not have as many flashy names as the previous two…the work ethic is as solid in this class as any…there are a few players that we have to mold into great players, which has been the success of WSU football over the years…I like our team speed, the balance in our numbers, I really like the efficiency of how we recruited this class…we brought 34 players to campus and signed 20…that is as efficient as anybody in the country

TulsaCoug: Coach – what a great class. Do you see Shelton Danzy being as much of a leader once he hits Pullman as he has been prior to signing day?

CoachPflugrad: Yes, I do see Shelton Danzy being a leader in Pullman…he is not shy and that is one of his strengths we saw in his recruiting evaluation…he showed a great personality in our camp and I will use him in recruiting each and every day he is a Cougar. Again, we are always looking for great players…the perfect class would have probably had one more corner.

Oregon Coug: Coach: Where do you see Bursey fitting in for this season?

CoachPflugrad: On Lorenzo Bursey…raw talent-wise Bursey will fit in immediately in our receiving corps…he will also become a fixture on our special teams…we are extremely excited about his speed and we loved his personality on his visit

COUGFANcom: Coach, what kind of a player is Cory Evans and talk a little if you could about how the coaching staff came across the pride of Lena, Louisiana.

CoachPflugrad: Cory Evans…long story…made short…Coach Bartell our graduate assistant knows the head coach Northwood High School…Bartell actually acquired videotape and showed it to me…we immediately talked to Coach Burtnett about taking the project over and he did a tremendous job of recruiting him and getting him to visit from so far away that late in the process…he will be one of my picks for sleeper of the year.

Oregon Coug: Coach: Do you see Ahmu with a chance to be in the rotation this year?

CoachPflugrad: AhMu has a great work ethic and a good ability to finish plays…he shows up before, during, and after every play, assets you want every player to have.

CadTramp: I know the numbers will change in the next year, but how many spots will we likely have to fill up in next year’s class.

CoachPflugrad: Next year already? Funny you should ask that…we have already met on next year this morning…we are working with 18 as a ballpark figure…this could change as it has the last two years…we also discussed our needs and are in the process of going to work on next year’s class.

Kennewick Man: Besides Cory Evans, who else might be the sleeper of the year?

CoachPflugrad: SLEEPERS…Courtney Williams, Dorsey High School is definitely a sleeper…Brandon Gibson will make an impact early in our program…Jason Stripling could be a player…

Tripsright: Hey Coach, congrats on another great recruiting year. It seems that a lot of schools are playing “the game” in recruiting i.e. allowing a kid to enter and compete for a position he wants to rather than were you see him fitting in, promising playing time and award promotion. Can you comment on your philosophy and why it might be different?

CoachPflugrad: I have never told a kid they will start their first year and I expect our staff to do the same…no matter how much publicity or how high they are ranked in the recruiting publications, the issue at hand is he needs to come in and compete for a job…he is now competing against people who have been in college, a college weight room, and have played in Pac-10 games…it is rare that a player can contribute at a high level, and it is exciting when they do i.e. – Michael Bumpus…I believe “The Game” in recruiting shows up more and more each year but honesty in the recruiting process will always be our philosophy at Washington State.

NIcoug: Do you see any of the new LB’s as MLB type guys?

CoachPflugrad: Greg Trent is a MLB type player…great pad level before the play starts and maintains it throughout the play…he is a very physical tackler.

Kennewick Man: 1) Who do you consider the single biggest catch of the class? 2) The Cougar Nation thinks YOU DA BOMB! Onward!

CoachPflugrad: Catch of the class…what I like about this class is that there are several medium-to-large catches that hopefully we can coach into big catches…obviously we like Arkelon Hall as a marquee signee and love what he brings to us on and off the field…he has a chance to compete and brings assets of Brink and Swogger.

CadTramp: Speaking of MLB, is Will Derting entrenched there this year, or is moving him back outside something the coaches will look at.

CoachPflugrad: Regarding Will Derting…I have one of the greatest jobs in America watching my tight ends try to compete against him…he is a great player and has proven he can play two different positions…we will use him as best we see fit after spring ball…I think the entire Cougar Nation will be excited to see a healthy Will Derting play again.

TulsaCoug: Coach, speaking of Tight Ends, none in this years class – do you see a couple being priorities for next year?

CoachPflugrad: On tight ends…we actually had earmarked one tight end for this class but after each and every recruiting meeting, we felt it was a position we might not have to take a guy, so I guess you could say I took one for the team and it is obviously my job to make a couple of younger guys better during spring practice…it will be a priority in next year’s class.

ctowncoug: Coach how much pt do you foresee Hamill or Blume getting this year? I thought they were sleepers that could make a difference in last years class?

CoachPflugrad: It is now Alex Hamill’s and Blume’s turn to take reps this spring…Alex has battled through a couple of different injuries so hopefully he will be healthy to compete.

Whoisyourcoug: Is there any chance that Russell Foster or O’Connor will return to WSU?

CoachPflugrad: For the record, Sean O’Connor was never officially gone from the program and he is back with the ability to play offensive line and possibly help again at tight end

CoachPflugrad: We have time for a couple more questions then we have to get work on the class of 2006

Kennewick Man: Besides tight end, will cornerback be an emphasis in next years class?

CoachPflugrad: Corner will be a major emphasis next season

crdiver: Coach last years grayshirts Included Ropati who we all know has done very well, but what about the other two players, tight ends Ben Woodard and Scott Selby.

CoachPflugrad: This spring will give these two players a great opportunity to compete and see where they end up on the depth chart (Woodard/Selby)

bwcoug: Coach, how does the in-state class look next year?

CoachPflugrad: Unfortunately I cannot comment on specific players, but I do think Washington will be a productive state next year…this was also discussed in this morning’s meeting

Kennewick Man: Will both Morgan and Hall redshirt this year?

CoachPflugrad: Morgan and Hall could both possibly redshirt, but if they come in and compete and are in the top three then they will be coached as if they were expected to play every week

CrimsonAddiction: Coach, please tell me WSU won’t be authoring comic books anytime soon! Where do you see the recruiting wars or “marketing” wars headed? It seems to be getting a bit ridiculous..

CoachPflugrad: After reading about the comic books, I looked around our recruiting department and I was the only one in the room…so for two reasons we won’t be doing comic books – lack of support staff and two – my drawings wouldn’t look anything similar to our recruits.

tfcoug: Are there any Will Dertings in this class, Coach?

CoachPflugrad: Probably not any Will Dertings…in my opinion, Will is much better than Derrick Johnson from Texas…he plays harder each and every play…if we have a couple of players close to his level, I will be extremely satisfied with the linebackers that we signed.

COUGFANcom: At this early stage, how many offensive linemen do you think you’ll be looking to take next year.

CoachPflugrad: On the offensive linemen, we will probably take three to four next year.

CrimsonWazzu: Coach, out of the the safeties, who will most likely see the field this season?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the safeties…Patterson has a chance to play right away, we expect that of him and all of our junior college kids.

CrimsonWazzu: How many scholarships will be available to walk-ons this year?

CoachPflugrad: Spring ball is about trying to prove yourself over and over, we will have a better handle on our numbers at that time…we have always prided ourselves on allowing walk-ons to receive a scholarship – we would like to continue that in the future.

pacrat: Coach, as Al Davis says speed kills. Will this continue to be an emphasis next recruiting year?

CoachPflugrad: Speed will always be an emphasis.

Cougsatoshi: Hey Coach, how do you think that the contract extension for coach Doba will influence our recruiting?

CoachPflugrad: The contract extension is awesome for recruiting…I can tell every coach in the country and every parent that Coach Doba will be their player’s, son’s head football coach for their entire career at Washington State University.

CrimsonWazzu: is there any chance we can get some receivers that can jump as high as Coach Akey?

CoachPflugrad: We have scoured seven continents plus many small towns in Texas, we cannot find anyone that can jump as high as Coach Akey.

Whoisyourcoug: Coach, I want to go back to school. Can I be a walk on? I’m 6-3/235 and 32 yo

CoachPflugrad: Walk on tryouts are open to any enrolled students!

wsufootball: Here’s a quick one for you…. who can we thank for the great recruit from Louisiana–Cory Evans?

CoachPflugrad: Coach Burtnett and Don Bartell

SocalCougFan: Do the Spring enrollees get to participate in Spring Drills? (sorry if you already answered this)

CoachPflugrad: Yes, actually the spring enrollees do participate in spring drills…they need to contact Coach Oviatt to be enrolled in a class.

CrimsonWazzu: coach, how does eligibility work? For instance, i’m a 5th year senior at WSU, if I were to walk on and make the team how much eligibility would I have?

CoachPflugrad: CrimsonWazzu, you would have one year to play one season

tfcoug: What is Cory Evans 40 time?

CoachPflugrad: I think Cory would run between a 4.55 and a 4.6, but realistically once the game starts, he seems to run much faster

NitzTheCoug: Coach, is your son interested in being a Coug? I saw him play last fall at PHS. Looks like a talent!

wsufootball: Yah! Aaron Pflugrad is the TRUTH!!!

CoachPflugrad: Thanks for the question about Aaron, I guess I can comment on him since I have a previous relationship…catches the ball like his father…thank God he runs like mother.

Sellas: All the Offensive skill positions are very explosive next year. Can we expect offensive changes next year to try and get Bumpus, Hill, Harrison etc. in space? And get them to throw to Troy more.

CoachPflugrad: As an offensive staff, we are currently meeting. One of our major discussions has been who we need to get the ball to. I’m not shy about my passion to get the ball to your best playmakers…I think we can improve this aspect of our game, that obviously includes more passes to Troy and Cody Boyd

CoachPflugrad: We need to wrap this up, I need to see if my graduate assistants are getting any work done today. Thanks for all of the great questions and the great support for Cougar football.

COUGFANcom: Coach Pflugrad, thank you for all your valuable insights. Truly a pleasure. ONWARD CRIMSON SOLDIERS !!!!

Class of ’05 is now signed

February 2, 2005

Looks like it’s pretty much over now. 20 signees now reported, and with the 3 holdovers from last year (Michael Willis, Cole Morgan and Benny Ward), that puts us at 23, which is what we were expecting.

No huge shocks, more a sense of relief that these kids put pen to paper. Other than the DB, Marlon Wood, no real last-second “turncoats” either (but Wood was always a shaky, soft verbal as they say.).

The two headliners, of course, would be Ahmu, the monster D-tackle, and Hall at QB. Here’s a few mug shots of the newest headliners. Nice to put a face with a name:

Hall Ahmu Trent Alfred Danzy Willis

There were some rumors the last 2 days that Ahmu was wavering in his commitment and Oklahoma supposedly came hard after him in the last few weeks, but he said no thanks.

Here’s a link to the list:

Interesting in that updated their QB rankings, and guess who’s in the top 10 now??

That’s right, Arkelon Hall is now 7th in the nation as a QB prospect, which is pretty damn impressive. For what it’s worth, the only other QB we recruited that rated as highly?? Try Mark Rypien in the early-80’s from Shadle Park! Even Bledsoe and Leaf weren’t this high (but they were very close, both around #10). Rypien was the #5 guy when he signed.

A few days ago Michael wrote that in another year, the Cougs should think long and hard about playing Hall over Brink. At first I scoffed at the idea, given the massive improvement Brink showed at the end of the year (winning at UCLA and beating UW is never easy, and he played great in those games), but man, a top-10 talent like Hall, if he shows he has the brains to go with the ability we’ve seen on video, well, we could be looking at one hell of a player. I know this, though, with Swogger, Brink, Hall and Cole Morgan, we are stacked at QB for the next several years!

The other thing on Hall? Those video clips are actually from his JUNIOR season, and it’s been said he’s gotten even stronger and better this year. That WR from the videos, #4, is a UCLA signee named Breazell. He was a senior last year. The buzz on Hall was that he didn’t quite have the arm strength for the big time, but this last year at all the camps he “blew the field away” with his arm strength! The sharks came out of the woodwork to recruit him, but in a now-famous interview last year at the EA Sports Elite 11 QB camp, where he was MVP, he donned a WSU hat and WSU workout shirt. When asked if he was opening himself up to other schools even though he had committed to WSU, he said “Do you see my hat? Do you see my shirt? I’m a Cougar and a man of my word.” So there you go!

On another front, looks like that WR USC signee, Derrick Jones, is off the board now. He was the guy who was scheduled to visit Pullman this weekend, but today he signed with Oregon. Oh well, you win some (Bumpus), you lose some.

One more thing to consider – as everyone hangs their hats on “star” ratings for prospects, the more you hear about them, the more they are pretty much bogus. The reality on stars, as I read from Chris Fetters at Dawgman, is very inaccurate. The problem is these analysts/guru’s, as diligent as they are, just do NOT have a chance to scout and/or watch quality video on a lot of these guys. The vast majority of the time they are either guessing based on stories they hear from coaches and people who have watched the kids play plus look at their stats, but it’s really difficult for them to form a strong opinion to tell who’s a player and who’s not.

Now, that’s not to say the stars are worthless. They are usually spot-on when it comes to the super-high echelon of talent, like Reggie Williams, Reggie Bush, etc. I mean these guys usually know the amazing talent when they see it. But, take for example, a 2-star kid? I found out that doesn’t mean a middle-of-the-road player. That usually means that they just haven’t evaluated the kid enough. Once the kids either verbal or sign with a Pac-10 school, they will do more homework on them and adjust their rating accordingly.

But, it seems they are more famous on guys that they missed on huge (Long, Trufant, Coleman, Derting, etc). So, when the WSU class is ranked in the low-40’s this week based on “star power”, don’t worry about it! Like Michael has said, this is the fastest class in school history, and with our staff, you know they’ll get “coached up”. You can’t coach speed! Give that staff some of the raw ability that’s coming, and look out!

Another thing I like about this class? The number of freshman that were recruited. You always build programs by getting the frosh enrolled and redshirted, and then when they are ready to play they get out there with a lot of eligibility. I’m a little down on the JC route unless they must have a quick fix, such as a guy like Donnie Jackson a few years ago when the middle was in dire need of a player. I’m especially happy to see that we didn’t go the JC route for running back! We’ve done that just too much lately, and the results are mixed at best. Jermaine Green was fabulous for about 1/2 of 1 season, 2002, but was injury plagued and basically a bad seed. Chris Bruhn had his moments, but he was a stiff towards the end of this year when so much was expected. I love Jerome Harrison, but it took him what, 4 or 5 games before he really got going? Once he did, look out, but now he’s only got 1 year left to play and he’s gone. So to get some talented, fast, physical players like Woolridge and Tardy right out of the high school level, that’s a nice change for us and maybe we’ll have the luxury of depth in the near future at a position we always seem so thin??

Finally, yes, Jonathan Stewart signed with Oregon today. No surprise. BUT, there are a couple of major websites floating a rumor today about a “prominent west coast team that created an actual contract with a high-profile running back with a promise of number of touches and guarantees about playing time as a true freshman.” Both CBS Sportsline and ESPN had their recruiting guys mention it in either an article or a chat. Hmmmm…..Stewart was waxing on and on about the number of touches he was told he’ll get at Oregon right before he committed…..makes you wonder about the real character of that kid, IF true?? Seriously though, I don’t care how good he is, you can’t do that with a frosh RB! What kind of a message does that send? More mess than it’s worth. No thanks.

If you like speed…

February 1, 2005

Check this kid out, and then scroll down to the part that says “exclusive video of Noel Devine”:

SCARY fast. I’ve never seen anything like it. If anyone can make Reggie Bush look “ok”, it’s this guy. He might be the greatest high school running back ever, and that’s only as a sophomore??

More commits with signing day tomorrow

February 1, 2005

More and more speed is coming to Pullman!

First the bad news – Marlon Wood, a verbal commit to the Cougs as a JC DB from Pasadena College, same school that produced J-Smith, has de-committed from the Cougs and will to go UW. Turns out the biggest thing is we saw him as a DB, and he sees himself as a WR/KR. He also saw the writing on the wall with all our skill position players for the next 2-3 years, and realized if he wanted to play offense as a JC transfer, WSU wasn’t the place.

Now the good news – more commits have been coming in, and again, all things they have in common – SPEED. The news just gets better by the day, and the amount of speed is staggering. We’ve also done damage in the state of Texas, now up to 4 commits from that state. Makes you think that the Holiday bowl win, and especially the style of that win, made serious inroads in the lone star state.

Here’s a quick rundown of the recent verbals in the last day:

1) Greg Trent – LB – TX – 5-11, 220, 4.5 40(!)

Head coach says he’s the best linebacker he’s ever coached. Chose the Cougs over Wisconsin at the last minute. He is absolutely put together too. “Despite missing four games with an injury, the linebacker who is built like Zeus came on strong after his return and was named 1st team all district his senior season. Trent simply blew up opposing offenses the previous year during his junior campaign, racking up 181 tackles on his way to being named District 5-5A co-defensive MVP.”

2) Jason Stripling – LB/S – TX – 6-0, 215, 4.55 40 (!)

Projects as a linebacker, even though he’s blessed with 4.5 speed. Defensive MVP of his district, led his team to the 5A District I championship. “Stripling helped lead the Red Raiders to the school’s first-ever state football championship in the Class 5A, Division I Texas Bowl with a 69-yard interception return for a score. The previous week in the semis, he also returned a 64-yard pick to paydirt.

Taking back interceptions in playoff games became something of a habit for Stripling. His junior season, the Stripling racked up 122 tackles and four interceptions, one of which he returned to the house in a playoff victory.”

3) Courtney Williams – LB – CA – 6-2, 205, 4.54 40 (!)

“THE COUGS love linebackers who can really run, and the 6-2, 205-pound Williams can flat-out fly. Among the 80-plus tackles he racked up this season, 26 of them were sacks. The Los Angeles native is generally regarded among the top two 400-meter prep sprinters in all of California — he is expected to challenge Dorsey teammate David Gettis for the state 400-m title this year. In the event, Williams clocked a 47.7 in the quarterfinals last year.” WSU beat out Utah State, Baylor, Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State. USC, UCLA, Washington, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have all showed either early or late interest. WILLIAMS WAS selected LA Defensive player of the year and Defensive Lineman of the year by The LA Times. He was also named to the Times All-star selections, which includes all of southern California, and was first team All-Region. And naturally, he was a first team selection in the rugged Coliseum league.

Dorsey is a football factory, sending countless players on to Division I and NFL rosters.

4) Bryan Tarkington – 6-5, 280 – CA JC – DT – In addition to WSU, the 6-5, 280-pound defensive tackle out of Moorpark College held offers from Michigan State, Colorado State, Kansas, Marshall and San Diego State. He had previously verbally committed to Colorado State but was blown away by his visit to Washington State this past weekend.

ON THE YEAR for Moorpark, Tarkington destroyed opposing offenses, racking up 16 sacks from his interior line position. In being named a first-team all-Northern Division selection in the Western States Conference, Tarkington forced 7 fumbles, recovered 7 fumbles and deflected 5 passes.

He totaled 78 tackles — a large number of which were from behind the line of scrimmage. Coming out of Taft High, Tarkington was all set to sign with Oklahoma but didn’t get the SAT score he needed and ended up going the junior college route. He is in fine shape to earn his AA degree and will participate in spring ball for the Cougs.

5) One last guy the Cougs are recruiting hard, and it could be another Bumpus situation, is a WR named Derrick Jones. He committed to USC last year but he failed to qualify initially and, like Bumpus, was asked to grey shirt. He declined, has now passed his SAT and is fully qualified, but has decided not to go to USC. He visited Oregon last weekend, and has a trip scheduled to Pullman strangely enough after signing day, this weekend, beginning 2/4. His final 4 list has Oregon, WSU, Miami, FL and Cal, with Oregon and WSU 1-2. He expects to make his decision after his visit this weekend. Maybe he’ll sign on the dotted line??

This guy is good-sized, 6-1, 185, but he’s SCARY fast, as in track sprint fast in the legit 4.4 range. So fast that he WON THE CALIFORNIA STATE 200 last year, running it in 21.10. He ran a 10.62 100 meters, getting 5th in the state, and ran on the relay teams that took state. He has run as fast as 10.5 in state competition in the past. He was at one time ranked the #27 player in the west a year ago, and yes, he would be A HUGE GET if we can land him. Stay tuned there.

One more interesting thing. The 4 Texas recruits is big enough, but, in the did-you-know category? We have more commits from Texas (4), than we do from Washington (3)! Can you believe that? I guess it more or less backs up what many have said about the state this year, and that is overall the quality is a “down” year. There are some headliners, like Stewart, Hasty, Savannah, Alfred, Danzy and Felder, but the quality overall just wasn’t as deep. When you have more recruits from TX than WA, that says a lot!

We’ll see what tomorrow brings as the LOI’s start rolling in. WSU will announce signees in stages, and any inside info I’ll post. Otherwise check Cougfan message board and the official WSU site as they announce the signees.