Monday, January 31, 2005

WSU recruit videos - Hall = WOW

Check it out, per my most favorite WSU recruit of all-time, Shelton Danzy:

http://www.sheltondanzy.com/videos/04/index.htm

note - copy and paste the link, can't get links to work today.

Anyway, you MUST look at some of the Arkelon Hall videos. In a word - WOW. Short stuff with touch, deep 15-yard outs on like laser beams, great scrambling ability, and man oh man, some of the deep balls?? Wow. He is absolutely the real deal. And, who the HELL is #4 in his clips?? That kid catches everything, and the moves?? Wow again!

Meanwhile Cougs got another verbal commit from a really quick interior lineman, Joseph Townsend from San Jose. We beat out UW and Arizona, among others, for him. He's got decent size so far, 6-4, 265, but he runs a 4.9. Might be a nice pass rusher on third downs from the interior, but he's not expected to be a superstar or anything like that. Once again, the speed in the class is unprecedented, and will probably turn out to be the fastest class in school history. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, January 28, 2005

J.T. Diederichs AND Keauntea Bankhead in 2006?!?!

Who would have thought it was possible, but the rumblings are now true.

First, some background. In late 2003 - early 2004, there was a fierce recruiting battle waged between UW and WSU regarding 4 tremendous players from Ballard High School. QB Cole Morgan, OL Tyler Ashby, running back J.T. Diederichs and finally, the best of them all, Parade All-American safety Keauntea Bankhead. The Cougs and Dawgs split them right down the middle, with Morgan and Diederichs signing with the Cougs, while Ashby and Bankhead going with UW. Bankhead was really torn, and only in the very end did he commit to UW, some have said mainly because his parents really wanted him there, and his sister was a soccer player at UW.

In the signing day analysis, UW was said to have come out in better shape as not only was Ashby the #2 or #3 lineman in the state, along with Aaron Klovas (Oregon) and Andy Roof (WSU), but Bankhead was widely considered the #1 prospect in the state. Great size at 5-11, 210, speed (4.5) and hits like a truck, Parade all-american, basically every honor you can get, along with Matt Tuiasosopo.

Well, funny how things change. If you recall, Bankhead and Diederichs both failed to qualify, while Morgan grey-shirted and Ashby red-shirted at UW. So, both kids went to Dixie JC in Utah. When Willingham took over, Bankhead tried to call him to chat with the new coach and talk about the future, as he was still 100% committed and excited about the change. The problem?? Willingham wouldn't return his calls! This had been rumored for a while, the last month at least, that Willingham was abandoning almost all kids that hadn't qualified in the past and has a real thing about only getting kids that are qualified immediately. It was floated at Dawgman.com and Cougfan.com by the writers that there was real fire to the story.

Finally, today, the P-I caught up with Bankhead in Utah. What did he say?? It should bring a smile to your face to know that not only with J.T. Diederichs be coming to Pullman in one more year, but SO WILL BANKHEAD! What a great get this is. The headline says it all: "Ballard star DUMPS UW for WSU". Check it out:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/huskies/209732_bankhead28.html Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Accolades for WSU commits rolling in

Lots of accolades starting to roll in for Coug commits. I'll try and itemize them below:

WSU verbal commit Dwight Tardy has been named the ALL CIF-SS Division III Offensive Player of the Year.

The running back had a monster year for St. Paul, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. On the season, the 5-11, 202-pound Tardy rushed for 2,272 yards and 34 touchdowns on 236 carries.

Tardy was also a first team selection to the ALL CIF-SS FOOTBALL TEAM for the second time in three years. Tardy was first team All-CIF his sophomore campaign. His junior year was cut short by injury. The award winners are selected from all 13 divisions in the Southern Section.
The CIF-Southern Section is the largest section in California, representing nearly one half of the state's high schools.


WSU verbal commit Xavier Hicks has been named the ALL CIF-SS Division IX Defensive Player of the Year.

The safety had a tremendous season for Fullerton, leading the Indians to the semifinals. He has been called the best overall athlete in all of Orange County.

The 6-1, 185-pound Hicks was also a first team selection to the ALL CIF-SS FOOTBALL TEAM for the second straight year. The award winners are selected from all 13 divisions in the Southern Section.

Meanwhile, Brandon Gibson, WR/DB from Puyallup, Shelton Danzy, DB/RB from Rainier Beach, and the top o-lineman in the state of Washington, Kenny Alfred of Gig Harbor, all were named all-state by the Seattle Times and Northwest Nuggets by the News Tribune.

Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cougs hoping for another USC gift??

Sort of like Bumpus last year, a gift from the USC riches might fall into our laps. Eugene Germany, a big-time D-lineman from last season who signed with USC out of high school, is now no longer headed to USC. He was a highly regarded player that chose USC over Michigan on signing day last year. The Cougs are now recruiting him, and while we may not be his leader, we are on his current list. NOTE - there are two stories below, in chronological order. The first story was when it was first announced he wouldn't attend USC. The second story is his post-K-State trip.

Take a look:

Eugene Germany
While the saying goes the rich only get richer, sometimes programs just plain out get too rich. That was the case with the USC Trojans last fall in signing defensive end Eugene Germany, who ended up not enrolling in classes this fall.

"USC has told him that he still has a scholarship, and can enroll there next fall," said Ponoma Senior head coach John Brown. "They asked him to take some classes this fall, like a greyshirt situation, and he just wasn't interested in doing that. He is fully qualified, still has five years to play four, and is good to go if he can find a school to enroll in this month."

Germany just may find a school he can join for spring practice this weekend as he heads out to Manhattan, Kansas to check out the Kansas State Wildcats.

"Eugene is visiting Kansas State this weekend, and he if loves it, that is probably where he is going to go. They are the only school that can get him in right now, and he knows the success they've had with JUCO's and transfers. They have something like 17 or 18 kids from California on their roster. It is a good program over there, and Bill Synder is a good coach," said Brown.

If Germany decides Kansas State doesn't fit him this weekend, you likely will not see him enroll in school until next fall.

"Oregon State and Washington State have expressed a lot of interest. Oregon State can get him in during March since they use the quarter system, and if we would have gotten things rolling two weeks ago, Eugene would have been able to enroll in at Washington State right now. Michigan has also shown a little bit of interest, but he couldn't join them until the fall. If he doesn't commit to Kansas State either this weekend or early in the week, then he probably will wait until Signing Day to make his decision," said Brown.

Germany is currently on his way out to Manhattan, and Scout.com will keep you up-to-date.

Story #2 - looks like the Ducks are making a late push:

Eugene Germany is a 6-4, 265-pound defensive end from Pomona, California, and the former USC signee has re-opened the recruiting process after deciding to take his game away from Los Angeles.

"I took a trip this past weekend to K-State," Germany told Scout.com Tuesday. "It went good, I liked it and everything. I liked the atmosphere and the players treated me cool. The academic program was cool, they went through everything for me."

Some more schools have come into the mix. "I haven't made a decision yet," he said. "I'm thinking about taking a trip to Oregon this coming weekend. I want to see what they have to offer." Germany will know whether or not that trip has been finalized by the end of the day Wednesday.

"I'll make my decision on February 2nd," he added, also saying that he doesn't have a favorite. Geography will not play a part in his decision.

Oregon, Kansas State, Michigan, Oregon State and Washington State have all offered a scholarship to Germany, who will have 5 years to play four starting this fall. There's still a chance Eugene could enroll early, but it appears as if that will not be the most important factor when considering a school.

Meanwhile, Germany is doing the best he can as far as keeping himself in playing shape. "I've been running long distance just to keep my wind up and also 100-yard and 40-yard sprints," he said.



Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

How good is Trufant??

Interesting quick tidbit on Trufant. Not only did he play with an injured shoulder all season and just had surgery, but on top of the 5 picks and fumble recovery, did you know that this season, Trufant led the Seahawks with 96 tackles, 86 solo. He became just the second cornerback in NFL history to lead his team in tackles.

WOW. Think about that, 96 tackles, 86 solo? I think that was one of the things they knocked him for coming into the league, that he wasn't the best tackler (but I can remember several times in 2002 where he came up and just stuck guys!). For a 2nd year corner who was terrific in his first year and now leads the team in tackles in his second year, on a team with no pass rush to speak of, well, all I can say is WOW. What a player. Oh yeah, he's also a media darling around here and just truly a classy kid, top to bottom. We're lucky not only as Coug fans but as Seahawk fans to watch him up close and personal.

Not much new on recruiting, as we near the final dead period before signing day next Wednesday. Will there be a Michael Bumpus surprise?? Remains to be seen.

Quick story on Bumpus I heard last year and how he became a Coug - If you remember, Bumpus was a USC commit last year right up until the final weekend, when USC suddenly landed the #1 receiver in the nation, Dwayne Jarrett, from New Jersey. Well, USC looked at their WR position, incredibly stocked, and they knew that it was not only likely Mike Williams was gone for good, but also that Jarrett had Williams-like ability to start as a true frosh. Plus, there were rumors making the rounds that Bumpus was not going to qualify. So, the last few days before signing day, Pete Carroll called Bumpus and said "hey, things have changed a little bit, and we'd prefer to have you grey shirt and enroll next year in January." To which Bumpus said, "I don't think so, I know I can play as a true frosh in the league, and I'll prove it to you." So he silently slipped in and out of Pullman for his final visit, a 100% secret that nobody knew about, and then on signing day, BAMN! He was announced in the first wave of recruits as a true shock. I remember listening to KJR and the publisher of dawgman.com, Chris Fetters, just being shocked that the Cougs swooped in late on him completely under the radar and landed a player of his quality. Fetters went on to say that Bumpus was already as good as UW's Charles Frederick and has a much better upside. Pretty good call. So, who knows what happens here in the home stretch. You never know what surprises might shake down! Read more ...plus comments

Monday, January 24, 2005

Great points, again

Michael, great points all. You need to post this stuff on the front page! No more comments man, it's too good for back-page material. Here they are and my responses:

At 9:43 AM, Dr. Ferdie (Lawson) said...
So much to comment on here....

1) Speed is NOT as important as the ability to accelarate to full speed in a short amount of time. Looking at our man Greene, think about how FAST he was going when he hit the hole. The RB clincher against UCLA was a classic example: by the time he hit the line of scrimmage he was already at 4.6....so when he busted up the sideline, no one could catch him. Does Stewart have that type of acceleration????

Sean: Great point on Green, and you are right. The run against USC was phenominal as well, and he had that extra gear, however there is also one big difference between Stewart and Green - Green was a legit 4.4 - 4.5. Stewart is at best 4.6. That 1 or 2-tick difference is big at the next level. Look at Greg Lewis from UW. He had great moves and was very shifty, but you could probably make a highlight reel out of the number of times he was caught from behind!

One more quickie on Stewart - there are some pretty strong rumblings now that he may not even make it in to school next year at Oregon. Turns out his SAT scores the first two times he took them were low, the first one even in the low 500-range. He carries a 3.2 GPA but he's also going to take the SAT one more time and we'll see. Don't know if you read Jim Moore's piece about him a few weeks ago, but there was one thing that jumped out in that article - and I quote: "He hates to read, saying: "The Bible's the only thing I can read and not like doze off."

Ok, ok, he's 18 years old, just a baby and many kids can't read very well and retain at that age. But, if he admits to that, how the hell does he have a 3.2 GPA??

Way off topic - but who knows, maybe it's an internet-generation age issue, the idea of not being able to read one page from a book and retaining anything from it. 20/20 I think did a great story a few weeks back about the first true 'net age kids now venturing out into the real world and the problems they are encountering. Real disturbing thing, like not retaining basic information, not able to project long-term, and wanting it ALL, now, not being willing to pay the price of years of hard work, maybe that's just a reflection of where our society has gone the last 15 years? Short attention span generation is how they put it, and the temptations are everywhere. Think about it, did you have the internet growing up? Instant messaging? Cell phones? Super in-depth video game simulations? On-demand digital cable shows and DVD's?? Neither did I. Flip on MTV for a few minutes and watch any popular video. The thing they talked about? The images now change every 3-4 seconds, max! It's all about short attention span. It's an I WANT IT ALL YESTERDAY society, and they aren't all cut out to be deep-thinking college kids. Geez, Mikey, think about what our boys are going to grow up with?? Things we couldn't even fathom when we were kids.

2) Its all too easy to look at those recruiting ratings and to get frustrated and to have a bunch of question marks. But, the real issue for me as we talked about is recruiting speed AND recruiting needs AND recruiting system fits....when I look at who's coming in, we have added a bunch of speed and added to the secondary, to LB, and gotten a 4 star defensive tackle. Remember, Rien Long won the Outland Trophy by playing 2/3 of the snaps, so we're looking to add Depth to go with the Style of D that we have--high risk that demands depth because our offense doesn't control the football for much time.....

Sean: True, again, and you have to take off your hat to Pflugrad. When you read quotes about how unbelievably organized he is, how thorough he is regarding recruiting and how he pushes his coaches to get out there, that's great! The system, both on and off the field, is tremendous and we are very lucky.

3) For me, the year to rack up the GREAT recruits was last year...but lets not fret here....we get to 9 wins this year (or Ten plus a bowl), then the package continues to get better. In addition, think about the number of guys we've sent to the NFL. On defense, we've done well, but on offense? NOT as well...so part of what we need to get the 5 stars is more of an NFL profile. Yarno, Skips, and Rosey are going to help with that....

Sean: Disagree, this was the year with a wounded dawg hiring Mr. Personality who can't make a decision and Oregon with the losing season. On our offensive NFL talent? I think that is going to change with either Armstrong or Lightbody as o-lineman, but also when Jason Hill and Bumpus come up for the league, they both will at least make a roster. I mean really, not just Bumpus and his electricity, but think really hard about what Jason Hill did this year. A sophomore who had never been part of the WR rotation goes out and pulls down 1,000 yards and breaks the school record for receiving TD's? With those two QB's and half the season without a running game to speak of, and both TE's injured in week 4?? It's remarkable how good he was, and amazing to think how good he'll be. Size, speed/quickness, body control, hands, he's the whole package.

4) If we had gotten Stewart, he would have backed up Harrison this year...our biggest need is either to run the two back, or to run the thunder and lightning...quick you, then pound you......but the biggest question for us is the Quarterback position. HOpefully Swoggs will return to form and quickly.

Sean: Pretty apparent now, but yep, Stewart would have backed up Harrison....if Harrison is still in school next fall. Fingers and toes crossed on that one. I also believe Swoggs will be in control and competing for all-conference (not first team, that's Mr. Leinart's) but he'll battle Kellen Clemens for #2.

5) The cupcakes will bode well for us early...both for Swoggs as well as for that defensive secondary....hopefully those three games will enable us to mature and the ground running by Oregon State...

Sean: GREAT points here, too, not only are cupcakes good for padding the stats (Look at Orton at Purdue) and getting early season props for ESPN Gameday, but also good for the overall mental and physical condition of the team. Yes, anyone can get hurt at any time, but it's a heck of a lot better playing Grambling in Seattle vs. playing at Oklahoma or at Auburn and getting beaten to a pulp! We've been down that road before in the early 90's, going to Ohio State and Michigan and having the season in jeopardy just one game in. I love cupcakes, bring 'em (the low-carb variety, of course....:)

6) Remember, at the beginning of the year, Doba said the following, "I would be surprised if we didn't have a winning record this year. I think we have a good team, but its next year that we're going to be really good." We would have been a bowl team this year with a healthy Swoggs and without those BRUTAL injuries to the DTs and TEs against Arizona...that cost us Oregon and Stanford....based on my math, that's the difference between 5-6 and 7-4....

Sean: Not only was Swoggs huge and the DT's and TE's really tough, but think of the place kicking and how much that will improve next year. Two missed FG's really hurt vs. Colorado, as it did vs. Oregon. Colorado was lost on two mistakes, one the blocked punt for a TD, the other the Brink pick floated into the flat, but we also missed two makeable kicks in that game. Let's see, final score was 20-12. Had they hit the field goals, suddenly it's 20-18 and instead of having the game end with Brink fumbling on the 2-yard line, we're kicking a chip shot and winning that game 21-20. Otherwise Colorado on offense only crossed midfield twice, both resulting in field goals! Ah, hell with it, never mind.
7) All those kids got time as a result of those injuries...it will be fun to watch how it all unfolds next year.

Sean: No question an injury-plagued year can help build future depth. I just wish we would have gone to some of the younger DB's on the roster to see what they can do in games last year, even if it meant burning a redshirt or two. Abdullah and Bohannon were brutal against the deep ball, and after the Oregon game teams figured it out and we were toast. The good news is the younger Abdullah, Husain, really played well late in the year and many people think he's a potential star at one safety spot. Now we just need to get Michael Willis in to school and watch the stars fly!

8) WE DON'T HAVE MIKE PRICE ANYMORE. We have the BEST staff in the history of WSU football...WE OKAY, WE OKAY, WE OKAY.

Sean: AMEN!

Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, January 22, 2005

We OK baby, we OK!

The day after, can't help but feel mixed emotions.

On the one hand, we've always done well not having to get the 5-star recruits. I mean rarely, if ever, have we landed a player of that stature, yet the last 4 years, 35-14 speaks for itself as an overall record. As the recruiting analyst who's name escapes me said the other day, WSU develops players better than any team in the nation, period. And he's right. You can't point to any school that has done more, on paper, with "less", than WSU.

On the other hand, if we were ever going to land that 5-star super-duper premium recruit, it would be this year. THink about it - UW has never been lower, not just with 1-10 but the last 3 years of extremely mediocre play with turmoil around the program at nearly an unprecedented level; Oregon is coming off a losing season and had coaching and recruiting turmoil the last few years (famous story regarding Marshawn Lynch, Oregon coach actually signed his name to a letter of intent, only to have it throw out and Lynch will now star at Cal. Yeah, that's slimy.).

Factor all that in with our unprecedented success the last 4 seasons, and all the stars it seemed were aligned. Yet, we lost out on the #1 guy around. It makes you wonder, if it didn't happen this year, will it ever happen!? Will it have to be a Bledsoe-type situation, a small town guy that falls in love with Pullman?

Then again, in reading this AM, it's pretty damn clear Stewart was set on being a Duck from day one. I have to admit I'm extremely impressed with this kid, and never once did he lead anyone in ANY direction, Oregon included. In the end, Oregon and Eugene captured his heart and it just looked like it was too much to overcome. I wish that kid luck (except when he plays the Cougs!). I also love the fact that we were in there fighting like hell until the end, and if he wasn't so smitten with Eugene at such an early age, we probably could have overcome that and we'd be happy today.

All that said, and this is NOT to be taken as sour grapes - but there are still some warts on Stewart. While strong as hell and physical, after watching the 10 videos on him more than once and based on what Mead told me, there are things that jump out if you pay close attention.

1) He doesn't make people miss. His highlight reel is basically him hitting the hole, taking on contact from a linebacker or safety and pretty much breaking the tackle. There were several runs where he broke between 3-5 tackles in impressive fashion, but that may not be such a good thing; 2) He doesn't have that extra gear to break away, and a 4.6 40 time won't have you running away from the pack in the next level. Of his entire 10-clip highlight package, there was probably 1 or two plays where he went more than 30 yards. Never once, in any highlight, was he untouched. 3) He's battled some injuries the last two years, not blow-out-your-knee injuries but nagging ankle and other various injuries that tend to haunt power backs, regardless of the level you play against; and finally, 4) His style of run-your-ass-over, well, that's fine and dandy in AAA Washington where your average defensive player is between 170 and 210 and you are stronger and heavier than basically every defensive player except for the d-line at 220. But, can a running back in college, standing 5-10 and weighing 220, can he run over guys at that level? Can you name one running back with 4.6 speed and a power runner that stood 5-10, 220, and was a great player? Jermaine Green comes to mind, but even he was 6-0, 230, and he COULD make guys miss. I can assure you, Will Derting and Scott Davis will NOT be guys he'll be running over. The hope of an Adrian Peterson type breakout season might be a big stretch for next year for them, as that monster was built to run over dudes at 6-3, 245, and even he wore down and required shoulder surgery after the year. Can a guy with an Eddie George style in a smaller package hold up when he's already been beat up in AAA??

The adjustment might be a little bigger than many expect, and in all seriousness, will he live up to the hype?? Think about how excited we would be today if he commited to the Cougs, and think about how much you would EXPECT him to accomplish, right out of the gates. Could he have EVER lived up to that level of expectations??

Hard to say. We'll see next year, but he should be forewarned - you better learn how to make cats miss, or Will Derting will knock you back to Lacey. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, January 21, 2005

Last-moment updates on Snoop

1) The P-I reports two sources say it's Oregon, and it has been since Sunday or Monday of this week. Kind of contradicts some things said later this week, but what ya gonna do??
2) The Times says it's still up in the air and the Cougs put the full-court press on yesterday.
3) One of the biggest "pitchers" of WSU football, recruit Shelton Danzy, put up a quick note to his boy Snoop yesterday. Pretty interesting, didn't say for sure where he will go but kind of lends to the idea that he's not going to Pullman with them:

Venoms Much More Than Just Fellow Recruits
By SheltonDanzy.com Staff Writer
January 20, 2005

SEATTLE, WA -- Well, we are entering the final lap of this recruiting marathon. With roughly two weeks left in the recruiting season all but two of the Venoms have verballed. J. Stewart is on deck and due to annouce tomorrow during the 5:00 news on King5. While J. Taylor is taking his third official visit this weeked to Eastern.

J. Stewart's highly publicized recruitment is coming to an end, but it would be our (Venoms) hope that all fans of both the Cougars and Ducks remain above reproach as to talking about the character of this incredible student-athlete. Jonathan, as we all spoke last night I hope you know that whether or not you decide to come to Pullman with us or travel to Eugene, has no barring on our bond whatsoever.

J. Taylor never doubt your talent as a football player; you are a gifted athlete. And, even though it looks like things aren't going to work out as far as you being a Coug, you are definitely a Coug at heart! If we could change things and bring you to Pullman - you know we would do it in a heartbeat. There is no doubt that you are going to be a great receiver/ return specialist no matter where you decide to attend college.

What simply started as five players meeting at a football camp, has now blossed into a full-fledged friendship in just a short time. Hopefully, we will all be friends for life regarless of the colors of our jerseys...

Mighty Balls!!! Til The End.


Finally, some real optimism. This, from his hometown Olympian newspaper, in today's editions. I think the door is open a crack, but we'll see at 5:50 tonight. Lawson, don't worry, I'll call you with what happens. That's right about the time we get home from work, but I am sure KJR will carry it live on the radio so I'll call you as soon as it's announced.

Here's the article. Leads me to think 1) a lot of the speculation is correct, and he's decided on Oregon earlier this week, and 2) we STILL have a chance in this thing! Also gets me excited to see how hard we came yesterday, Levy leading the charge (Mr. Mead has RAVED about Levy for years, the UW both loves and fears what that guy will do as head coach in the future and was on their initial short-list!):

From the Olympian:

Last week, Timberline football coach Kevin Young wagered a fairly educated guess on where standout running back Jonathan Stewart would attend college.
"If I had to guess where he's going, I'd say Oregon," Young said at the time.

While the Ducks are widely considered to be the favorites to land Stewart, the prize recruit might throw a change-up when he announces his decision at the KING-5 studios during today's 5 p.m. newscast.

Washington State sent a cadre of coaches -- led by offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller -- to the school Thursday, making a last-minute pitch to snag the nation's No. 1 running back recruit.

"Washington State came with the A-game today," Timberline receiver Jaron Taylor, one of Stewart's closest friends, said Thursday. "I was in the room with the Wazzu coaches, and they brought the A-game."

Taylor is one of the select few whom Stewart has told of his decision, but said nothing's final just yet.

"Right now, I think he will think about it real hard and make his final decision (today)," Taylor said.

Levenseller, along with running backs coach Kelly Skipper and offensive line coach Ed Yarno, showed Stewart film and spoke with the Blazers' coaches in an afternoon meeting.

Was the Cougars' end run enough to potentially change Stewart's mind?

"It's very possible it could," Timberline assistant coach Randy Oliveria said. "But I can't let it out of the bag."

At school, the halls were buzzing about which school Stewart, the state's all-time leading rusher with 7,757 career yards, would select.

"We all know that it's between Washington State and Oregon, but it's a mixed opinion about which one it is," Timberline quarterback Nick Maxwell said. "It's 50-50. I'm excited to hear where he picks."

Jamie Newberg, the National Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com, said Stewart's final destination remains a mystery even to those who follow recruiting for a living.

"I honestly don't know. I wish I knew," Newberg said. "Jonathan is a different bird. A lot of kids will give you favorites, and he never did that once. He always kept things close to the vest. When you have that, it's very difficult to predict.

"If you put a gun to my head, at least I'd have a 50-50 chance."

The speculation on Stewart's decision has grown markedly in the last week, leading to some off-base projections.

"It's been crazy how much rumors start," Taylor said. "I don't know how people come up with this stuff. They just assume things that are wrong."

Today, Stewart will get a chance to put everything to rest, and to end the biggest recruiting battle the South Sound has ever seen.

"Everybody will find out (today)," Oliveria said.
Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, January 20, 2005

2 quick notes

1) Talked to my man Todd, and he heard it out of the mouth of Doba himself, last night, that they feel "VERY confident" that we will get Stewart. Weird deal, though, due to NCAA recruiting rules, Doba had to fly back to Pullman last night, then this AM he had to get back on a plane back over here to go see Stewart in his home. NCAA rules are strict about # of coaches on the road recruiting at one time, and he had to return to Pullman before he could do a recruiting trip. Weird!

2) Even bigger news, Todd today for the first time saw BRAND NEW SKETCHES of the stadium renovation! It looks AMAZING and unlike anything we've seen yet floating around, and they are THIS close to accepting the project with the contractor. It won't be like the other sketches that have been floating around. The news could be broken, officially, on Friday, 2/25, for the WSU football banquet over here on the west side. They are working Paul Allen hard for the initial big donation (as in multi-millions) and so far the progress has been excellent. They want to launch the campaign publicly with Paul Allen in the fold, makes sense to me. He also said that they still have the waiting list for season tickets, so even after a 5-6 season the Coug spirit is as strong as ever.

On the stadium, not much he could really describe, just that it's very different than what we've seen from the other architects. It looks great. He says he will share the pics with me, so, stay tuned. Todd has been sworn to not share these pics with anyone, don't email them, anything like that, so he might sneak them "under the radar" so to speak.....Oh yeah, the seating capacity with be 46,900. Read more ...plus comments

GREAT comments Mikey

So good they need to go in on the main page. BTW, you and Rooster need to post on the main page, not just comments! I miss comments all the time, so throw them up there.

I agree, man, it's crazy. I just talked to Mead about Stewart, and he said he's sensational and all that, but for ONE big thing - he talked to a couple of recruiters who have been watching him the last 3 years, and they all agree that health could turn out to be a big issue at the next level. Many of his super highlights are bulldozing and steamrolling kids, but that's at the high school level. You can't always get away with that in college, of course, and some are worried about his true speed (maybe more like 4.6+) and he just doesn't make people miss all that well. I said well, I've watched the highlights of him and I'm blown away, and he says yeah, but of those highlights, how many of those are him actually making people miss, and how many are him making like one or two moves, then running over a defenseless high school DB?? He's got great balance and all that and he doesn't go down very easy, but I went back and watched, and he was dead-on. Mead also pointed to the fact that he was hurt last year, but also, the year before battled some nagging injuries which many place on his style. I said yes, but he's the all-time leading rusher in the state, so he's been out there doing well, and he came back with "but the bottom line is you can't make a living running people over in college unless you are 6-3, 250 like Adrian Peterson. Stewart is 5-10, 220 lbs."

Food for thought.

So, you are right - he ain't the second coming. He's fabulous, but he's just a kid, a human being at that. Yep, Doba and company won't go down without a fight, but they also won't beg like a dog either for him to come. If the surprise is coming, so be it, but if not, we're strong as hell anyway.

Bennett really is building something, it's pretty amazing. They are beyond young, and just give them a few years of playing in the system, they might be the team nobody wants to schedule! Their frosh PG, Low, is really impressive too.

At 10:28 AM, Dr. Ferdie (Lawson) said...
Well, there's nothing quite like the hype of being a senior in high school who is being treated like the second coming.

Honestly, Sean, I don't see the competition between WSU and Oregon.. Sure, the facilities are great and the crowd is super loud at Quack Central, but are the facilities better than USC???? Are they better than Tennesee? Is the environment anywhere near that of a Saturday night in Knoxville in a confernce that is HELL BENT on running the football.

I know that coaches aren't supposed to bad mouth, but the Oregon of today is NOT the Oregon of Joey Heisman, Onterrio Smith, and the RB that plays for the Seahawks (name escapes me at the moment). That was TEDFORD'S Oregon.

Belloti's Oregon is a .500 program with pretty mediocre talent development and a VERY poor defensive development program. I mean, how many years in a row has it been that they've been weak at LB and DB?

In short, I know that I am biased, but I think that Oregon is #3 right now in the NW foodchain...so if Smith wants to go there, fine...and I honestly don't think he will change much for their fortunes...but you gotta think that Doba will come in that house firing today...and you also gotta think that his boys will be calling all day was well.....we'll see...

But seriously, Oregon has that Nike money, but I will bet my bottom dollar that at the end of the 2006 season, we will be talking about two NW schools as upper division programs: WSU and Oregon State. Not only do we have skill at the skill positions (and we're SSSSOOOOO young!), but we have recruited speed EVERYWHERE, and if you watch USC, Okey, Miami, and all the big boys, its all about speed....and we're a better coached football team than ever before....

Ditto Oregon State...Reilly is a good coach, and a GREAT recruiter (that 11-1 team was HIS recruits)...you look at the athletes they had last year and the enthusiam of the Beaver Backer nation, and I think they rise over the Quack....

Anyhow, we'll see...

Meanwhile, have you noticed that Bennett is quietly building a program? .500 record in the Pac with what 8 freshmen in the 10 man rotation...and they play sssssssooo ugly....they could be something in the next couple of years--albeit the POLAR opposite of the pups who are pretty darn fun to watch...

Keep me informed...but remember, ssso much of this is ego for the young kids, and you never know when god will speak...you never, ever know...
Read more ...plus comments

Even MORE speed committed to WSU!?!? Plus last Stewart update

Bad news, and Great news.

First the bad - Champoux is confirming what his friend, a grad assistant WSU coach has told him, and that is Stewart has decided on Oregon and will inform the WSU coaches today of his decision. Boo.

Now the great news - Marlon Wood, he of the 4.4 40-time, has committed to WSU. Speed KILLS baby.

Enjoy:

BREAKING NEWS: Cougs land lightning bolt
By BARRY BOLTON
Copyright © 2005 Cougfan.com
Date: Jan 19, 2005

A LIGHTING BOLT with speed to thrill -- that's an apt description of the newest member of the Washington State family. Cougfan.com has learned that the Cougars have landed their second verbal commitment of the week. We talked to the most recent addition of the 2005 class.

Marlon Wood, a 5'10, 182-pound speed merchant who clocked a 4.3 flat and a 4.35 at a junior college combine, has verbally committed to Washington State.

Defensive coordinator Robb Akey and defensive backs coach Ken Greene stopped by Wood's junior college yesterday.

"As soon as they sat down, I just told them I'm coming," said Wood.

The two didn't say seated for long. Akey in particular immediately went skyward.

"Oh my goodness," Wood laughed. "It was pretty crazy in a little room."

The cornerback chose WSU over Marshall, Washington and North Carolina among others. Wood said the academics at WSU were one of the main factors in his decision to become a Coug.

Wood becomes the 17th known member of the 2005 class. The Cougs are expected to take 21-23 players, with an additional 2-3 players going the grayshirt route.

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Wood comes to Washington State by way of Pasadena City College -- the same junior college that produced Cougar RBs Jerome Harrison and Jonathan Smith.

Marlon, whose father is Richard "Batman" Wood, former All-American linebacker and NFL standout, was named national junior college player of the week this past season. He was twice named the California JC player of the week. He also took home Most Valuable Player honors from PCC. The accomplishments take on new meaning considering Wood played only seven games in the secondary this year.

Wood opened the '04 capaign at wide receiver for the Lancers due to his speed and a good set of hands but was eventually moved to his more natural position of corner when the secondary showed some holes.

In the seven games he played on defense, Wood had 30 tackles, three INTs and 11 pass break-ups.

Wood also simply shined on special teams. The Cougs could be looking to him and recent verbal Lorenzo Bursey to help pack some serious punch on the WSU special teams units. On kickoff and punt returns, Wood averaged 40 and 12 yards, respectively, along the way breaking Jackie Robinson's school record with a 107-yard return on a missed field goal attempt.

Wood originally signed with Alabama State out of Hillsborough High on a track scholarship but eventually decided he wanted to pursue his first love -- football. In high school -- after only picking up the long jump event four weeks earlier -- Wood ripped off a 22'7" leap to take the Florida Relays. He later finished 7th in states.

Marlon has three years to play three for the Cougs. He does not plan on running track at Pasadena this season, where he starred in the sprints, but will work out with the team while he finishes up his AA degree. He would likely head to Pullman sometime in June.

Wood said he can't wait to get to WSU.

"Oh, I'm thrilled right now. Very happy."

Read more ...plus comments

Stewart and Mom shoot down Duck rumors - for now

Well, both Stewart and his Mom have shot down the story that he has committed to the Ducks. Late last night, Stewart gave an interview at Rivals.com that he said no, he hasn't committed to Oregon as one site has said, and that he still hasn't decided. His quote was "it could be Oregon, or it could even be Washington State. I don't know." His mother also told the Times last night that he hasn't made up his mind, and it's still between Oregon and WSU and he will decide by Friday evening. Yet other "sources" say he has decided, and the momentum of these internet rumors have him headed to Oregon.

Further, interesting story breaking this AM that Doba and one other coach will do an in-home visit today with Stewart. Is this the last gasp to try and get him? Is this Stewart's chance to do the classy thing, as he has been all along, and look Doba and coach in the eye to tell them that it was an agonizing decision but he's headed to Eugene? OR, will it be a belated Xmas gift with a big smile and hugs all around, pledging his allegiance to the Cougs!?!? Once again, you can read into it either way!

Good story in the Spokesman this AM about recruiting and Stewart. Doesn't really speculate either way. Tom Lemming, ESPN recruiting expert, says this is a good WSU class no matter what, but Stewart would be huge for them. The disturbing part of the article?? Michael Willis, superstar-safety-in-waiting, is sitting in Pullman waiting to be admitted but it hasn't happened yet! That would be bad news if something doesn't come out in the wash and he doesn't get in. Many have him pegged to be competing for a starting job next year. JC DB Dewayne Patterson also seems to have some AA issues that may not deliver him to Pullman either. Check it:

Cougars wait for Stewart
Highly-touted runner from Lacey expected to pick a school Friday
Glenn Kasses
Staff writer
January 20, 2005

PULLMAN – Less than two weeks away from the Feb. 2 signing day, Washington State University has almost all of its available football scholarships filled with verbal commitments from around the country.

"It's going to be a typical Washington State class where it's a little under the radar, but it comes out with very developed players," said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for ESPN.com and USA Prep. "Probably, I think Washington State does the best job of developing players in the country."

That said, Lemming – not to mention those around the Cougars program – can't tag this year's recruiting haul with anything but an incomplete grade thus far.

That's because running back Jonathan Stewart of Lacey, Wash., the top rusher in the country according to Lemming and a number of other recruiting analysts, has not yet publicly announced where he will attend college.

Stewart intends to announce his decision between WSU and Oregon on television in the Seattle area on Friday, but sources close to the situation have indicated that the Timberline High School star has already made up his mind. Two WSU coaches are scheduled for an in-home visit with Stewart's family today.

"He reminds me of Bo Jackson," said Lemming, who also has Stewart listed as the No. 3 recruit in the nation at any position. "It could be Washington State's biggest catch ever. I've been doing this (for) 27 years, and they've never gotten a name as big as Jonathan is."

Including the one that could be taken by Stewart, the Cougars have six scholarships remaining to dole out. Some of the bigger names come on offense, like Fresno, Calif., quarterback Arkelon Hall, but the majority of the players who could make an immediate impact are probably on the defensive side.

That comes as no surprise, as head coach Bill Doba had indicated months ago that shoring up the secondary and linebacking corps would be a priority.

One thing to watch for with the 2005 recruiting class will be academic standing, a factor that kept eight of last year's 28 signees off the Cougars roster.

WSU has commitments from five players in the secondary, at which recruits could be most likely to step in and play right away. But two safeties remain question marks. DeWayne Patterson, a junior college player from Southern California, is behind on his A.A. degree. Michael Willis, one of 2004's academic casualties, is waiting in Pullman for final confirmation of his SAT scores to enroll as a grayshirt freshman immediately.

The Cougars had received a commitment from Moses Lake lineman Wilson Holman, but the high school senior has had some legal issues that have made the Cougars decide to halt his recruitment and turn to other options.

That, and the loss of two players from the current roster, could also affect the way the remaining scholarships are doled out. Offensive linemen Sean O'Connor, a sophomore in the 2004 season, and Russell Foster, a freshman in 2004, have both been dismissed from WSU because of academic issues.

As a result, it's likely that at least one if not two of the remaining scholarships will be spent on players at that position.

Not all of this year's Cougars verbal commitments are considered major risks, however. Fevaea'i Ahmu, a defensive tackle from San Diego, is thought of as one of the better prospects at his position in the nation and could challenge for playing time quickly.

Back on the offensive side of the ball, Hall, the quarterback from Fresno, could end up being WSU's most prized recruit should Stewart choose Oregon.

Lemming has Hall rated as the eighth-best quarterback in the nation, and the 6-foot-2 player has impressed many at all-star camps in the last year.

"He's got a good arm and good leadership skills," Lemming said. "The only thing he's lacking, for the prototypical quarterback, is height. But everything else – he's a winner.

"I think it's going to be a very good class for them."




I'm still sticking to what I believe, in a negative fashion of course, and that is he'll be a Duck.

Ok, ok, you know what??? ENOUGH of this already! I'm tired of all the speculation regarding ONE running back. As Lawson has said earlier, it's not all about one star player in football. This isn't basketball where the superstar can shoot it 30 times a game and take over the game because of the nature of the sport. This is football where you are SO dependent on those around you. You could be the greatest passer ever, yet if you don't have time to throw the ball, you are dead meat. You need WR's that can get open AND catch the ball for you. You need a running back that can pick up the blitz and make a key block for you. It's not like you can just take the ball, wave your arms to spread everyone out, and either jack the 3 or drive to the hoop for a layin, and the foul! Stewart is a fabulous football player and from all indications, a tremendous kid, and at the end of the day he's going to decide what is in the best interest of Jonathan Stewart. If he wants to be on a billboard in Times Square and watch Spongebob Squarepants on the plasma in the locker room, then enjoy Oregon.

Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Stewart announcing Friday on King 5, live

Per Rooster:

"King 5 News claimed tonight that Stewart will be making his decision this Friday exclusively on King 5.

Ha Ha UW. At least you have Bonnell, WSU's sloppy seconds."

That's right, the suspense will end and the announcement will be Friday. OF COURSE I hope he's coming to Pullman, but sadly, I think he'll throw on a green-n-gold O hat and say that the lord pointed his finger to Eugene. Also, a site that is not credible in any way, run by someone named Ruth Robbins, who happened to get fired by Dawgman.com over a year ago for fraudulent stories, is claiming that her "sources" say he is going to Oregon, which will follow with UW landing JR Hasty and EJ Savannah, since Stewart and Hasty basically hate each other. Hey, it's on the internet, it MUST be true....uh-huh.

There will be a lot speculated on the next couple of days, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. In all seriousness, I'm just glad the whole thing will be over in a couple of days. It will be good for him to get it off his chest and move on with life, and will be good for us to move on too. No matter what, as Lawson says, we have recruited a heck of a lot of good athletes, lots of speed, so we'll be fine, sans mr. #1 RB. Plus, Jerome Harrison is a 1500-yd back waiting to happen, and the story about Kevin McCall today has to get people fired up for Lightning and Thunder!

ALL that said? I have to admit, it's going to SUCK donkeys to see Stewart grow into an all-american in Autzen!

One other news item - DL Wilson Holman, an earlier WSU commit, has changed his tune and now has committed to Oregon State. This is the huge middle of the line project out of Moses Lake. Take a look:

Holman, who verbally committed to WSU back in October, took a visit this weekend to Corvallis. Washington State and Holman mutually decided to end their association, doing so in an amicable manner. Holman declined to talk on the record about why he and Washington State parted ways. Holman is currently working to meet NCAA academic admission standards.

There was also rumor of him having some SERIOUS baggage, including a brush with the local authorities, and could be why the mutual decision to split. Some feel he'll never make it to a 4-year school, but we'll see if he turns out to be another Leon Bender or not. Read more ...plus comments

Bursey commits to Cougs; Stewart announces final two??

Good news and good news from yesterday:

First, Bursey, the speedy JC kid written about yesterday, committed to the Cougs yesterday as well. See the story below.

But the potentially BIGGER news?? Jonathan Stewart has named his final two schools! This hasn't appeared yet on Cougfan, but it is now news on Cougzone.com, the Rivals.com WSU site. And get this - It's between Oregon and....WSU! Yep, we're in the final two. Tennessee has officially been dropped, and it's now down to the two schools that have put two full YEARS in on recruiting this kid. No more worry about Willingham, or USC's glitz-n-glitter, or Tennessee and their 108,000 seat stadium (more than double the population in Pullman??). No idea which way he's leaning, but.....who knows.

One other angle that hasn't been brought up? Stewart formed a strong friendship with a group of 5 kids that are in the same class as Stewart. They call themselves "the Venoms" (?) and they are all extremely tight. The players in this group?? Shelton Danzy, for one, the new mouthpiece of WSU football (check out his site: www.sheltondanzy.com. The kid LOVES WSU and sells it every chance he gets!). Another guy is Arkelon Hall, the top-10 QB from Fresno, ALSO a Coug commit. Hall was quoted in October at Cougzone.com, after visiting the Cougs with Stewart and the rest of the Venoms: “Jonathan had a great trip, I would be really surprised if he goes anywhere else to be honest,” Hall said. “We hit it off really well at the Cougar football camp this summer and have talked a lot since then. I get the feeling he wants to stay relatively close to home and he loves the family atmosphere at Washington State. He told me he’s going to take some more of his trips but I really think he ends up here at Washington State.” Another check in the WSU column. Two more guys for the group, one guy named Brandon Gibson - ANOTHER WSU commit - and finally, Jaron Taylor, a kid that is not necessarily being looked at by the Pac-10. So, of the "Venoms", 3 of the 5 have already verballed and they are a really tight group. Check out the picture:



From top-left - Taylor, Gibson, Hall, Danzy, and kneeling, Stewart!

I know, I know, I've heard he's going to Oregon, but does anyone REALLY know? How could anyone really know when he hasn't even clearly announced or decided?? We are in the final two, so logically it's 50-50 we get him.

Bursey article:

MOVE OVER JED Collins. It looks like you're going to have company as the most multi-dimensional player on the WSU football team. Cougfan.com has learned that a standout athlete from California has verbally committed to Washington State, becoming the 17th known member of WSU's 2005 recruiting class. CF.C talked this evening to the newest member of the Cougar family.

Lorenzo Bursey decided he didn't want to wait another minute, let alone another week before making his decision.

"Yes sir, I'm a Cougar," Bursey told CF.C on Tuesday evening, less than 24 hours after originally thinking he would make a decision in a week or so.

Bursey, who tripped to Pullman over the weekend, called running backs coach Kelly Skipper on Monday night and gave him his verbal commitment. Coach Skipper's reaction was immediate.

"Oh man, he was excited," laughed Bursey, a one-time signee with Oregon State before academic hurdles sidetracked him. "I just told him I was ready to be a Cougar."

Last season, Cougar true freshman Jed Collins played fullback, linebacker and was a top performer on special teams. His diverse roles earned him the nickname "Slash" -- in deference to former multi-purpose Pittsburgh Steeler Kordell Stewart -- from defensive coordinator Robb Akey. Bursey could contribute similarly at Washington State. He looks to be a natural slotback, but has a stellar pedigree as a running back and is also a veteran kick returner. Heck, he was also a lock-down cornerback in high school, so you just never know where he could turn up.

In 2004, in his one season at West Los Angeles College, Bursey rushed for more than 1,100 yards, caught another 300 yards worth of balls out of the slotback position and, in spot duty on kickoff and punt returns, took two returns to paydirt. His work earned him first-team All-Western States Conference.

Bursey chose Washington State over Idaho, where his younger brother may be headed, and had been receiving late interest from Washington and others. The 5-9, 170-pound athlete originally signed with Dennis Erickson and Oregon State in 2003 over offers from Iowa State and San Diego State and others, before heading the JC route.

BURSEY WAS TIMED at 4.4 coming out of Long Beach Poly but rather than flat-out foot speed, his true value lies elsewhere.

"I think I'm more quick than fast," Bursey said. "I have more power than people think I have and I think I have pretty good vision."

An explosive threat every time he touches the ball, Bursey possesses an amazing ability to make cuts and changes of direction at top speed, leaving would-be defenders clutching at thin air. He scored 61 touchdowns during his prep career.

After transferring to Long Beach Poly for his senior year, Bursey rushed for 880 yards and 17 touchdowns, sharing time in the Jackrabbits system with two other backs. His junior campaign, he set a school record at Beverly Hills High with 1,591 rushing yards, carrying the ball into the end zone 20 times. That performance earned Bursey league co-MVP honors.

BURSEY BECOMES WSU'S second verbal commitment from the junior college ranks, joining safety DeWayne Patterson. Both are rated three-star prospects.

Bursey will receive his AA degree next month and will have three years of eligibility at Washington State. He plans to travel to Pullman in May. Bursey said he can't wait.

"Oh man, I'm excited," said Bursey. "And blessed."

Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Derting, Jordan doubtful for spring; Swogger out?

Looks like some lingering injuries will knock out Derting and Jordan for spring ball. Better to err on the side of caution on these guys, no question, get them ready for the summer and fall. Just a chance for their understudies to step in this spring and make a name for themselves! Also looks as though Swoggs is VERY doubtful for this spring, which will make for an interesting fall camp at the QB spot.

Check it out from the Spokesman:

PULLMAN – Washington State is still uncertain about the status of three key players for spring football practice in April.

Quarterback Josh Swogger, middle linebacker Will Derting and wide receiver Chris Jordan are all recovering from injuries suffered during the 2004 season and could be held out of spring drills to help them recuperate before the 2005 season kicks off.

WSU trainer Bill Drake said Swogger's chances of playing in the spring are still questionable as he works his way back from Oct. 22 foot surgery, while Derting and Jordan are both doubtful to play after having surgery in December.

Derting had the scaphoid and lunate bones in his left wrist fused on Dec. 14 after playing the entire season with a dislocation suffered in August. Three days later, Jordan had arthroscopic knee surgery to clean up some wear and tear. It was performed on the same left knee on which Jordan needed reconstructive surgery for an ACL tear suffered in the 2003 Apple Cup.

"The thinking on both Will and Chris is that we don't want to add extra mileage to those injuries in spring ball," Drake said. "It would be good to get a good base of rehab for the spring and then your training for the summer so you come into August in the best, 100 percent health you can."

While Derting and Jordan were able to play with their injuries in 2004, Swogger had his season but short after starting six games. During the course of the season, the sophomore sustained a partial PCL tear in his right knee, a rotator cuff strain in his left shoulder and a sore ankle, one that may have eventually helped contribute to the broken navicular bone in his left foot that required surgery.

Swogger was off crutches in December, ahead of schedule, but has still not thrown a football and has done limited work in the weight room this month.

The good news for Swogger, who could be competing in a second consecutive spring for the starting job with Alex Brink, is that the time off has allowed all the other injuries to heal.

"I'm still limited right now with what I can do, but I'm pretty much full-go with everything but the left foot," Swogger said. "They're just being really, really cautious with it, not letting me do squats or anything like that."

Drake said WSU and Swogger's doctors are working on a "logical progression bringing him up to the point where he'll be ready to play again."

Swogger spent 11 weeks on crutches and is optimistic about his chances for a return before fall training camp, but said he understands that in the end it may not be his call. He also discussed the possibility of using a sawed-off shin guard to help protect his foot once he makes a return to the playing field.

"I think I'll be ready to go for spring ball unless something was to happen," he said. "I'm not going to rush it. … If they want me to sit out spring ball, then that's what I'll do."

Read more ...plus comments

Monday, January 17, 2005

Stewart - in it or not??? Plus a new LB verbal

Ok, new quick info.

1) Stewart has officially dropped UW from his final list. This comes as a huge surprise among UW faithful, as of last week he had UW as a strong #2.

2) Stewart still lists WSU in his final 3. Oregon, WSU and Tennessee, in that order, are the finalists.

3) Strong rumor is still that Stewart is headed to Eugene. However, there were many reports that he was thinking hard about Tennessee over the weekend. Apparently not only were the other players at the Army All-American bowl who had verballed to Stewart gave him the full-court press to come to Knoxville, but it was even the Moms and Dads that were on Stewart's Mom! If you haven't looked, Tennessee currently has the #1 rated recruiting class, at least close to #1 in many services.

4) Finally, saw the "old dawg" this weekend down in Palm Springs, who is about as strong a UW source as you can find. He told me straight-out that he hears WSU still has a tremendous chance to land Stewart and that up to the last minute, it's between WSU and Oregon and he thinks it's WSU with the slight lean. He said that again, Levy has done a great job on him and they aren't letting up one bit.

So, maybe the reports of our demise in the sweepstakes have been exagerated a bit? Personally I think he goes to Oregon, and I'll be pretty surprised if he lands in Pullman, but we'll find out in just a few weeks.

Meanwhile we did beat out the Ducks on another player, landing a big-framed linebacker. Sounds like a future MLB or possible D-end? A tackling machine that is big and has a 3.2 GPA with qualified SAT score. I like it!

Check it out:

Lamar Brumfield, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker out of Carson, Calif., gave his oral commitment to the Cougs this weekend during his official visit.

Brumfield told Cougfan.com his trip to Pullman was fantastic. He told head coach Bill Doba Sunday morning that he wanted to be a Coug.

"I told the head coach," said Brumfield. "So then all the coaches knew right after that because we were all at breakfast. They were all excited."

With Brumfield in the fold, the Cougars have approximately five slots left to fill in their 2005 class. Letters of intent will be signed in three weeks.

Brumfield's host on the official trip was his former Carson teammate and Cougar running back Kevin McCall.

"He's real cool. Everybody there was like a family that grew up together," Brumfield said.

Brumfield plans to major in broadcasting and said the academics at Washington State -- home to the renowned Edward R. Murrow School of Communications -- were a key factor in his decision.

"They have one of the best (communications) schools in the nation. The coaching staff was real close -- so that sold me too."

BRUMFIELD CHOSE WASHINGTON STATE over his other finalist, Oregon. He also received interest from USC and Washington and others. Brumfield has cancelled his scheduled visit to Eugene that was to have taken place this upcoming weekend.

Brumfield racked up 103 tackles for Carson this past season. He also scored a touchdown on defense, had two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two sacks in 2004.

Over the last two years, he has been a tackling machine, recording nearly 200 stops.

Brumfield has a good burst off the snap, showing a real ability this season to play sideline to sideline and provide stout coverage against the pass.

Academically, Brumfield carries a GPA of 3.2 and has achieved a qualifying score on the SAT.


Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

3rd in the race for Stewart

Well, sadly I report that it looks like WSU will lose out on Jonathan Stewart. Inside word told me this afternoon that he has fallen hard for Eugene after his trip last weekend, and is loving the Oregon green right now, his Mom included. The whispers are he is THIS close to verbally committing and was wanting to do it this Saturday during the San Antonio all-star game on national TV, but is backing off that now for one main reason - he's giving Tyrone Willingham one more shot at him, next week. He will talk to him after he returns to San Antonio, might even make his official visit to UW next weekend, but then he's pulling the trigger. Sadly, we lost out on one HELL of a player and he will be something else to watch. Oregon leads in a landslide, UW is a pretty distant second, and to say that WSU is a distant third and fading fast down the stretch would be an understatement.

Not making any of this up, I sure wish I was, but he's not coming to WSU, that much is for sure.

ON the bright side (and there's always a bright side), recruiting has been going well. As soon as Stewart verbals to the Ducks (or UW, maybe?) watch the Cougs move fast on a JC RB named Dantargan Johnson, a big-time, Jermaine Green-type bruiser with good speed and could step in right away. The Cougs have had him in the wings just in case, and heck, they may even get word before the official announcement by Stewart, so if you see us land a running back in the next week-and-a-half, well, that's all you need to know.

More specifics soon, but a bit of a sad evening for Coug fans everywhere that held out hope that the #1 running back in America would be in Crimson and grey. Would have been fun to watch. Now it'll just hurt that much more as he runs for 2,000 yards in Autzen! Read more ...plus comments

Friday, January 07, 2005

Lots of recruiting news

There is a lot of recruiting stuff coming out, almost too much right now. I will try to update the site every few days from now through signing day.

First, the new commits:

The Cougs have landed another verbal commitment, and this time it's for sure -- Texas running back DeMaundray Woolridge told CF.C tonight that he gave his "re-commitment" to Washington State and coach Leon Burtnett earlier this week.

"I'm recommitted to Washington State University and that's where I'm going," DeMaundray Woolridge told CF.C earlier tonight.

Woolridge, who hails from Keller, Texas, and runs a 4.3 forty called coach Leon Burtnett on Monday and gave him his verbal commitment to play football at Washington State. "Oh, he was glad," laughed Woolridge. "He said he was just thrilled."

Woolridge had previously committed to the Cougs the first weekend in December, but at the urging of his high school coach, decided it best to keep his options open.

"I talked to him and my whole deal is I think Washington State might be the place for him...but I just want him to (keep his options open) and that way he knows for sure what is the right place for him," Keller coach Kevin Atkinson told CF.C back on December 7.

Woolridge said looking at options such as Iowa, North Carolina and Missouri just helped solidify in his mind that the Cougs were the best choice for him. He said he will not be taking his planned trip to Iowa nor any more official visits.

"Now I know it's really the place I want to be," said the newest member of the WSU family.

THE COUGARS have long planned to take three top high school running backs this class -- with the hope of filling the final spot with the nations' No. 1 rated running back prospect, Jonathan Stewart of Olympia, Washington.

They now have two of the three with Woolridge and fellow WSU verbal Dwight Tardy.

The freshman running backs in this Washington State class will step into a prime opportunity in 2005. With Allen Thompson hanging up his cleats, senior Jerome Harrison is the lone returnee with any appreciable experience. Redshirt sophomore Kevin McCall had 40 yards on 8 carries against Idaho in his only action in the Cougar backfield in '04.

"I see myself as a back that can play early because of my size and speed," said Woolridge. "I've been told I have a rare talent, a rare combination of size and speed. I'm 5-9 and 215 and I run a 4.3 flat forty. So they're pretty excited about that and think I can make some things happen real early."

ON AN OFFENSE that featured the pass and had a number of offensive weapons (Keller's QB threw for nearly 3000 yards), Woolridge rushed for more than 900 yards on the season.

Coach Atkinson told CF.C that Woolridge is a player who runs the inside and outside zone as well as he's ever coached.

"He's got some junk in his trunk," noted coach Atkinson.

Woolridge, who also stars in track and field for Keller, is very excited about the prospects of making his mark in the Pac-10, going up against the caliber or competition in the conference of champions.

"Oh yes I am," he said. "I like the competition, because you just don't want to do it against just anybody. I'd love to do it against USC and Cal and UCLA."

Next, the Cougs are leaders for a big, 6-3 linebacker Lamar Brumfield out of Cali. He's considered a sleeper at this point but could be that "slugger" MLB. Check it:

IT LOOKS LIKE its down to two Pac-10 schools for a hard hitting linebacker out of California. At 6-foot-3, Lamar Brumfield has some size to him and could end up being that big middle 'backer from the HS ranks that schools love to land. Then again, he also has plenty of the attributes you look for in an outside linebacker.

Lamar Brumfield, a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker out of Carson, Calif., has a Top 2 -- Washington State and Oregon. Does he have a current favorite out of the two Pac-10 schools?

"Washington State," said Brumfield.

Both the Cougs and the Ducks have offered. Brumfield has official visits scheduled to both Oregon and WSU.

"I'll be going to Oregon on the 21st, and I'm going to Washington State on the 15th." Brumfield said.

On those visits, the Carson High standout will be looking for several things, including a family atmosphere and information top to bottom on the school's academics. He also wants to gauge if a younger player, through his performance, would earn playing time over an upperclassman.

"I want to see how close the team is. Academically, how they're doing and what they have in place. And then just to see about (early playing time)...And I want to see what the coaches are like."

Washington State was by for an in-home on Wednesday of this week to visit with Brumfield and his family. Coach Kelly Skipper has clearly made an impression.

"Coach Skipper is really cool, he's come down before. He talked with me and my mom and he's just always told me straight - you'll play if you're good enough. And that's what I need to hear."

"I don't want anyone to sugarcoat it and say 'Oh yeah, you're our guy'. He just was real cool -- real honest. He told me everything that I need to do."

IN CARSON'S 4-3 defense, Brumfield told CF.C he racked up 103 tackles for the Colts his senior season.

"I like to hit," he said with a laugh.

The 'backer also had two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a TD, to go along with his two sacks in 2004. Over the last two years, Brumfield has recorded nearly 200 stops for Carson.

Besides being a sure-tackler, Brumfield has some quicks off the snap and has displayed a real ability to play sideline to sideline.

"I'm an exciting guy, I make big plays at big times in the game," said Brumfield.

Academically, Brumfield is in fine shape. He carries a GPA of 3.2 and has achieved a qualifying score on the SAT.


Finally, DeWayne Patterson (no, not THAT Dewayne Patterson!):

WHAT LOOKED TO be a potential position of weakness for the 2005 Cougs is now shaping up as a team strength -- Cougfan.com has learned Washington State has secured another key verbal commitment on the defensive side of the ball. The oral pledge brings to 12 (15 total including three holdovers) the number of known verbals secured by the Cougs in their 2005 class. CF.C talked to the latest member of the WSU family moments ago. And get this, he's name is already in the Cougar record books.

"I have committed to Washington State," DeWayne Patterson told Cougfan.com Tuesday afternoon. Patterson is the first junior college verbal for the Cougs this recruiting season.

While he may be unknown to most Cougars, he's name definitely is not. One of the greatest defensive ends in Cougar history -- a Palouse Posse mainstay in the early 90s -- had the identical handle.

This Patterson bolsters what had previously looked to be one of the few thin spots -- safety -- on next year's team.

Patterson is the third safety in this class, joining 2004 holdover Michael Willis enrolling in January and prepster Xavier Hicks. They will become part of a returning corps that includes Husain Abdullah, Omowale Dada, Eric Frampton, and Christian Bass. From this group the Cougars must find two new starting safeties with the graduation of Hamza Abdullah and Jeremy Bohannon.

Patterson, a 6-2, 195-pounder out of Chaffey College in Oakland, delivered the good news to WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey.

"I told coach Akey," said the soft-spoken Patterson. "He seemed a little excited."

Patterson chose Washington State over Arizona, BYU, UTEP and New Mexico, among others.

"It was just my comfort level. I wanted to find someplace where I will feel comfortable and where I'd be able to play."

Patterson was reluctant to pat himself on the back but did offer some insight on his strengths in the secondary.

"I feel I'm a good run support safety and I have good cover skills. And I'm a pretty good hitter."

"Pretty good" might be an understatement according to his junior college coach.

Chaffey coach Carl Beach told CF.C. that Patterson is a quiet player who leads by example, going on to say they're really going to miss Patterson's presence this coming year at Chaffey. It's not hard to figure out why.

"I think his biggest strength is his intensity," said Beach. "He plays with real intensity. He's fearless when it comes to hitting people and going out to make a play. He's going to be sorely missed by us."

Patterson projects at safety for Washington State. He has three years to play two at WSU, having grayshirted at Chaffey.

It's no secret Washington State likes to attack on defense and to dictate the flow of the game. That looks to be right up Patterson's alley.

"I know with how Washington State plays -- we've had some other kids go there -- he plays the way they like to play there. It will be a good fit for him," said coach Beach.



NOTHING new on Jonathan Stewart, other than the fact that he dropped USC. We are in his "final 4", with his visit to the Ducks coming this weekend. He still has a slot left for a visit to UW, but he strangely has not made the trip official - at least not yet. However he has unofficially visited and met with TW. There is also a rumor that Stewart's paster met for over an hour with Willingham this week in a closed-door meeting, making some speculate he's headed for Muttlake and the paster was the last one to give him the thumbs-up. God will tell the young man where to go when the time comes, so all we can do is hope like heck that Doba and company have done enough to be THE place for the #1 running back in America! Boy, a Maurice Clarett or Adrian Peterson-type would sure be a nice presence next year in the WSU backfield. Think of the all deep balls Swogger could air out to Hill, Bumpus and Jordan when teams have to put 8 in the box to slow down Stewart. Earlier I was thinking 7-4 or 8-3, but I'm starting to feel more like Lawson on this and think we have a legit shot at 9-2 next year, ESPECIALLY if SNOOP lands in Pullman and gets on the field regularly next year.

Sonics are starting to peter out a little bit, but it's natural. Never in their history have they done extremely well on these eastern seaboard trips. Even though Orlando and Washington aren't very good, it's easy to see them let down especially after the intensity of beating Shaq and Miami. Plus, don't overlook that PURE ENERGY Reggie Evans was out the last two games with a stomach ailment! He's a role player, of course, but he sure does bring a lot of intensity. That kind of bounce is needed on the road during a LONG-ASS NBA season! Read more ...plus comments

Monday, January 03, 2005

How exactly did we win last year??



This just in - Vince Young is AMAZING. I don't know if you watched much of that Rose Bowl, but this guy is scary. Did you know he nearly ran for 1,000 yards starting only 6 games last year? I guess our Coug D was really special in 2003, because when you watch that game from last year, we had him confused and scared. I think the biggest difference between last year's bowl game and this year's Rose Bowl is that Vince Young can actually throw the ball down the field too! Not great, mind you, but just enough to keep the D honest. All that said, this guy is a 6-5, 250lb Michael Vick, pure and simple. The 16-for-28 with a TD and 180 yards passing is good enough with a power-running team like Texas, but man, 200 yards rushing and 4 TD's on the ground???? Unbelievable. Even when Michigan knew it was coming, they had no answer. He is strange to watch, kind of, based on his size, because he just doesn't look like he's all that fast in the open field. Then you see him blowing right by defenders that go from having the angle on him to suddenly being 3-4 yards behind him, and it's a sight to be seen. What a player!

Not a whole lot new on our Cougs. The Cali-Florida all-star game was over the weekend, and 4-star DT WSU recruit Fevaea'i Ahma was REALLY good. 6-1, 300 lb whirling dervish is the way one described him watching the game. One scout's take:

"Looks to be 6'1 and about 300....is very low to the ground and very quick. Is in on most run plays and is a real threat for QB sacks. At times he can destroy blocking schemes with quickness and strength. Great looking attitude. Very coachable and loves the game."

How can you not like that?? 100 tackles and 12 sacks from the D-tackle position his senior year, with at least one sack in 7 out of 10 games. At the Nike camp at UCLA last summer, the quote was "Honestly, no one looked better than AhMu who was as hard to block as his name is to pronounce."

Cougs are also in on another Texas linebacker, KJ Ellis. Looks to be a solid kid (here's the article, although it might have been free last week?):

THE LINEBACKER SPOT is a position of emphasis for the Cougs this recruiting season, one of the top needs numbers-wise for the 2005 class. One who might very well fit the bill is K.J. Ellis, a Texas 'backer who sheds would-be blockers, defends the run extremely well and has a nose for the football on special teams.

K.J. Ellis has not yet been offered by the Cougs. However, he has oft-mentioned his interest in the Washington State program. That interest looks to be mutual.

Washington State will head down to Texas and visit with Ellis next week after his school returns from the Christmas break. New Mexico, Colorado and SMU have offered the 6-2, 200-pound linebacker this recruiting season.

Depending on what takes place when WSU comes for the in-home, Ellis could have a new leader by the time the visit wraps. Or if the Cougar visit should come with an offer.

"The situation might change drastically should that be the case," laughed Ellis. "We'll have to wait and see."

Colorado recently postponed Ellis' scheduled official trip after receiving a verbal commitment from a wide receiver, telling Ellis they needed to now focus on offensive linemen as their class is filling up. However, Colorado still remains an option -- that WR has since de-committed from Colorado and verballed to Kansas.

"I'm just waiting on the situation with Colorado to see what they might do," said Ellis, who on his official trip to New Mexico, measured in at 6-2, 200-pounds. Actually, 198-pounds to be precise.

"I fluctuate right around the area of 200," he laughed.

The visit to New Mexico itself went well with the Arlington, Texas, native just wanting to wait and see what might be in store from Washington State and Colorado.

"It was nice. The football team had great chemistry. You could tell everybody was real close...I had fun overall. I just really want to make sure what all the other situations are before I make my decision."

LINEBACKERS ARE the key to any good special teams unit, an area WSU will be looking to improve upon in '05.

Scott Davis, Pat Bennett and Steve Dildine, to name but a few, are linebackers who starred on special teams on their way to earning starting positions. Ellis could be a player who follows in that role.

Ellis, a true student of the game, had an opportunity on a previous in-home with Washington State to meet with coaches Bill Doba and Leon Burtnett and break down some of his game film.

"I've already met with coach Doba. My recruiting coach is coach Burtnett, the linebackers coach -- real nice guy. I got a chance (last time) to actually sit down and watch film with them. That was great, I love watching film...They're real smart guys and just "football guys" and that's what I like. I'm just somebody who loves football, period. I love to play the game and I love to watch it so we had a great time talking."

AS A JUNIOR, Ellis racked up 75 tackles on his way to earning first team All-District honors. In his senior season, also a first team-All District campaign, he eclipsed that mark by Week 9, finishing with 101 sticks during the '04 year.

Ellis showed versatility during his senior season, playing three defensive positions for Lamar -- strong side linebacker, strong safety and weak side rover.

As is the case with many good athletes, Ellis grew up playing quarterback before shifting to defense -- it's served him well when reading an offense. More than that, Ellis just has great instincts out on the gridiron. He has an innate ability to shed the block and knife through to the ballcarrier. And it might not necessarily show up on a forty time, but Ellis plays fast on the football field -- he has "football speed", with a very good burst and closing speed.

Ellis is aggressive out on the gridiron, one of those guys that really packs a punch -- one that belies his current 200-pounds. And he still has some room to fill out on his 6-foot-2 frame.

Notes:

K.J. stands for KaJean Jackson.


K.J.'s dad, Kelly Jackson, was a running back at the Air Force Academy.


Ellis was a two-time All District first team selection on defense.


A team captain for Lamar, Ellis carries a 3.0 core GPA and scored an 1170 on the SAT.

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