Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack Thompson (J.T.) Levenseller One Play Away

The QB quandary continues. First Rogers and Lopina out, Ocho Rojo in. Now Ocho Rojo out until next summer, Lopina back in. But now, Jack Thompson Levenseller has emerged and is looking like the backup to Lopina. At the rate these QB's have been going down, J.T., keep your helmet on and stay loose.

So what is there to know about Levenseller? Obviously he's the son of Mike, the former Cougar great WR and longtime assistant. Oh, and the J.T. stands for Jack Thompson, a great friend of Mike Levenseller. Great. But what else? Well, he was a hell of a high school QB in Pullman. Per his bio at Scout.com:
Grayshirted in 2007. Enrolled at WSU in January 2008. Was 23-2 as a two-year starting quarterback at 2A powerhouse Pullman High. First-team all-league quarterback and second-team all-league defensive back in 2006. His senior season he completed 74 of 150 passes for 1,283 yards with 14 tds and 4 ints. He also carried the ball 117 times for 712 yards with 13 rushing touchdowns.

As a junior in 2005 he passed for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs as he led Pullman to a perfect 14-0 season and the 2005 Class 2A state championship; earned first-team all-league and second-team 2A All-State plaudits at quarterback. Son of Washington State offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller. Named after WSU quarterbacking legend Jack Thompson. Also a standout basketball player.
Alrighty then. Looks good so far. State champ, that's great. But what else? Well, he's not a huge guy, at 6-1, 195, but that's big enough. If/when we ever actually do implement the Sturdy offense as seen in Cheney last year, you know that size isn't that big of a deal. What is impressive are his quicks, as he has reportedly run between a 4.6 and a 4.7 40-yard dash. Not lightning in a bottle, but that's pretty fast for a QB. The 712 rushing yards in 2006 are impressive, and if you aren't fast you don't usually see that from the QB spot. And WITH THIS OFFENSIVE LINE!? You're gonna need those legs kid.

That said, young Levy didn't exactly burn up the recruiting wars. He basically chose WSU over Eastern and, later in the process, Hawaii came calling. But it is what it is, and who really cares about all that stuff now? He's in the program, and with Ocho Rojo's significant injury, he's your backup.

The good news is that Wulff has actually talked up J.T. earlier this year. Twice on radio shows, I heard him say that the staff thought he was really coming along and improving by a huge amount since camp. It remains to be seen if he's ready to actually play in a game, but we sure are close to finding out.

Our own Longball took in some practices this summer, so I will let him comment further on what HE saw with his own two eyes. Longball did speculate that the kid would see the field in some capacity, be it at QB, WR, or even at defensive back, an acknowledgement of the kid's athleticism.

I found this article on JT at the Evergreen of all places, back after he signed with the Cougs in early 2007. Interesting read. A tough kid and a winner, hey, this could be a great story. Local kid grows up dreaming of playing in Martin Stadium in Crimson, and it sure looks like he is going to get that chance. And in a season heading to hell in a hand basket, we sure could use a good story couldn't we?!?

We'll be back tomorrow for the radio show recap. You can be sure the QB situation will be topic 1-A tonight. I'm sure Wulff will address the crappiness of the state of the program as well, and how there is a plan and they are sticking with it. I'm sure he's sick and tired of being sick and tired. We all are. How many times can he say it? I can't imagine there is anyone more frustrated than Wulff right now.

Enjoy your Tuesday, and GO COUGS!

14 comments:

Aubs said...

I am confident in J.T.'s ability, and with that, I don't want to see his redshirt wasted. It isn't the season to waste a quality player's redshirt. What good would come of that? We loose a game by 40 points as opposed to 50...no thanks. I am in favor of the recruiting stupid frat guys first; let those wastes of space get injured when we have no O-line, as opposed to using up someone with serious potential. GO COUGS!!! (and of course GO HOUNDS!!)

Anonymous said...

i say let him play. he will not improve sitting on the bench. experience is the best teacher and he needs to see real action. it is no waste of a redshirt if he improves. i would want him to cut his teeth now and get the growth out of the way and then in two more years he is a junior with experience and everyone says we are going for a bowl in 10.

kaddy said...

stupid frat guys...yikes - someone sounds scorned.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that there is NO way that Wulff will burn the redshirt on JT Levenseller:

"We're not going to burn any redshirt at this point, and we have some very capable players we are redshirting who could help us right now," said Wulff, adding Levenseller is a different deal because of the nature of the position and the injuries. "We are too far into the season to hurt the future of the program."

...and if we are desperate enough, S Xavier Hicks (who played QB in high school) will take snaps under center. But lets keep our fingers crossed and hope USC gets lost on the way to Pullman this weekend and we won't have to worry about any more injuries.

Anonymous said...

I know this is off topic, but did anyone notice that Cougar alumnus Jerome Harrison had a very nice game for the Browns on Monday night. Go Cougs!!!

Aubs said...

Kaddy,
Not scorned, just went to WSU and opted out of the Greek system after what I saw and experienced. Not the typical upstanding citizens intended to be inducted into a fraternal order...point and case, another one falls from their own roof...really?!?!

Brinkhater said...

Aubs:

To be fair, its almost impossible to be upstanding when you're falling off a roof. Believe me, I know.

But for me, I learned more about life from my days at the frat than I did in my two tours of duty in Nam. So, you gotta take the good with the bad..

Now, back to football.

Personally, I think that Wulff should not play JT in this game this weekend against Troy. After that, hand over the playbook to him and let him run for his life.

The biggest thing about Ocho No-No's injury is NOT that he's out for the rest of the year--I mean, who cares about that?

What is of concern is that he is going to miss all of SPRING and ALMOST ALL OF FALL as a result.

What that means is that we are now on schedule to have Lopina be the #1 guy in Spring and headed into Fall.

(how do you spell "yuck")

Personally, I like the idea of having Levy take at least half of the spring reps following a fall of game experience then to walk in next year totally green, to have Marshall come back without spring practice (and have 4% of our playbook in use AGAIN), or to have a lame duck senior QB with limited skills on a team that should also have no chance of bowling.

That's all I'm saying.

Aubs said...

Brinkhater,

True enough, regarding the frat boys. WSU has never had a favorable reputation regarding their greek system, at least not since I lived there 79-01. I agree that the experience Levy would encounter is better than having him practice only, and have no game-time experience. My concern is our O-line's inability to keep our QBs safe. I would rather not risk it and have nothing next year, you know?

OklahomaCougar said...

Players can redshirt any one of the four eligible seasons. It isn't like playing this season and shirting him next is going to hurt him.

But, honestly, the way this team is playing, they should put in that guy that won the campus-wide and let him hand the ball off to our bevy of RB's. Run the Power-I...

logan said...

let's not talk about JT cutting his teeth now...i watched him bust his front two teeth playing in a PHS basketball game when my cousin was playing with him...that was nasty...but it was a pure hustle play diving out of bounds to save the ball that took his teeth out. He just doesn't go anything but full speed all the time.

Anonymous said...

So he went to Pullman high and was a hound. SO WHAT? He was all-county in nowheresville and cougs held off EWU for his services. And you want him to play against SC???? You are nuts. You saw Alex Brink fail against that defense with some nfl talent around him. And you want to put this deer in front of a freight train?? INSANE. You might as well push him off a street corner underneath a Pullman Metro in front of CCDI. Either way he'll be in traction on Sunday.

logan said...

chill man, i wasn't saying he's the best player on our team or even good enough right now to play against USC. i dont want to play him now, i want him later in his career.

plus, how do you know he's no good? maybe he's jason gesser who wasnt recruited by anyone either? you can only watch him play to determine that.

Sedihawk said...

I say burn baby burn. Burn that redshirt.

And, so he wasn't an all-world recruit. To use your phrase anonymous, "so what"? Logan is right, we've mined some lesser names before and they've worked out just fine. And who knows, maybe some schools were interested in him but knew that WSU was just a complete slam dunk that they never really pursued him? Just saying that there are sometimes circumstances people don't know as to why someone wasn't loaded down with D-1 offers.

When you look back at our recent QB history, it at least seems like the best QB's we've had got into games as frosh or redshirt frosh and then played out the string. Exactly the situation Levenseller is in right now.
Bledsoe didn't start in the fall of '90, but after some early struggles and QB roulette he did get out there later in the season, and obviously never looked back.

Leaf played in late 1995, and that apple cup in Husky Stadium was his real coming out game. I will never forget that. But he got some starts in that frosh year, but that set him up for his first real shot as the starter in '96. By '97 he was a heisman candidate.

Gesser too, played sparingly in '99 but he did get in games later in the season. He started that game at Hawaii and showed so much promise, leading them to a W while taking an absolute beating against a 9-win Hawaii team. He opened 2000 as the starter, but didn't really take off until 2001 after the broken leg in '00.

And our own blog favorite, Brink. He got a lot of time that redshirt frosh season in '04, then started every game from '05 - '07. That worked out ok.

The other thing is people keep saying preserve the redshirt. Normally I would agree. If you have your choice, you would like to preserve that redshirt. But really, this isn't your garden variety true frosh. He was enrolled in school in January and really could have been a frosh in the fall of '07. He has been in the Wulff program since day 1. This is the start of his second year out of high school, so in essence, he's *almost* a redshirt when you think about it.

And as someone else above stated, heck, 2010 is a season where we might be able to see some real progress. Wouldn't you rather have it be with either a Lobbestael or Levenseller at QB, as juniors, after having about a year and a half of playing time coming into that year? They would both be upperclassmen by then, and one of them will hopefully have claimed the job. But if we're serious about seeing progress by 2010, well, better start working on it RIGHT NOW!

The point is, if you are in this situation, which they are, then throw him to the wolves. Don't start him this week, and obviously they won't. But at least put him in for a series or two to get his D-1 feet wet. Then, after the bye week, really work him into the rotation. Maybe even split the time down the middle with him and Lopina down the stretch, see what happens, and then go with the hot hand in the 4th quarter? If he seizes the day and shows more upside, the ride him for November and see how it ends up. Desperate times, desperate measures.

atlantacoug said...

I can tell you...I might seriously consider betting against the cougs this weekend. It is against my morals to bet against them but maybe if I donate 1/2 the proceeds to the building fund it can be a win-win. 43 points spread just seems like not enough when you consider what other PAC-10 teams have done to us