Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday Flag-Spotting; WSU Verbal Meinken Shaky?

Another Gameday, another appearance. Great job as usual, and the tradition lives on for another week. Even in the darkest of times, this WSU flag continues to still get out of bed and show up for work. And thanks again to Will and Stephanie Walker for the screen capture. BRAVO!

I don't want to just throw a bunch of links out there, as we've kind of shied away from doing that of late. But there is a bit of a disturbing story about one of WSU's top verbal commits, Geoff Meinken. We were dancing in the aisle after Meinken committed to WSU back in May. Meinken is an excellent athlete out of Lynnwood, a 6-4, 255 pounder who is big, strong and fast already as a 17-year old. There was a good profile of him in the Seattle Times here back in early September. We wrote about his commitment here, as there were some interesting nuggets about him in regards to track and basketball as well as football. He looks like a real player on the rise, and along with the classroom smarts, is exactly the kind of in-state talent that Wulff and company are counting on to rebuild this program.

But there is a distrubring thing here. Jim Harbaugh has come out of the woodwork and offered the kid a full ride (damn it Jim!). As Cougfan points out, they are basically saying "name your position" as well, telling him he can play anywhere he wants, and oh yeah, at the end of the process he'll earn his degree from Stanford. Yikes.

While Meinken is still listed as a verbal commitment, well, that could change. While I won't highlight anything in the story as it's a premium article, you can read between the lines when it says "Lynnwood athlete who gave oral pledge to WSU earlier this spring says he has some thinking to do".


That's the kicker about verbal commitments. For that is all they are, a non-binding pledge that they will sign with you in February, but this kind of thing happens every year, to almost every program. It just happened to UW, when the top in-state player, Garfield's Deandre Coleman, backed off UW and is now out flirting with Cal. It happened to Bill Doba too, with players such as ASU defensive end Luis Vazquez. He de-committed from WSU and hopped down to ASU when Dennis Erickson was hired, AND Rob Akey went to Idaho.

But that's only a recent example. Heck, Michael Bumpus was a 100% verbal to USC all the way until the last weekend before signing day, when New Jersey phenom Dwayne Jarrett fell into Pete Carroll's lap. Carroll decided to give Bump's scholie to Jarrett while asking Bump to delay his enrollment until January, Bump said no, and suddenly he was a signing day surprise for WSU.

The other issue is the whole recruiting process itself. This is the time of year when the coaches heap praise upon praise on these high school hotshots. And like many 17/18-year olds, a lot of them slurp it up. For it's easy as a human being to start to believe it when everyone, including NCAA football coaches, keep telling you how great you are. It's not hard to think you are a REALLY big deal.


I also used to think that the whole horrible start that this team was off to wasn't going to have that much of an effect on recruiting. Wulff himself has said on his radio show that fans are often surprised when they hear quotes from commits who say that it doesn't matter a whole lot what the current team is doing on the field. Often times the recruit is more worried about playing, and playing early, when they make that step to the next level. And uh, yeah, playing early at WSU? Pretty much WIDE OPEN at this point! If you are young and you are good, you will get a chance to play, and that is the message Wulff and company have been sending out on the recruiting trail. And, while we got hammered on the recruiting trail last year (when the coaches were actually out there recruiting?), it was because of all the Doba speculation. The other coaches like Harbaugh can't use the instability argument against WSU now, because Wulff isn't going anywhere.

But given the monster losses of all-time proportions this year, well, I'm starting to wonder like the rest of you. Watching the team get blown out on TV, week after week, might have more of a detrimental effect on these recruits than we might think. Embarrassing performances on the field can lead to embarrassing feelings off the field for fans, alums and even perspective recruits, so, who knows.

We'll see how it all shakes out. Meinken is a projected defensive lineman, exactly the kind of kid Wulff is after in terms of size, strength and frame, with the "right kind of weight" on his body for his age. Clearly he sees something he can build here, and losing him could really sting. Besides, Meinken is a defensive lineman, an area of severe weakness today, but could be even weaker next year. The door is wide open for an impact talent up front, and losing Meinken from the group could be bad news. That said, there is still a long way to go in recruiting, and Wulff has said repeatedly that the defensive line is the top priority for this year's class. They are out there busting their asses in trying to land talent, and I don't doubt that they will fill this potential hole. My hope right now is that if Meinken does back away, that this isn't the start of a trend? So far it's a solid class, so think good thoughts for Wulff and company to keep it together and ride this thing out.

We'll be back this evening with a game thread before the 7:15 kickoff, so, if you are watching and want to vent, feel free to stop by. GO COUGS!

16 comments:

kaddy said...

I want to hear what Michelle thinks...

Here's how I look at, and I don't get quite as worked up anymore as I used to, pre-30's. If he's going to jump as soon as another Pac-10 school offers, then fine. I don't want anyone to "settle" for WSU, because we were the only Pac-10 school to offer. We need kids that want to go to WSU.

I think he would be a great fit for the Cougs, no doubt, and I still hope he stays with us.

Sedihawk said...

I agree with you Kaddy at least to a certain extent. Losing a player sucks, period, no way around it. But to me, losing one to the Pac-10 hurts more. Not so much USC, I mean USC is USC so it's understandable. But I think it smarts a little extra when it's someone else. I can also understand the Stanford thing, and they have a lot going for them. Great area of the country, unbelievable academics and all that, etc. But man, Harbaugh has them on the way up. Their days of being dreadful are over if you ask me, and they could be a real force in the coming years. So maybe Meinken sees everything else, plus oh yeah, the team is actually starting to win with Harbaugh. That might be the icing on the proverbial cake. But we'll see. He hasn't decommitted yet (but it sounds like a mere formality?).

Nuss said...

This is precisely why I don't get real worked up about verbal commitments. Think of all the guys who actually sign who don't ever amount to anything, then realize it's even more of a crapshoot when talking about verbals.

Take it from a high school teacher -- if you get hung up on how often teenagers change their minds, you'll make yourself mad.

That said, I hope he doesn't end up changing his mind. We need all the talent we can get right now.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how the d can look competent against a horrible offense. Still like that they are physical.

Oklahoma Cougar said...

I like the aggressiveness so far in the 1st quarter. That penalty hurt, so FUCLA in good position...

Oklahoma Cougar said...

Is it just me or is Ocho Rojo not really stepping into the throw... it seems like he's pushing the ball...

Sedihawk said...

It's not just you OK Coug! He does look like he's pushing or guiding the ball and not just cutting it loose. Maybe he is trying to be too fine? He looks nervous though. Hmm, scoring streak in jeopardy?

Anonymous said...

I swear if Iechelberger vacates his gap one more time he should just be benched. They would be better off without him on the field. All he does is get turned the other direction. Fat and weak is no way to go through life son.

KentCoug said...

nice quote. This could be the most frustrating game yet in the sense that we actually have a chance. SCRATCH THAT--HAD a chance!

Sedihawk said...

Did that UCLA announcer really just compare Craft to Brett Favre? Good Lord.

14-0 now. The wheels are starting to come off a bit after a decent defensive start. But the O needs to help them out! The rain of 3-and-outs are starting to fall.

Anonymous said...

Brutal. It gets to 21-0 then it is time to head on out for the festivities. This looks like Baylor all over again, only without points from the good guys.

Anonymous said...

The refs suck again. No late hit call on Tardy when he was tackled 5 yards out of bounds; Clearly a double facemask call that they missed; SAFETY!! There was not one single camera angle that showed Bell breaking the plane of the goal line, yet they reviewed it and still blew ot. Every WSU defender signaled safety. They know what happened.

kentcoug said...

When was the last time we completed a pass???? How hard can it be?

Anonymous said...

We have Andlerson and Gibson when was the last time we went tecmo and ran streeks every play. Who can keep up with those guys every down.

Anonymous said...

Bland looks like a player. 46 has been around the ball all game. Nice to see Toby Turpin get in there at tackle, broken thumb or not he needs to play.

kentcoug said...

Ocho Rojo looks scared to me. He's got no touch right now. The drops haven't helped either. CAn the special teams make a big play in the 2nd half to keep us in it?

Once again, penalties have been a killer as well.