Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Ramblings

Good morning Coug Nation. Time to catch up on a few things.

First things first, in the bad news department. Late last night, Cougfan broke the news that top WSU commit Geoff Meinken had made it official. He is no longer going to be a Cougar, and has officially switched to Stanford.

Disappointing? Absolutely. Meinken, after all, was the first WSU commit for this year's class, giving coach Wulff his pledge back in May, and he was considered an excellent "get" by the staff. Big and strong at 6-4, 250, and a fine all-around athlete who was just as strong in the classroom, the sky was the limit for this kid at WSU. There was also a story that UW came hard at him last summer, but Meinken held firm on his WSU commitment.

But Jim Harbaugh came hard after Meinken this fall, offering him a scholarship and even promising him he can play anywhere he wants. Harbaugh is a lot of things, but he is showing in very limited time at Stanford that the guy can flat-out recruit. Don't believe it? Check out their commitment list for this year. They have TEN four-star recruits already pledging to Stanford. And right now, they are second only to USC in the Pac-10 in recruiting rankings, and on target for a top-15 class. Impressive to say the least. I know I said it in the spring when we did the fishwrap series, but Stanford's stay at the bottom didn't appear like it would last very long. To go from where they were two years ago to where they are now, just one win from a bowl game, shows you they are on the right track.

Is this surprising? Hardly. First off you can't blame a kid for changing his mind. It happens all the time, to programs all over the country. And he is going to try and get his degree at Stanford. Not a bad way to go about higher education if you can get it. So yes, we're disappointed, but this isn't a shock.

The next bit of recruiting news is dealing with Skyline WR Gino Simone. Last month Simone announced that while he was still committed to WSU, well, he sat down with his family and decided to take some recruiting trips, just to be sure. Simone is taking his official visit to WSU this weekend, and the following week he will visit Oregon State (12/19). He is also on record as saying he will take a trip to Boise State, but the date hasn't been announced.

Meanwhile, Steve Sarkisian is already out there recruiting for UW, visiting Skyline high school and Bellevue high school yesterday. Both Simone and Skyline QB Jake Heaps gave some good praise to UW for hiring Sarkisian, and Simone himself was quoted as saying "If he wants to talk to me, I'll be glad to sit down and have a talk with him."

Obviously this doesn't mean Simone is going to UW, or that there is now automatically going to be a pipeline from Skyline to UW. After all, UW did just fire former Skyline head coach Steve Gervais yesterday, long thought of as a guy they brought on board to help recruit the Skyline talent! Sarkisian still has to sell them on an 0-12 rebuilding job. And while he had a "solid" reputation as a recruiter in the LA area, well, that was while he was dressed in USC colors from head to toe, and had Petey Carroll to close the deal. Let's see how he's received when he walks into a living room with a UW visor on his melon. He might find it just a little bit of a tougher sell?? So assume nothing.

Most of all, this whole recruiting thing is just another example of don't count those chicks before they sign on the dotted line. Anything/everything can happen. And you get this kind of thing more and more when you get the early verbal commitments. That was one thing we know Bill Doba despised, to say the least. He HATED the early commit, felt that it was too "en vogue" to de-commit, and that type of thing went against every moral fiber in his body. But when in Rome? All the other schools are doing it, and if you don't as well, you are at risk at being left in the stone age. You HAVE to do the early commits, or else you are left to trying to steal kids from other programs or take kids that are a step or two below the ones you really should have targeted from the beginning!

Don't panic. Let's hope Wulff can hold this class together. It's still an excellent class right now, smack dab in the middle of the conference, just behind Cal in the Pac-10 rankings. And that is without Geoff Meinken. And the idea that we can even have a decent class, in this worst-ever season? Just imagine what it could look like once we start, oh, I don't know, WINNING games!?!?

Finally, the stadium. I hate to say it, but we heard rumblings during Apple Cup week that the next phase was in serious jeopardy. Now we hear that it is official and the start of the next phase of the expansion will be delayed for another year. They cannot break ground next month due to the lack of cash ($5 million?). The unfortunate part is that not only does it delay the biggest part of the overall expansion, this delay will likely add to the overall cost of the project. So we might need even MORE money over the next year.

Look, we're not stupid. We read the news and watch CNN. We know what is going on in this country right now. 534,000 jobs were cut in America in NOVEMBER alone. It's hard to get money from donors, but even just as tough is going to the financial institutions who are cutting jobs left and right. Even selling the naming rights to different organizations wasn't enough of an incentive to get the cash needed. Meanwhile UW continues to pursue their cash grab, somehow determining that the public should give them $150 million toward their $300 million dollar palace by the lake.

Whatever happens with Olympia and UW, you better believe that if they get as much as a nickel from the state, a WSU contingent with torches and pitchforks will storm the Governor's mansion. It could get REALLY UGLY down there.

Isn't there a basketball game tonight??



Anonymous said...

Man that really sucks, but hey, its not like we haven't aped recruits from other teams in the past. Remember Michael Bumpus? He was committed to USC until signing day. I still have a ton of faith in Wulff and his staff. I think he has a bunch of "under the radar" players that won't be announced until February.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I just need to create a damn account.

Add to the above comment...

Chris '04
Pullman, WA

Sedihawk said...

You can leave your name if you click on Name/URL instead of anonymous. That makes your name show up instead of anonymous, and you don't even have to register for anything.

It isn't a great news day is it? But it's hard with verbal commits. You want to get excited, but then again, you have to keep it in perspective. It's just a promise to sign with you in February but nothing binding about it. I understand why Doba hated early commits, but at the same time, if you sit on the sidelines with your arms folded, you get left out. It is a game all programs must play if they want to build a class. And even when the get the commit, they have to stay on them and keep recruiting them up until signing day.

You are right about Bumpus. But while USC still wanted him, they asked him to delay his enrollment at SC, when Dwayne Jarrett dropped out of the sky and de-committed from Ohio State the weekend before signing day. Bumpus said no, took a trip to Pullman, and quietly signed on signing day.

No doubt Wulff and the rest will work as hard as any staff in the conference in recruiting. They know how important it is and they won't let up. If they bust their butts and still lose a few kids along the way, then so be it. But I know I'm confident that we'll get a strong class this year.

Timmy said...

The Bumpus thing was a little different. USC was wanting him to gray shirt and he wanted no part of that, and that played a large role in him de-committing and going somewhere where they wouldn't gray shirt him.

Timmy said...

I'm a slow typer....

Lee Guterman said...

Been reading this site for a while and I enjoy it a lot. Unrelated topic: what's with Xavier Hicks these days? I read somewhere, maybe on this blog, that Wulff sees him as a potential team leader next year. Is he just a different guy now than the guy who put rubbing alcohol in his teammates contact lenses?

Sedihawk said...

Lee, I've heard Wulff say several times this year that he has been overly impressed with Hicks. The point Wulff has made is that Hicks got another chance and has just excelled with the opportunity, and has become a team leader. Wulff said it several times on the radio show, how impressed he was with how Hicks turned things around. Maybe the young man just needed someone to lay out some structure for him? Who knows, but you heard it right that Wulff has been very happy with Hicks. He will be a huge part of the defense next year.

kaddy said...

I'm in Laramie again - visit the University here. They have Texas coming to play in their stadium next year, and they just signed a 2 for 1 with Nebraska...pretty impressive.

I think they had to guarantee Texas around $700K, however.