Happy New Year Cougs!
I hope 2011 has started out as great for you as it has from me! I am so excited and privileged to have been chosen to write for this blog, amongst some stiff competition I might add.
As you soon will learn, I am a bit of a recruiting nut. I absolutely love the exhilaration of landing a commit that could potentially turn the tide of the program. For that reason, January happens to be one of my favorite months. Although most of our commits are already in place, this is the time where we put the icing on the cake. However, as we all know, it's also the time where other schools come to dip their filthy fingers in our frosting.
As we hit the home stretch before National Signing Day (February 2nd), I thought it fitting to give you a position-by-position breakdown of where we stand on the recruiting front. Bear with me, this is a doozy of a post...
Cody Clements (La Habra, CA) - 6'1'' 195 lbs
Paul Wulff and his staff set out to sign one quarterback prospect for the class of 2011, and they got their guy in Cody Clements. While Cody lacks some of the ideal measureables you'd like from a quarterback prospect, he has the intangibles to be a stud at the next level.
A proven leader, Clements led La Habra High School to it's fourth consecutive California Southwest Division Championship this year. In 206 pass attempts his senior year, Clements threw only 1 interception. One rival coach was quoted saying, "He's like a surgeon."
Bishop Sankey (Spokane, WA) - 5'10'' 187 lbs
C.J. Anderson (Laney - Junior College) - 5'9'' 205 lbs
The Cougs once looked solid at the RB position for the class of 2011, but things have since become a bit dicey. In September, they secured a commitment from a bruiser named Demarcus James from Alabama, but he de-committed shortly thereafter to stay closer to home.
Then there's Sankey, the prized jewel of this class. He became the earliest commit in WSU history last Christmas Eve, but now he's a soft one at best. Although he maintains that he's still committed to the Cougs, he will give official visits to WSU, UW, and Vanderbilt this month before he makes his final decision.
C.J. Anderson is a talented Junior College prospect who seemed poised to commit to the Cougs after his Apple Cup visit, but his recruitment is now on hold as he has one more class to finish before he receives his AA.
Running back is definitely a position of need for the Cougs in this class, and if we don't land Sankey or Anderson, Wulff will surely extend an offer to someone else providing there's time to do so.
Dominique Williams (Pomona, CA) - 6'4'' 190 lbs
Henry Eaddy (Orlando, FL) - 5'8'' 170 lbs
Isaiah Myers - 6'0'' 170 lbs
Rahmel Dockery (Tacoma, WA) - 5'10'' 160 lbs
Ruben Gonzalez (Tampa, FL) - 6'3'' 185 lbs
There are some questions about the status of Dominique Williams' commitment, as his high school coach was cited in a recent article saying he was no longer committed to WSU. The same can't be said for Eaddy and Myers, who's commitments appear rock solid. So much so that both plan to enroll early and take part in spring ball.
Dockery is an electric playmaker and could either play wide receiver or corner, and he could be visiting Wazzu this month along with Oregon State.
This class, coupled with the existing talent on the roster, leave the Cougar Quarterbacks some solid options to throw to in the years to come.
Max Hersey (Tacoma, WA) - 6'3'' 235 lbs
Todd Sturdy essentially took the tight end out of the offense in 2010. Pair that with the fact that highly-touted 2010 prospect Aaron Dunn will be coming off his redshirt year, and the tight end position just wasn't much of a priority for the coaching staff this year. Nonetheless, the Cougs landed a good one in the form of Max Hersey. While he was a terror on the offensive and defensive lines this year for Curtis High School, Hersey will come to WSU as a Tight End/H-Back Prospect.
Stephan Nembot (Van Nuys, CA) - 6'7'' 260 lbs
Rico Forbes (Navarrao - Junior College) - 6'4'' 260 lbs
Taylor Meighen (Kilgore - Junior College) - 6'3'' 285 lbs
Akeem Gonzales (Mission Hills, CA) - 6'4'' 250 lbs
Fou Fonoti (Cerritos - Junior College) - 6'5'' 295 lbs
Colin Munro (Chaffey - Junior College) - 6'5'' 310 lbs
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that we need some serious help on our offensive line. Paul Wulff and his staff went hard after some good line prospects this year, the problem is that so did everyone else. We missed on quite a few, however we also landed one of the most intriguing prospects in the nation in Stephan Nembot.
Nembot, a Cameroon Native, has only been playing football for two years but his potential is so high that he earned offers from most of the entire Pac-10 including Stanford, USC, and UCLA. He could play either offense or defense.
The Cougs landed some good talent from the Junior College ranks in Rico Forbes and Taylor Meighan. They would also love to sign Fou Fonoti. He was very high on the Cougs after his official visit in October, but competition for his services has grown stiff, and he is also strongly considering Arizona, Michigan State, and UCLA.
Without a doubt, Paul Wulff and Co. are not done recruiting offensive lineman for 2011. Don't be surprised if they take two or even three more lineman in this class.
David Davis (Palos Verdes, CA) - 6'1'' 275 lbs
T.J. Poloai (Sacramento, CA) - 6'2'' 265 lbs
Demetrius Cherry (Oak Ridge, NC) - 6'6'' 270 lbs
Villami Moala (Sacramento, CA) 6'3'' 340 lbs
Brandon Tuliaupupu (Claremont, CA) 6'2'' 275
The Cougs surrendered over 220 yards rushing per game…YIKES! That included getting absolutely embarrassed by Chris Polk, who rushed for 284 yards on their home field in the Apple Cup. Needless to say, WSU desperately needs to shore up their defensive front.
The good news is that they landed some really quality prospects for this class. The even better news, they will get an official visit from maybe the best D-Tackle prospect in the nation in Villami Moala. It is a long shot at best that the we will land Moala, but we can dream can't we? He would make a difference right away.
Sticking to what we have, I love David Davis. He is a human wrecking-ball, and perhaps my favorite commit in this class. He is the grandson of Hall-of-Fame Defensive End Willie Davis, so the bloodlines are obviously there, and he has got a nasty streak like you wouldn't believe. When he reaches his potential…look out.
Eli Edwards (Cerritos - Junior College) - 6'2'' 245 lbs
Nico Aumua (Contra Costa - Junior College) - 6'6'' 225 lbs
Ian Knight (Butler County - Junior College) - 6'2'' 244 lbs
Lenard Williams (Iowa Western - Junior College) - 6'2'' 245 lbs
Faigame Lopa (Sacramento, CA) - 6'2'' 245 lbs
The Cougs tied Arizona State for dead last in the Pac-10 in sacks for 2010. While Travis Long is a mainstay for the next couple years, we needed some immediate help opposite him to generate a pass rush.
For this, the coaching staff turned to the Junior College ranks. Expect Ian Knight and Lenard Williams to compete for the starting job right out of the gate. They are both relentless pass-rushers who can help fill the void of losing Kevin Kooyman to graduation.
Also, out of the four Grant High School (Sacramento, CA) studs we have visiting this month, I think we have the best shot of landing Faigame Lopa. He would be a huge get for us and I wouldn't be surprised if he played right away.
Logan Mayes (Eugene, OR) - 6'3'' 215 lbs
Chester Sua (Honolulu, HI) - 6'2'' 205 lbs
Darryl Monroe (Orlando, FL) - 6'1'' 210 lbs
Darryl Paulo (Sacramento, CA) - 6'3'' 240 lbs
Ben Heimuli (Salt Lake City, UT) 6'2'' 237 lbs
Kendall Washington (Mansfield, TX) - 6'2'' 195 lbs
Kyrie Wilson (Bakersfield, CA) - 6'2'' 210 lbs
This may be the strongest position group of any of the others in this recruiting class. Logan Mayes, the son of Cougar great Reuben Mayes, was recently named the 5A Defensive Player of the Year by the Oregonian. He will come to WSU to play the "Leo" position. Gotta love landing some solid Cougar legacies!
Darryl Monroe committed in June, then seemed to cool on the Cougs as time went on. All of a sudden, it seems he's very hot again. How hot? Well, he's starting classes next week at WSU and will take part in spring ball. I guess that answers that question.
Finally, Chester Sua is a complete stud. He hits like a ton of bricks, and he's a hell of an athlete to boot. So much so, that he could play running back for us as well. If we don't sign another linebacker in this class I wouldn't worry too much. We've got some guys who can play.
Max Gama (La Mirada, CA) - 6'0'' 190 lbs
James Sample (Sacramento, CA) - 6'2'' 195 lbs
With the emergence of Deone Bucannon in 2010, safety became a low priority for this class. Although, it would be nice to land another superior prospect to play beside him... and James Sample would fit the bill perfectly. He looks like he's all but committed to UW at this point, but he will be visiting Wazzu with his Grant High School teammates and if we somehow land him, it would be a HUGE get.
Max Gama is an intriguing prospect and a good overall athlete, but I would not be the least bit surprised to see him become a linebacker as he develops.
Spencer Waseem (Apopka, FL) - 5'10'' 170 lbs
Marcus Peters (Oakland, CA) - 5'11'' 190 lbs
Mercy Maston (Bakersfield, CA) - 5'11'' 185 lbs
Like at safety, we have some great young talent at the cornerback position already on our roster. That didn't stop the coaches from bringing in Spencer Waseem from across the country. He is a solid tackling corner, and I've heard the coaching staff is very high on him.
We are right in the thick of things for Mercy Maston and Marcus Peters as well. Although we don't necessarily need a ton of corners in this class, I know the staff would love to have one or both of these guys if they decide to join the Crimson fold.
Brock Lutes (Newberg, OR) - 6'3'' 215 lbs
Tana Pritchard (Lakewood, WA) - 6'3'' 205
The coaches offered Lutes after he lit up their summer camp and he committed shortly thereafter. He's also a standout basketball player and is a versatile athlete who could play any one of six positions for the Cougs.
Tana Pritchard, nephew of Cougar legend Jack Thompson, played quarterback, safety, and punter for Clover Park High School however he projects as a linebacker when he reaches college. He hits so hard that his coaches at Clover Park took him out of contact drills in practice because he was hurting his teammates. With the graduation of Reid Forrest, don't be surprised if he ends up booting punts either. He averaged 47.1 per punt this year.
A few final notes...
With our current commits (including Sankey) we have filled 23 of the 25 allotted scholarship spots for this year. However, don't be surprised if we over-sign and take up to 7 more prospects, which would give us a total of 30 in this class. How is this possible? Every year it is almost inevitable that a few players will not qualify academically and will either need to greyshirt or go the Junior College route. Also, we could choose to greyshirt a few commits. A couple candidates would include Brock Lutes, who needs some time in the weight room, and Eli Edwards, who tore his knee late in the season and will need time to recover. Greyshirts and academic non-qualifiers do not count against our scholarship count until they are officially enrolled.
One other thing to consider is that, until the ink dries on the letter of intent, these "commits" are fair game. More than a few of our commits have opened their ears to other suitors, and as much as I hate to admit it, there will more than likely be one or two who will change their minds on us last minute... It happens every year.
It should be an exciting month Cougs!!! Stay tuned!