Wideout, says Wulff, a key focus this spring

AT FIRST GLANCE, it seems that wide receiver is a position that won't hold a lot of intrigue for Washington State when spring ball commences in early March. After all, the returning corps includes honorable mention all-Pac-10 pick Jared Karstetter, Freshman All-American Marquess Wilson, sure-handed Gino Simone, and promising Isiah Barton. But looks can be deceiving, says head coach Paul Wulff.

That's because his Big Four returnees are being joined this spring by five – yes, 5, talented rookies. Three are coming off redshirt freshmen seasons (Kristoff Williams, Bobby Ratliff and Blair Bomber) and two are members of the 2011 recruiting class (Henry Eaddy and Isiah Myers).

Eaddy and Meyers are the dynamic duo from Olympia High in Orlando, Fla. Both graduated early and begin classes at WSU this week. That means they'll get a head start on their football careers by going through spring workouts.

"Our quarterbacks and receivers need to spend a lot of time together and develop chemistry," Wulff told CF.C last week. The huge influx of receiving talent makes the wideout position one of the true focus points of spring ball, he noted.

There are other priorities as well.

"Solidifying the defense is critical," Wulff said. "We need to develop a more physical presence to stop the run. And on the other side of the ball, we need to better develop the run game and getting our offensive linemen more physical."

For the first time since he's been at WSU, Wulff says the team has enough quality depth at every position that spring ball could feature two, simultaneous 11-on-11 drills. That will maximize the number of reps each player will get.

As for the receiving corps, position coach Mike Levenseller has said that the 2011 group has the potential to be the finest collection of grabmasters at WSU since he joined the staff in 1992.

Indeed, between Karstetter, Wilson, Barton and Simone, the 2011 Cougars will return 149 catches and 1,961 yards from their 2010 passing game.

Moreover, Williams, who had to sit out 2010 with a turf toe injury, is considered as electric a performer as Wilson. Bomber, who has blazing speed, was the Cougars' 2010 scout team offensive player of the year. And Ratliff was rated higher out of high school than Wilson, Williams and Bomber.

The two early arrivals from Florida also are compelling. Florida recruitnicks have compared Eaddy to Oregon State's James Rodgers. While lightly recruited and small (5-8, 170), he has excellent hands and superb running skills. He rank No. 33 on the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Super 60. Myers is very athletic, quick rather than ultra-fast, and rated No. 29 on the Orlando Sentinel's list.

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