Chill! It's not like he's Jonathan Stewart

THE OBSESSION with Bishop Sankey culminated last night with mass hand-wringing by WSU partisans and Praise Jesus-rejoicing by their UW counterparts. It's been fascinating to watch. At day's end, though, it's puzzling to understand. Young Bishop is a solid talent, no question, but he's no Jonathan Stewart. The fact his recruitment has generated Stewart-esque attention is downright preposterous.

I say that for two primary reasons.

First, Sankey's lean to the purple side was hardly a secret. Unlike Stewart, who also was a touted local running back, Sankey didn't keep his thoughts air tight. It's been pretty well understood around Spokane since September that UW was his destination.

Second, the idea that people effectively are attaching the same gravitas to Sankey as they once did to Stewart is laughable. Stewart, as you may recall, also narrowed his list of colleges to two schools close to home: WSU and Oregon. The evening in late January of 2005 when he went on KING-TV to announce his decision produced one of the highest-traffic days in Cougfan.com message board history.

CRIMSON COMMENTARY

That obsession was understandable. Stewart was the No. 1-rated prep back in the nation. He had scholarship offers stretching from USC to Tennessee, and Florida to Ohio State. And deservedly so. His combination of size, speed, power and agility had "cant' miss" written all over him. He of course he went on to a stellar career at Oregon and has since collected nearly 3,000 yards in his first three NFL seasons.

No offense to Sankey, because he is an intriguing prospect who would have looked good in crimson, but to see his recruitment attract the level of fan interest as Stewart's is just goofy. Losing Stewart to the Ducks was a huge blow for the Cougs. He was instant impact. A game changer from Day One.

That's not the Sankey profile at all.

He's a nice looking prospect who had a chance for some early PT at WSU this season and perhaps bigger things down the road. As three high school coaches from around the state and one former college coach have independently told CF.C, if Sankey wasn't from Spokane then the public interest in him would have been ordinary.

"He truly is a jewel in the GSL, an exceptional kid there, but head down to Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles and you'll find a whole lot of running backs on par with him in every one of those places," said the former college coach who asked not to be named. "If you don't believe me, look at who all offered him scholarships."

In the Pac-12, Sankey received offers only from the in-state schools. Outside the conference, it was a random collection of lesser lights.

"Hell's fire, his first recruiting point man at Washington State, Steve Broussard, didn't give him the time of day once he got to ASU," says the former college coach. "Don't get me wrong -- he could develop into a very productive Pac-12 back and I hope he does, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see him playing at Montana or Eastern Washington in two or three years either. He's just not one of those slam-dunk kinds of prospects."

That tells me one thing: WSU LOST A PR BATTLE HERE, NOT A FUTURE ALL-AMERICAN.

So chill out Cougar fans. Sankey going to the Dawgs is a bummer, yes, but not the end of the world. Besides, the way he played cat-and-mouse with WSU for an entire year after giving them his verbal pledge was just juvenile. In my book, that's a big-time red-flag on character.

Also, don't forget that we're talking 18-year-old kids here. There are countless twists and turns, breaks and bumps to come, that will spell success, failure or something in between. Just look at WSU's own history of running backs. The greatest ground gainer in school history – College Football Haller of Famer Rueben Mayes – was a recruiting afterthought. His powerful backfield battery mate, Kerry Porter, was hardly a blue-chip prospect either. Neither was Shaumbe Wright-Fair, Dan Doornink, Ken Grandberry or so many other notables.

Conversely, the highest-rated prep running back WSU ever has picked up was Derek Sparks. Who, you may ask?

Precisely my point.

I hate losing anything to the Dawgs, especially a local kid. Freaking out over Bishop Sankey, though, is just plain dumb. And an insult to Jonathan Stewart.

NOTABLE:
An old friend with a quirky sense of humor fired over some suggested headlines for my commentary today. None was considered suitable by our esteemed editors, but they are funny so I am offering them to you here. Enjoy ...

- Bishop says no Sankey to Cougs
- Sankey's bark worse than his bite
- Sankey brings lack of top-end speed to UW, fans rejoice
- Sankey to play 3 years at UW before transferring to Central under position coach J.R. Hasty
- Sankey passes Sark's test, spells cat and doesn't add on an 'e'
- Breaking: Sankey opts to redshirt first season
- Sankey goes UW, dad calls KJR to say he doesn't understand why Bishop isn't playing more.
- Sankey accepts Sark proposal after coach went to Jared and got down on one knee.

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