3 keen observers assess new class of Cougars

COUGFAN.COM put a simple question to people who follow recruiting closer than most: How do you size up Washington State's newest class of recruits? We weren't looking for War and Peace, just a few thoughts on what stands out. Here's what they had to say ...

JAKE WORTHEN, Scout.com Analyst:

"Washington State is bringing in a class that will add solid depth to nearly every position. They loaded up on defensive talent – about two-thirds of the class is on that side of the ball – and the offense added depth. In all, the Cougars really cast the net wide, pulling in prospects from nine different states. And they found more speed than I think they have in previous years. Chester Sua is a great pick up at linebacker and their highest-ranked prospect at four-stars. The four kids out of Florida are something I wouldn't come to expect every year, but they're great finds nonetheless. And Cody Clements at quarterback is another great pickup for the Cougars.

"Washington State brings in quite a few junior college prospects in this class that should pay immediate dividends. The depth and experience are both needed. In regard to hidden gems, T.J. Poloai is a player that you could see on the interior of either of the offense or defensive line. He is very quick off the ball and shows a great motor. His ability to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage on offense and defense really impressed me. He might not show up on the field next season, but will be a player to keep an eye on as his career moves along.

"As for misses, two guys I thought Washington State should have gone after, but didn't, are Ellis Henderson (cornerback from Vancouver) and Kellen Clute (tight end from Mt. Spokane). They are two prospects that I think would have been solid additions (note: Henderson is going to Hawaii and Clute to Oregon State)."

JACK EVANS, Cougfan.com Recruiting Analyst Emeritus:

"The one guy in this class that not too many folks outside the Cougar Nation are talking about is Cody Clements. They take their football – and their quarterbacking – very, very seriously in Orange County, and this kid shines. Dan Albano, who writes for my old alma mater, the Orange County Register, ranked Clements the No. 1 QB at the annual Battle of the Beach. That's no small feat, because it's a competitive deal and because super-touted Max Wittek, who is headed to USC, was also there. Clements has a strong arm, tremendous accuracy and he's a proven winner who has received good coaching.

"My guess is that there wasn't more buzz about him on the recruiting trail because he's not huge (6-1, 195) and he blew a knee when he was a sophomore. For me, he's got upside that's off the charts. He'll redshirt this year, hitting the weights and learning the playbook, and then I could see him giving Connor Halliday a run for the starting job after Jeff Tuel graduates. In some ways, this could be like a Matt Kegel vs. Jason Gesser type of situation coming down the pike. I think Cougar fans can live with that.

"Another young man in this class who I think has sky-high upside is David Davis from Palos Verdes. Here's why I like him: He's a serious weightlifter with a big motor and work ethic, as well as a team leader. And last, but certainly not least, there are the genes. His dad played ball at Missouri and his grandpa is one of the greatest that ever put on a uniform -- NFL Hall of Famer Willie Davis of the Packers. Those two guys are 6-4 and 6-3, respectively, so the trend line would put David at 6-5 by the time he's done growing, right?"

BARRY BOLTON, CF.C Managing Editor:

"Two things especially that fans should note. First, that six members of this class – the three JC linemen and the three high school kids from Florida – are already enrolled at WSU and will participate in spring workouts next month, as is one holdover from the 2010 class. That's an instant infusion of talent that now will be able to hit the ground running in the fall. I can't tell you how significant that is. The other thing that really strikes me about this class is the beef. Seven guys check in between 265 and 340, which obviously speaks to the staff's emphasis on stocking up the two sides of the line."

"Everybody always wants to know who the sleepers are – kids that will come in and start making a mark on Day One. That's tough to say. A year ago, I'm not sure I would have picked Marquess Wilson and Deone Bucannon to shine as brightly as they did, yet look at what they each accomplished this past season. If pressed, though, and if limited to only one pick, I think I'd point to Marcus Mason at running back because the depth situation -- don't forget that Devontae Butler-Booker is headed to Fresno State -- gives him a golden opportunity. Plus he has something they haven't figured out a way to fully teach yet: speed."

ESPN's Greg Biggins, who used to do some fine work for the network CF.C was part of way back in the day, opined this week that "Washington State scored big in landing Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) linebacker Darryl Paulo. He tripped to Pullman after visiting Oregon State the weekend before and the Beavers were believed to be the leaders."

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