Former D-POY also among WSU's early walk-ons

THE EARLY SUMMER ARRIVAL of preferred walk-ons at Washington State now numbers a half dozen. Joining the Wazzu football program this month -- a defensive back voted his league's Defensive Player of the Year by the Seattle Times this past season.

Skyline's Jordan Simone, (6-1, 185), has begun classes and participating in voluntary offseason workouts with the Cougs and his older brother, WSU wide receiver Gino Simone.

"Most guys (who receive college offers) have explosive junior years. For Jordan, that was his senior year. He just broke out a little later. You see film of him or watch him play in person and there is no doubt he can play in the (Pac-12)," Gino told CF.C earlier.

The 6-1, 185-pound Jordan, who will play defensive back at WSU, did indeed have a head-turning senior season.

On defense, at safety for the state's Class 4A runner-up, he racked up 117 total tackles -- 78 solo -- and picked off three passes. On offense, playing receiver, he caught 69 passes for 1,318 yards and 15 touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 15 kickoffs an average of 20.3 yards.

Simone was named first-team all-KingCo on both sides of the ball and was selected the league's Defensive Player of the Year by the Seattle Times. In addition, he was tabbed first-team All-State on defense by the Associated Press and Scout.com.

He was offered a scholarship to Eastern Washington and received preferred walk on invitations from WSU as well as Washington.

Other preferred walk-ons who have gotten an early start at WSU this month -- Lake Stevens OL Gunnar Eklund, Juanita OL Sam Shirley, S Cyrus Coen out of Pearl, Hawaii, WR Brock Ruelke from Honolulu and Kruger Story out of Brentwood, Calif.

"We're super close. This is a pretty big opportunity for us to spend a few years together. Fifteen or 20 years down the road we're going to be saying, ‘Remember that road trip when we beat USC ...' said Gino of his brother.

As for the head-to-head match ups that no doubt will arise in practice with one brother playing safety and the other receiver, Gino is matter-of-fact: "I'm going to beat him up just like when we were younger."

If Jordan's reputation for grit is true, he won't take those words lying down. He's been called uber-competitive and fiery on the field.

"Yep, there's going to be a lot of scrappy Simone boys out there fighting for the Cougs," says Gino, who also reports that the hamstring and ankle woes that marred his 2010 season are now behind him. "I'm finally back to the point where I was."

That's good news for the Cougs. As a true freshman playing in a woeful offense in 2009, he caught 36 passes (second-most on the team) for 330 yards. This past season he played in 10 of 12 games but was limited to 13 catches for 132 yards.

GINO SIMONE EYES RETURN TO FORM IN 2011 SEASON.


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