Cougar Football Notebook

WSU RECRUITING coordinator Rich Rasmussen says this year's class of new Cougar recruits features three or four players with academic concerns, "but we've done our homework on all of them and created academic plans with their counselors and their families."

"If they keep their nose to the grindstone as they get through their second semester, they've got a great opportunity to be here," he said

Players with known concerns based on published reports include offensive linemen Wendell Taiese and Alex Mitchell from Portland and Rahmel Dockery out of the Tacoma area. Rasmussen was asked if he believed Dockery received less recruiting attention because of academic issues from someone whom Wulff referred to as the most explosive player in the state. Dockery's other BCS offer came from Oregon State.

"I don't know what turned other people off," Rasmussen said. "All I know is he was a high value for us."

ONE OF THE MOST ATHLETIC members of WSU's new recruiting class only has eyes for basketball right now. Tana Pritchard, who is slated to play outside linebacker for the Cougs, is the leading scorer for Clover Park's hoops team, which is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 2A. After dispatching Fife this past weekend to win the subdistrict tourney, Clover Park is now the No. 1 seed in the district tourney, which began yesterday.

THE NFL SCOUTING COMBINE in Indianapolis starts on Feb. 23. Two Cougars have been invited to the annual poking, prodding and testing of college football's finest outgoing players. They are punter Reid Forrest and offensive lineman Zack Williams..

The goal of the combine's selection committee is to invite every player -- 300 -- that will be drafted in the ensuing NFL Draft. It's not a perfect science, but at the very least it's a positive first step for Forrest and Williams.

FOR THE SUPERSTITIOUS AMONG US, word that WSU will cap its spring season by playing the Crimson & Gray Game in Spokane is welcome news. The last time WSU played the game in Spokane, 2001, the Cougs were coming off a hopeful, but losing, season and then proceeded to win 10 games -- the first of three-straight 10-win seasons. Top performers in that 2001 spring game at Albi Stadium included Jason Gesser, Matt Kegel, Mike Bush, Aaron Wagner and Billy Newman.

JOHN McDONELL, AN assistant football coach for Mike Price at Washington State from 1989-2000, has been reunited with former Cougars assistant Robb Akey at Idaho.Akey, Idaho's head coach, announced Tuesday that McDonell will coach the Vandals' offensive line. Akey coached at WSU from 1999-2006.

McDonell, who starred at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane and Carroll College in Helena, Mont., coached at Memphis last season. He's also spent time at Stanford, Notre Dame, Purdue and Bowling Green since leaving Washington State.

Another former WSU assistant, Mike Walker, was recently named defensive line coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Walker coached the D line at rival Edmonton (where he once starred) last season.

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