Cougs back in Florida for Class of 2012

PULLMAN — It's no secret Paul Wulff has expanded the Cougar football recruiting map down to Florida. With four Floridians in the 2011 class, and rave reviews already coming in on the three who arrived early, WSU is back at it for the 2012 recruiting cycle. Here are five Floridians in the Cougar orbit you might not yet know about, and insight to why WSU is enjoying success in the Sunshine State.

Among the Florida prospects on Wazzu's radar, CF.C has uncovered a monstrous offensive tackle who has picked up a crimson offer. Blake Fromang out of Orlando's Lake Highland Prep is expected to play at left tackle in college. He's 6-8, 280 pounds and still runs a 5.1 in the 40.

Orlando area recruit Lucas Thompson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety/linebacker prospect, has also been offered by Washington State, the Orlando Sentinel reported recently.

Others in the state who who are being recruited by the Cougs and who could earn offers at some point include RB Omari Albert (Wekiva High), WR Synjohn Lilly (Apopka High), and CB Michael Ellis Marder (Lake Highland Prep).

Albert played last season in Dee Hart's shadow, (who signed with Alabama), but still rushed for over 800 yards. Lilly is a burner who runs in the 4.4 range in the 40, has clocked a 3.9 shuttle and has a 39-inch vertical. But Apopka is a running team. Marder recently had a top notch showing at the BadgerSport 7on7 in Tampa.

So what about that WSU-Florida pipeline? The Cougs pulled four from Florida last year in WR Henry Eaddy, LB Darryl Monroe, WR Isiah Myers and CB Spencer Waseem.

There's a recruiting dynamic in play in Central Florida that works in WSU's favor, says Lo Wood, who operates a personal training company in the Central Florida region called Excel Speed and Fitness training that helps prospects mold their game for the next level.

"If you don't have an offer, schools in the ACC and the SEC won't want you," said Wood, who was in Pullman last week catching up with Myers, who is his stepson. "But if you bring a school like Washington State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and now Indiana, they come down and say give me a kid who has good characteristics, has the grades, has the ability to play D-1 football and I'll offer them right now."

Wood operates his personal training company with Aaron Jones, a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1990.

"Our training is like NFL training," Wood said. "When you leave here and get to college, nothing can faze you. Kids leave our speed training programs and to this very day out of maybe 60 kids, there may have been 10 that didn't play as freshman."

Wood, whose son Lo Wood Jr. plays for Notre Dame, said the WSU staff has resonated with Central Florida recruits and their families, particularly those new to the recruiting process, because they're "good people." And because they don't get too overly caught up in the stat- and numbers game.

"If you're not running a 4.4, (other schools) think you're not worthy to a certain degree," Wood said. "Ask yourself though, did Jerry Rice run a 4.4? Did Chris Carter run a 4.4? What's the difference?"

With Wulff's recruiting success in Florida, Wood also says that will affect a change in Cougar recruiting overall.

"Coach Wulff is going to make some great changes because he's stepping out there and getting some Florida boys," Wood said. "He's getting on the plane and traveling thousands of miles to give these boys the opportunity.

"When kids from Central Florida start committing to Washington State, kids from Washington or California are not going to be able to sit and wait…now with Florida coming into play, these kids won't be able to wait anymore because they will figure out if they don't, these Florida boys will grab (the scholarships)."

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