4-star wideout suddenly has WSU in his top 3

THE LONG ARM of Mike Leach and his pass-happy offense continues to create surprises on the recruiting front. Four-star receiving prospect Kenny Lawler, who announced a final four list of colleges two weeks ago that didn't include Washington State, says the Cougars are now among his final three and that plans are underway to schedule an official visit to Pullman.

Lawler, a 6-3, 185-pounder from Upland, Calif., is the No. 43-ranked prep prospect in the nation.

WSU has seemingly gone from nowhere on the radar two weeks ago to now leap-frogging UCLA and Michigan State on his short-list.

Lawler said he received a scholarship offer from the Cougars while he was representing the South, in the Cal-State game last month. "They called to offer me while I was in Fresno for the All-Star game, it was a couple days before Christmas," said Lawler. "I talked to their new head coach, Mike Leach. He seems like a really cool guy. I am impressed by the records he set at Texas Tech, he led the nation in receiving yards."

Lawler plans to visit the Cougars this month before making his final decision, which he says will be announced no later than LOI signing day.

"I am now focusing on Oregon State, Oklahoma State and Washington State," said Lawler.

Cal, who was Lawler's number-one pick only a couple weeks ago, appears to no longer be in the running, but because of their choosing rather than Lawler's.

"I am supposed to be taking an official to Berkeley on Jan. 20th but I am not sure if that is still happening, because I think they are now done recruiting the receiver position, after Jordan Payton committed over the weekend," said Lawler. "The coaches told me they were taking six receivers in this class, and Payton brought the total to six. So I think they are done, but I am not sure, so I am waiting to hear from them."

The school that has consistently been in the mix of Lawler's top picks is Oregon State, which is also where Lawler is headed for a official trip this coming weekend.

"I have already taken an unofficial out there and I really liked it," said Lawler. "They have a great coaching staff. I have a close relationship with their wide receivers coach, Brent Brennan, who I talk to the most. He is a really cool guy."

Oklahoma State is another one of Lawler's top options, even though he has not yet secured a solid offer from the Cowboys.

"They want me to come out there for an official, so I am in the process of scheduling that, which will be sometime this month," said Lawler. "They have a solid reputation for putting players into the NFL. This year at the receiver position, they had Justin Blackmon, who is going to be a top-10 draft pick," explained Lawler. "I also have a good relationship with their wide receivers coach, Kasey Dunn. He is a cool guy. They have a good team and a great program."

Dunn, by the way, was an assistant coach at WSU under Mike Price.

Lawler's 4-star ranking is one backed up by the assessments of college coaches. In addition to the schools named above, he also received offers from Washington, Arizona. Arizona State, Nebraska and SMU.

THE WIDE RECEIVER POSITION is one that is a major point of emphasis in Leach's first class at WSU. The Cougs have verbal commitments from three, and this weekend are expected to host another four who have been offered scholies. CF.C will have a full report on this weekend's visit list on Friday.

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