Notes from the Cougar recruiting trail

LITTLE DID Cedric Dozier know that he was opening the door, albeit just a crack, to history this past weekend when he said he might take an official visit to Washington State.

One of the top-rated prep prospects in the state of Washington, this 4-star cornerback from Lakes High committed verbally to Cal in October but told Dawgman.com the other day that with two of Cal's defensive assistant coaches moving to Washington, he might just rethink his college plans and take trips to UW and WSU.

Dozier is rated the 24th-best corner prospect in the nation. He also is one of only five seniors in the state of Washington to hold a 4- or 5-star rating from Scout.com. The others are Puyallup lineman Joshua Garnett (who has narrowed his list to Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford); Everett running back Keivarae Russell (Notre Dame verbal); Lakes lineman Zach Banner (down to USC, Oklahoma and UW); and Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist (UW verbal).

Here's where the historic footnote comes into play: If Dozier did indeed wind up signing with WSU he would become just the sixth 4- or 5-star prospect from the Evergreen State to sign with WSU in the last 11 seasons. He would join a small fraternity composed of Aaron Dunn (2010), Gino Simone (2009), Andy Mattingly (2006), Carl Bonnell (2002) and Cody Boyd (2002). Of note: Bonnell, better known in these parts as Benedict Bonnell, signed with WSU, grayshirted, and then defected to the siren call of Rick Neuheisel a year later.

Since 2002, the state of Washington has produced 45 prep prospects who earned a 4- or 5-star rating from Scout. Of those 45, only the five listed above (a collective 11 percent of the total) signed with WSU. Washington, meanwhile, nabbed 25 of them (55 percent), and could perhaps grow their total to 27 depending on how this current recycle winds up. The rest have gone to Cal, Stanford, Oregon, BYU and a variety of others.

All 45 blue chippers didn't turn out to be the best of the lot, of course. In fact, a huge number of them were complete busts (the likes of Craig Chambers, Leon Jackson and Chris Izbicki anyone?).

I love to point to WSU's recruiting classes of the late-90s and early-2000s as classic examples of why the star system isn't fool proof. The following in-state players were all one- and two-star "no names" in those days: Erik Coleman, Calvin Armstrong, Derrick Roche, Will Derting, Scott Davis, D.D. Acholonu, Marcus Trufant, Rien Long and Mkristo Bruce.

Fact is though, this time of year everyone is looking at the number of stars next to the names. So when a kid like Cedric Dozier says he might be looking anew at Ol' Wazzu, it's not only cause to take note, but a chance to ponder the notion of making a little history!

ELSEWHERE ON THE RECRUITING FRONT ...

  • Four-star Upland, Calif., receiver Kenny Lawler, who recently elevated WSU into his top three schools, tripped to Oregon State this past weekend and raved about the experience in an interview with Tara Turnure of Scout.com. In addition, Mike Riley was due for an in-home visit with him yesterday. All that, coupled with this quote -- "I have to talk with the Oklahoma State coaches this week and confirm whether or not I am going out there for an official next weekend. If I don't, I will take a trip to Washington State" -- suggests he's close to a done deal for the Beavs.

  • Of the nine pre-Mike Leach WSU verbal commits that have been, for lack of a better term, let go, a look at the schools that they're now considering indicates that most of them might have been long-term investments. Other than Terrrell Davis, who is headed to Arizona State, the rest are looking at or committed to such schools as North Dakota State, North Texas, Jackson State, Northeastern, UTEP, San Jose State, Fresno State and Wyoming. My guess is that Leach and his staff looked at these athletes and believed they could find others who are closer to playing at the Pac-12 level.

  • Just when you think you have a great read on all the prospects in the WSU orbit one comes out of left field. Or in this case, out of the South Pacific. A report from a UW recruiting site said that tight end Destiny Vaeao of American Samoa tripped to WSU over the weekend. CF.C is tracking him down for insight, and will bring that story to you as soon as we do.

  • A Cougfan.com tradition over the last decade will continue on Letter of Intent Signing Day when David Emerick, WSU's new recruiting coordinator, will join CF.C subscribers in a Chat Room discussion. LOI Day is Feb. 1. We haven't settled on a time yet, but mark your calendars. David will be following in the footsteps of Robin Pflugrad, Greg Peterson and Rich Rasmussen, previous WSU recruiting coordinators who jumped into the Chat Room on LOI Day.


  • Cougfan Top Stories