In-state QB high on Cougars, WSU junior day

KOLNEY CASSEL, a promising quarterback prospect from Yakima, was thrilled to pick up his first scholarship offer last night. But the one he says he'd really like to receive is from the school 230 miles to his east. The reigning Big 9 Co-Offensive Player of the Year will be heading to Washington State tomorrow for Mike Leach's first Junior Day event at WSU. Cassel says WSU is a special place.

Cassel, from Eisenhower High, was offered by SMU on Thursday. He later spent part of Thursday night talking to Mike Leach and area recruiter and linebackers coach Jeff Choate.

"I've wanted to be a Cougar for a long time," said Cassel. "At the same time, I want them to be good again and it obviously also depends on if they want me."

Cassel said he wants to see what the campus and student body are like during his time in Pullman on Saturday, and also hopes to spend as much quality time as possible with Leach, who serves as his own quarterbacks coach.

Cassel and Eisenhower camped at Boise State the past couple of years and he said he and his prep coach forged a relationship with Choate, who left BSU this offseason to join Leach.

"That opened doors for me with WSU. He and my coach are really close. (Thursday) when I called him we just talked about Pullman. Then he handed the phone to Mike Leach and we talked about WSU a bit and that I had just been offered by SMU," said Cassel.

CASSEL THREW FOR 2,697 yards and 27 TDs against just 6 INTs this past season as a junior. His two year totals at Eisenhower: 3,840 yards, 40 TDs and 14 INTs with a career passer rating of 109.23.

He was among those named to the Northwest Nuggets In Waiting list by the Tacoma News Tribune for 2013.

"I'm more of a pocket passer, I don't get out and run around a lot. I think Mike Leach's offense would really fit me well. WSU has everything I'm looking for. I want to be a Coug. I also want to see if I like it there this weekend, if it's (the right fit)," said Cassel.

STILL, THERE ARE other schools he's interested in, said Cassel. In addition to the SMU offer, four other Pac-12 programs besides Wazzu are showing early interest.

Cassel's QB mentor is Chris Miller, the former Oregon quarterback and 11-year NFL pro who served as South Eugene High coach from 2001-06. Taylor Barton, who runs a series of camps in the Northwest, and Miller have both told Cassel Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Colorado have all inquired.

NOTABLE NOTE: Northwest Recruiting Analyst Chris Fetters saw Cassel this past summer and tells CF.C he came away thinking he had the strongest arm in the state for the 2013 class.

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