Cougs making recruiting push at nose guard

THE LAST THREE weeks on the Washington State recruiting trail have made something obvious even more obvious: Cougar nose guard Anthony Laurenzi is graduating after this coming season. And his expected backup, Ioane Gauta, is a junior. In other words, the Cougs need to start stocking the pipeline to this highly critical position in their 3-4 defense.

To that end, WSU has made scholarship offers in the last three weeks to at least three nose guard prospects.

Two are junior college sophomores-to-be who played high school ball together in North Miami and the other is a high school senior-to-be from the Bay Area.

  • Edwin Delva (6-3, 295) was offered by the Cougars this week. He posted nine tackles for loss this past season as a freshman at Antelope Valley College north of Los Angeles. He plans to graduate in December, giving him three years to play two at the FBS level. In addition to WSU, he has offers from Texas A&M, Oregon State, Tennessee, Purdue and others.

  • Deonte Reynolds, a 6-5, 295 pounder from Pinole Valley High north of Berkeley, was offered by WSU last week. He also has an offer from Washington and is hearing from Oregon and Colorado.

  • And three weeks ago WSU extended an offer to Abens Cajuste (6-3, 305) of Victor Valley College northwest of Los Angeles. He prepped at North Miami High with Delva and spent a redshirt freshman year at FCS school Central Connecticut State before moving to the JC ranks last season. He also has offers from Arizona, Purdue, Kansas, Kansas State and others. He'll have two to play two.

    In all, WSU has made 11 known offers in this recruiting cycle to players classifies as defensive tackles. Here is the complete list of the DTs the Cougs are looking at.

    WSU's emphasis on the nose guard position stems from the 3-4 base defense the Cougars will be running under coordinator Mike Breske. Earlier this spring he told that it's imperative for the D to have a true "road grader" at the nose. By that he means guys in the 6-3, 300-pound range who play the A gap (between center and guard), can handle double teams on every play, and possesses the agility to chase backs down the line of scrimmage.

    Laurenzi and Gauta fit the description nicely, said Breske. Laurenzi is 6-3, 290. Gauta, who is expected to arrive in Pullman from Fullerton JC in a couple of weeks, is 6-3 ½, 310.

    Breske this spring singled out Laurenzi and Gauta as the primary men in the middle for 2012. That would suggest that third-year sophomore-to-be Kalafitoni Pole mostly will be in a back up role barring a big surge in summer workouts and in fall camp.

    Also in the mix this fall at the nose will be incoming freshman Robert Barber (6-3, 290). It's a lot to ask of a true freshman nose tackle to come in ready to rock at the Pac-12 level so a redshirt may be in the offing for him.

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