Aggression makes WSU grayshirt one to watch

WITH THE bridge program at Washington State geared to start up later this month, an influx of incoming freshmen will arrive in Pullman early and jump start their collegiate careers both in the classroom and in offseason workouts. One of the 2012 o-line commits in WSU's incoming class, however, won't be among them. But his next several months figure to be just as busy.

Nooksack Valley's B.J. Salmonson (6-5, 265) will instead delay enrollment, a process known as grayshirting. But Salmonson has embraced the thought of arriving in Pullman in January following his conversations with head man Mike Leach and offensive line coach Clay McGuire.

"I talked with both of them and they thought it would be a perfect choice for me because I need to get a little bigger," Salmonson said. "I think overall it will be a big advantage because I have an extra year to work out and get stronger."

He may be arriving later but the tools, McGuire told CF.C, are there. After watching Salmonson's game film, McGuire said he knew Salmonson could fit nicely into his offensive line system – in large part because of his tenacity.

"He's just a good football player," McGuire said. "He's aggressive and a tough kid who played hard and physical at his level."

Salmonson, who was originally recruited by the former staff, was also planning on grayshirting under former coach Paul Wulff.

And there's always going to be plenty of discussion when a player comes into the Pac-12 from a smaller school -- in Salmonson's case the 1A level. The vast majority of in-state talent offered at the Pac-12 level comes from the 3A and 4A levels.

"Not really," McGuire said when asked if coming from 1A matters. "Small school guys typically play everything in high school so they're well rounded. Sometimes they are behind in the weight room because they don't focus on one sport but they're usually just as good."

SALMONSON ALSO HAD a solid season in track and field. Salmonson capped off his career with the Pioneers with an 11th place finish in the shot put at the 1A state track meet at EWU last weekend.

Salmonson said he will now turn his attention to the workout regimen WSU sent him. McGuire said that once the letters of intent are signed, the staff can then send out workouts to the players for them to use at home. He added that although coaches obviously can't monitor the work they're doing, the conditioning plan usually has guys much more ready to come in and compete when they arrive in January.

Although Salmonson didn't go into detail on the specific workouts, he did note that he is quickly learning the difference between working out at the high school and college levels.

"It's way different than what I've been doing," Salmonson said. "It's more reps and a lot heavier weight that what I'm used to."

ALTHOUGH HIS COUNTDOWN to Pullman may be over six months away, Salmonson told CF.C the thought of working out all summer and heading out to the Palouse is something he thinks about daily.

"Oh I'm really excited," Salmonson said. "I just can't wait to start up football again. I'll be up there next spring and I'll be able to show what I can do."

McGuire has been keeping busy since spring ball ended both in recruiting and assessing the offensive lines' performance from the 15-practice spring session. CF.C asked him for the biggest positive and negative he's gleaned from his evaluation of the o-line.

Positive: "I would say biggest positive is these kids are really willing. They're a smart group and they picked up our system. They've been willing to do everything we ask and have worked hard so far in the summer conditioning."

Negative: "The biggest negative would be at times in the spring we couldn't sustain consistency. We'd play for 20 plays then have a meltdown for 5-10. Consistency throughout would be the biggest negative these guys had."

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