4-star d-line prospect eyes Apple Cup visit

HE'S A 4-star specimen on the defensive line who has given junior college o-linemen fits this season. At 6-3, 310-pounds, he holds over 40 scholarship offers but is down to seven schools, one of which is Washington State. He tells CF.C there's a big reason why he'll be in Pullman this weekend for the Apple Cup and his official visit to Wazzu.

Sophomore Marquel Combs out of Pierce College in Los Angeles is regarded as one of the top JC defensive linemen in the country. He's been hearing from the Washington State coaches since early last spring. His relationship with the Cougar staff, he said, is the driving force behind his decision to skip some of the Thanksgiving day festivities with his family and take in the Apple Cup this weekend in Pullman.

"I've been talking with the coaches for a long time and I have a great relationship with all of them," Combs said. "I talk with Coach Leach, Coach (Paul) Volero and Coach (Dennis) Simmons and they've told me they like my style of play. I can see that they're an upcoming program and that interests me."

Combs, a graduate of Hamilton High in Memphis, Tenn., has developed a strong bond with Simmons, his area recruiter.

"He's from the Memphis area so we've had a connection there and we talk a lot about stuff back home," Combs said. "We've talked about Washington State as well and he's told me that I need to come check it out for myself.

Another factor in his decision to trip to Pullman this weekend is his growing relationship with WSU wide receiver soft verbal commit Vince Mayle. Mayle, who committed to Washington State on Nov. 9, will also be in Pullman this weekend for his official and has been in Combs' ear telling him about the future at Wazzu.

"Vince is my boy," Combs said. "He's been telling me for a while that I needed to take the visit with him. Washington State is in my top seven and with Vince telling me great things about the school and me being cool with the staff, I decided I wanted to check it out."

The Cougars are recruiting Combs as a nose tackle and told him they like his physical style up play up front. Although 310 pounds, he runs the 40 yard dash in 4.9 seconds and benches 320 pounds.

"I'm a dominant force and I just like to play ball," Combs said. "I can't say I'm a pass rusher or a run stopper. I like to do it all so I don't label myself as a one dimensional player."

Combs arrives to Pullman late Thursday night and will return home to L.A. late Saturday. He will take in the Apple Cup on Friday, but said he wasn't sure what to expect.

"I'm not even really sure what the Apple Cup is," Combs quipped. "I just want to have a good time and enjoy myself. I'm excited about the whole trip and I'm looking forward to talking with Coach Leach. He's a great guy and I love the way he coaches."

Combs, who will graduate in December, has WSU, Kansas, Kansas State, California, Iowa State, Oregon State and Michigan State in his top seven. Early playing time will play a key role on which college he decides to commit to, Combs said.

"I've been told I can come in and play early, but a lot of schools are telling me the same thing," Combs said. "I need to go check out the talent for myself and see what schools have there. Playing time is the most important thing for JC players. You only have two years to play coming from a junior college, so why sit on the bench. I want to see the field and make a difference right away."

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