Indeed, Eric Russell is continuing to put his recruiting stamp on California and one prep prospect he's developed a strong bond with is El Cerrito High CB Marcellus Pippins.
Pippins, rated three stars and the No. 79 corner in the land by Scout.com, committed to Utah back on Oct. 10. But he said he'll "definitely" trip to Washington State in January, exact date to be determined.
"I like how they're a young squad with players who are just know starting to get to know each other," Pippins said of Wazzu. "Everything is still fresh for them, but they have a lot of potential for next year and the following years as well. I haven't been up there yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the program has to offer."
Pippins holds scholarship offers from UCLA, ASU, Fresno State, San Diego State and others in addition to WSU and Utah. He said he doesn't plan on taking any other officials visits after Washington State and is down to Utah and the Cougs.
"It's a very strong commitment," Pippins said of Utah. "They were the first school to offer me and I took my visit down there already and I liked it a lot. Their environment around the school and community is great. The whole team is close together like a family and that really stuck out to me.
"I'm still interested in Washington State though and look forward to my visit."
The Cougs have been recruiting Pippins since the early summer and extended the scholarship offer to the 5-10, 175-pounder in late August. WSU under defensive coordinator Mike Breske has generally gone after tall corners, 6-foot or better, but Pippins is an exception to that trend. He said he and Russell have talked about him being a part of building the program and that Pippins could contribute in several ways in 2013.
For El Cerrito, Pippins was a standout on both defense and special teams. He was recently named to the All-East Bay First-Team defense by the Mercury News.
"They want me to come in and play corner, but Coach Russell said I can make a big difference as a kick returner and punt returner as well because I'm such a good athlete," Pippins said. "Their players are young and getting situated with the new system and he said I can come in and help them build towards the future. He's a great guy and I really enjoy talking to him about football. We have a good relationship."
In addition to Russell, Pippins, like many other recruits, said the thought of playing for head coach Mike Leach has also drawn the interest of him and his family.
"He just seems like a really good coach and I like that he's straight forward," Pippins said. "That's the kind of coaching style that I like playing for. It's what I've been used to since I first started playing football as a kid. I think it could be a good fit for me."
Pippins is planning on waiting until after he takes his visit to Pullman before making his final decision. He added that he's hoping to make the final-final call by late January.
Pac-12 commit will visit Wazzu
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