Why new Coug duo's potential is so high

RECRUITING IS ALWAYS about potential and projection, but the degree varies. Nowhere is it more a factor than for a pair of new Cougs – just as it was for two who came before them in the previous WSU class. CF.C has pegged a half dozen in the new signing class as its sleepers. At the front of the line is a defensive line duo from 5,000 miles away.

In a sense, football remains old school out in American Samoa. The fields are not well groomed. The equipment is old. But the potential recruiting finds that exist there are extraordinary.

Players in American Samoa are very raw, they haven't been schooled in technique. They are big-boned, naturally strong prospects, but they haven't been in a real weight training program. Their diet is oftentimes lacking.

But the potential…

NEW COUGAR NT Daniel Etuale has been gone from American Samoa for a year, and he's found the weight room in that time. He checks in at 6-4, 290. He's the rarity.

New Cougar DE Emmitt Su'a-Kalio is also 6-4, and he weighs 250 pounds. That's not light, by any means, but he is nowhere close to where he's going to be physically after a couple seasons in the WSU program.

They are raw, big and athletic and haven't been coached much -- they move so well for as big as they are, it all adds up to one thing.

Huge, huge potential.

THE COUGAR COACHES WERE extremely happy with the two American Samoa recruits from the previous class – Destiny Vaeao and Robert Barber. Vaeao was good enough to get some turns as a true freshman. He might be in for a breakout, corner-turning sophomore season. Barber unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury in fall camp. But his ceiling remains sky high.

It will be a learning process for the two new Cougs, now that they're signed and entering a Pac-12 program. How fast they climb the ladder will be how quickly they assimilate the technique and teachings of WSU d-line coach Joe Salave'a.

But as far as potential goes, you'd be hard pressed to find greater.

FOUR OTHERS MAKE our list of sleepers.

Darius Lemora could come in and turn heads the way Deone Bucannon did a few years back. He's a great athlete but because he broke his leg his junior year, schools focused on other prospects during that critical evaluation period. Except Washington State. Lemora played a safety/linebacker role as a senior. "I'm a run-first guy now, but I can still cover," Lemora told the Port Arthur News. "I can step up, make a hit or if the line or tackle steps back, I can drop back, collision No. 2 and put my eyes straight to No. 1. All I'm doing is covering, curl to flat or being a seam player. It's not hard."

You hear the word "athleticism" so much it's hard not to get desensitized to it. But Charleston White is a three sport athlete, and he excels at all of them. Now that he'll focus on football, he figures to reach new heights. Based on the fact WSU listed him as a defensive back, his athleticism is such that he figures to play corner or safety rather than receiver at Washington State. Because he has fluid hips, our guess is corner.

It's hard to classify three-star prospects as sleepers but Cole Madison and Matt Meyer didn't have as much press in some quarters as some of their fellow three-star o-line brethren this cycle. They should have. Meyer is another three-sport athlete, a 6-6, 290-pound guy really shouldn't be able to move like he does. Madison offers lots of intrigue because he hasn't come close to filling out his 6-6, 270-pound frame.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Football was introduced in American Samoa in the 1960s.

  • More than 200-plus American Samoans now dot Division I college rosters.

  • While American Samoa's population is expected to remain relatively steady, the number of American Samoans playing college football could be about to take off in coming years. Pop Warner has now gotten a toe hold in recent years there. The players you're seeing now, as well as those who came before them, many of them didn't pick up football until high school.

  • Here's some video of Su'a-Kalio we were able to find: http://vimeo.com/52144074

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