WSU letters turn head of 4-star LB

HE'S ONE OF the top linebacker prospects in the West region. Ranked a four-star recruit and the 12th best middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com, he's receiving early interest from a bevy of schools, including Washington State. Indeed, the Cougars made a strong impression on Lazarus a few days ago, and he's digging it.

The Cougs certainly aren't short on effort when it comes to his recruitment. A few days ago, Michael Lazarus reported on his Twitter account that he received 23 handwritten letters from Washington State coaches -- in one afternoon.

"That's love right there," Lazarus said. "I received a few others letters that day -- but 23 from Washington State."

At 6-2, 215 pounds, the Berkeley, Calif. junior already offers the size and speed needed to play D-I football, and he has a frame that will support a lot more mass. He holds offers from his hometown Cal Bears as well as Washington State, and says a few schools are sticking out early.

"Cal is definitely sticking out. UCLA and USC are looking good. Washington State is sticking out a lot too," Lazarus said.

LAZARUS SAID WASHINGTON STATE special teams coach Eric Russell will be dropping by Berkley High School this week to visit with his coaches at Berkeley High, as will the Arizona State coaches. Lazarus said he's receiving early interest from Alabama, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Tennessee, Mississippi State, as well as the Sun Devils.

"My recruitment is really just starting up," Lazarus said. "I wouldn't say I necessarily have a leader at this point."

Staying home won't be a big factor for Lazarus, even though he resides in Cal's backyard. Focusing on education and family, Lazarus wants to find a place he can come in and play right away, making an impact for his team. He added he wants to major in environmental science, a strong field at Washington State.

"I want to play somewhere we I can be a leader and make plays for three or four years," Lazarus said. "I want coaches to know I can come in and be a playmaker and a leader right away."

THE NORTHERN California quartet of Lazarus, cornerback Adarius Pickett, running back Joe Mixon and fellow linebacker D.J. Calhoun have been talking about going to school together and wreaking havoc on the Pac-12. Every one of them are ranked four-stars or higher.

Washington State has offered all four prospects.

"Playing together will definitely be an asset in deciding where I choose," Lazarus said. "We're all real close."

Washington State also has another factor in its favor.

"I actually know Rickey Galvin really well," Lazarus said. "He's kind of family."

LAZARUS SAID IT'S still very early the recruiting cycle, and he's not sure when he'll take some visits – or to where.

"I might be taking an unofficial visit up there (to WSU)," Lazarus said. "I don't know if my guys would all come with me."

For now, Lazarus will focus on offseason workouts, different summer camps and weighing his options. But he made a point to send Cougar Nation a message.

"Shout out to the Cougs though," Lazarus said. "Thanks for all the support you've already shown. Go Cougs!"

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