"We like tall guys because you can't put on height. You can put on weight and strength, but not height," he said, noting that athletic kids with the vertical advantage can fill a variety of roles --- tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle or offensive line.
So it's probably no surprise that the Cougars' 2002 recruiting campaign was inaugurated with a verbal commitment from --- you guessed it --- a tall defensive end/tight end type, and that three other of WSU's early summer targets are --- you guessed it --- tall defensive end/tight end types.
The launch verbal commitment came from Adam Braidwood, a much-lauded 6-4, 223-pounder from British Columbia. He starred at the NIKE camp in Eugene earlier this year and at Price's Cougar camp in late June. Greg Biggins at PacWest.com rates him one of the top DE prospects on the West Coast and calls Braidwood a "high motor player who can get around the edge" as well as explode off the snap. He runs the 40 in 4.81seconds and vertical jumps 30 inches.
Meanwhile, at least three of Price's early-offer targets fit the same general mold as Braidwood: Jordan Reffet (6-6, 245) of Moses Lake; DeMar Baisy (6-5, 225) of Seattle's Rainier Beach High; and Jesse Taylor (6-4, 240) from Chaminade, Calif.
Biggins considers Taylor "easily one of the top tight end prospects on the West Coast." Well built, fleet of foot and a competitor supreme, he plays both TE and middle linebacker, but his soft hands are sure to make him a lock for immediate playing time as a college tight end. Besides WSU, he's being wooed heavily by Oregon State and Utah, with UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Colorado lurking.
Reffet reportedly has offers so far from WSU and Idaho. But based on his efforts at the recent Husky camp, he should be in line for one from Rick Neuheisel as well, according to Ruth Robbins of Realdawg.com. He runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds and plays both DE and TE.
Like Braidwood, Baisy was at the Cougar camp in late June and saw time at both outside linebacker and tight end. Also a hoops standout, he runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, vertical jumps 34 inches and bench presses 325 pounds. His uncle is former Husky mainstay Cookie Jackson.
Braidwood's early commitment to WSU, by the way, sounds like a match made in grid heaven. "They are a great group of coaches and the athletic facilities are incredible," said Adam's dad, Bill, in an interview with PacWest Recruiting. "Adam really hit it off with the whole staff and he loved the campus and the football program. He didn't see any reason to put off the decision since Washington State had everything he was looking for."
THE CALL OF THE QBs
To be sure, the DE/TE types are not the only focus of Price's efforts this recruiting season. In fact, despite landing two standout QBs in his last recruiting class --- Chris Hurd and Josh Swogger --- it appears Price is sticking to his age-old philosophy of landing a QB in every recruiting class. Three prep signal callers are reported to have received 2002 offers from WSU: Isaiah Stanback (6-3, 190) of Seattle's Garfield High; Matt Guiterrez (6-4, 200) of Concord, Calif.; and Carl Bonnell (6-3, 192) of Kentwood High in South King County.
Stanback, a running/passing dynamo who recently earned MVP honors at the USC football camp, is said to be leaning toward the Trojans and UCLA with hopes of drawing an offer from Michigan as well. Bonnell threw for 1,700 yards and 16 TDs last season and has turned in stellar performances at four camps/combines this spring and summer, incluidng Price's. He runs the 40 in 4.6. WSU is believed to be his only offer so far, but much of the rest of the Pac-10 is circling. Older brother Raymond Bonnell is a walk-on this season at linebacker.
The strong-armed Guiterrez is recovering from a broken wrist, but that hasn't dampened enthusiasm for him as he has scholarship offers in hand from some of the nation's pass-happiest schools: WSU, Oregon, Oregon State and Miami, among others. He plans to narrow his list to five by summer's end, according to Realdawg.com.
In the case of Stanback and Bonnell, the Cougars could be competing with more than other schools for the lads. Both are standout baseball players as well.
Cougar rookies will report to fall camp on August 3, with the vets checking in a few days later. Hurd will be among the youngsters on hand that day, but Swogger, who is only 17-years-old, will delay his arrival until January, thus putting a year of eligibility between him and Hurd.
The Cougars open the season August 30 in a Thursday night TV game against Idaho. The Sept. 15 contest against Colorado is also slated for live TV.
Did you know that new WSU recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Robin Pflugrad saw, during his tenure at ASU with Bruce Snyder, at least one of his Devil players go within the first five picks of the NFL draft in five successive years?