Wazzu verbal still beaming over USC upset

SURE, IT WAS nearly two weeks ago, but future Cougar wide receiver Zaire Andre is still beaming over that night in the LA Coliseum. While sitting amongst the USC partisans, Andre, his father and uncle watched the Cougs knock off then-No. 25 Southern Cal. And Andre, from Inglewood, says that WSU victory has had a significant effect on his recruitment.

Andre on Sept. 7 was in the stands, surrounded by Trojan fans lustily booing 'SC head coach Lane Kiffin. But he saw something special happening on the field for Washington State. The win has been called a game-changer for the WSU program under Mike Leach, and that extends to recruiting.

"Man, I was at the stadium and seeing them go down there and play so well, (it) was huge for me," Andre said. "You could see how confident they were. Seeing them win against a team like USC, on the road, proved to me that Washington State is a team on the rise and they can compete with anybody.

"The coaches have been telling me that they're a team turning the corner and that win shows they're backing up what they've been talking about."

THERE WAS ONE specific thing about that victory that the three-star prospect said made him realize he made the right decision in committing to Washington State.

"With Washington State, guys can go in early and compete for playing time," he said. "Seeing (CB) Daquawn Brown do so well as a freshman was big for me. I feel like I could go in and make plays for the team as well."

So what did the win over 'SC do for Andre's verbal pledge to the Cougs?

"Everything is going good right now with WSU and my commitment is solid," Andre said. "Like I said, that USC win made a big impact on me and they're a great passing offense in the Pac-12 coming up.

"I was thinking about taking some other official visits, but I don't have anything planned. I wanted to go to Houston, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do that anymore. I was also thinking about going to Nebraska, but I decided I'm not going to take that trip."

ANDRE GAVE HIS verbal commitment to Washington State back in late May, sight unseen. That will change this weekend as he'll trip to Wazzu to see the Cougs take on Idaho.

"I'm really excited to get up there," Andre said. "I just want to see what Pullman is like and see the facilities and campus. I want to get a good feel and vibe about how life would be at Washington State."

The 6-0, 170-pounder chose WSU over offers from Nebraska, Houston, Nevada, Wyoming and San Jose State. He's continued to speak often with the Cougar coaches, leading up to his visit, and said his relationship with the staff is also a big reason as to why his commitment is firm with Wazzu.

"I talk with Coach Mike Leach, Coach Dennis Simmons and Coach David Yost," Andre said. "I'd say I talk with Coach Simmons the most, though, since he's my position coach. We have a cool relationship going right now. He's the kind of guy where we can talk about a lot of things and not just football."

And as with Brown and other Cougs on the roster this year and last, Andre knows true freshmen can play early under Leach -- as long as they earn it.

"(Simmons) has been telling me about how when I get up there, I can fit into the offense right away. The coaches as a whole are excited to get me up there and I'm hoping I can go in and play for them right away," said Andre.

Zaire Andre's junior highlights:

Cougfan Top Stories