High WSU graduation rate big for CB prospect

WITH THE COUGS graduating lots of defensive backs after this season, it opens up a window for young players to push for a starting spot in 2014 -- and that includes true freshmen. Alabama cornerback Patrick Porter tells CF.C he is highly aware of that. He also mentioned two things that have really stuck out to him about WSU, plus more about the official visit he'll take to the Palouse.

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The WSU coaches have showcased this recruiting cycle that they're willing to travel far and wide to find future Cougs who provide the right fit. This includes Cottondale, Ala., where Porter excels for Paul W Bryant High. Porter, who has double-digit offers, landed a WSU schollie last week and said it was a big one.

"I have to be honest with you, I was pretty shocked," Porter said. "I hadn't talked with their coaches in a while and then they called and asked if I was interested in the school. I said, 'Of course,' and they offered me to come play cornerback for them.

"When I spoke with their defensive coaches, they said five guys are graduating and because I'm an outstanding player, I'm the kind of guy who could come in right away and play. That's big for me."

There's something else that has stuck out to Porter about the WSU program.

"My big thing is academics and they told me Coach Mike Leach has a very high graduation rate," Porter said. "All five of their defensive backs are not only playing, but also graduating from college. When I get to a college, I want to focus on my academics and not just be a football player."

PORTER HOLDS OFFERS from Cincinnati, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, North Carolina and several others. He said he hopes to take all five of his official visits, but only has two that he knows he'll take for sure -- Miami and Washington State.

"I'm still working on setting up a date with Miami, but I'll be at Washington State on Nov. 23," Porter said. "I'm already looking forward to that trip. My grandma used to live in Washington, but I haven't been up there since I was in the fifth grade. It'll be fun to get back up to the state and check out the campus."

The 6-0, 170-pounder added that distance won't be a factor for him. Beyond that, he isn't sure of when he will make a decision but it looks to be well down the road.

IN ADDITION TO PORTER several other defensive back prospects have already confirmed with CF.C that they will also be in Pullman on Nov. 23 for official visits.

• CB Denzel Fisher (6-2, 170) had WSU as a favorite in his recruitment for several months, but jumped at an offer from UCLA and committed over the summer. However, Fisher is taking other official visits and says he too will see the Cougs take on Utah. Fisher is rated three-stars and the 40th best CB in the land by Scout.com.

• CB Naijiel Hale committed to Arizona over the summer, but similar to Fisher, he is also taking other official visits. Hale is rated four-stars and the 22nd best CB by Scout.com. He holds double-digit offers, which includes Arizona, WSU, Utah, Arizona State, Nebraska, Cal and several others. Hale checks in at 5-11, 170.

• Safety Darren Gardenhire committed to San Jose State late in the summer, but has seen his recruitment pick up substantially as of late. The 6-1, 200-pounder added offers from Boise State, Utah and Washington State over the last two weeks. Gardenhire tripped to Utah last weekend and will be in Boise this weekend before tripping to Pullman on Nov. 23.

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