WSU Recruiting Notebook: Cougs' OV list grows

THE NCAA DEAD PERIOD runs through Jan. 15 but Washington State already shows a growing number of official visitors who will be in town after it opens back up. The list includes DE/LB Patrick Choudja and CB Sulaiman Hameed, who tell CF.C the Cougs are among their top choices. Plus, we have updates on other prospects who hold crimson offers with recruiting's final stretch drive coming up fast.

When BUCK LB prospect Choudja picked up his offer from Washington State earlier this month, the three-star prospect told CF.C it was a big offer for him. Three weeks later, with an official visit date set for Jan. 17, he said he's been thinking a lot about the Cougs.

"It's pretty exciting (to go on the visit) and they're one of my favorite schools right now," Choudja said. "I can't wait to see in person how everything is up there. They're building something great up there at Washington State."

Choudja, who checks in a 6-4, 230-pounds, saw his recruitment take off during the month of November. Both WSU and Arizona State offered him as he turned heads during his senior season, and he also has rides from Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado State and others.

THE FAMILY FEEL and college town atmosphere of Pullman is what has WSU among his leaders, he said. Choudja is from Freedom, Calif., a town of about 3,000 located in Santa Cruz County.

"I've talked with Coach Eric Russell (area recruiter) and he told me how WSU is... where you can focus on football and education," Choudja said. "That sounds like home for me. I like that small-town vibe because that's what I'm used to now.

"Freedom is kind of like a small country town, which sounds like Pullman. It seems like a great place where you can go focus on school and football and stay out of trouble."

Choudja added that he has a strong connection with Russell.

"We stay in contact and we have a great relationship going right now," Russell said. "We met last year and we've been in close contact ever since."

Following his visit to Washington State, Choudja said he will either take a visit to Fresno State or Boise State on Jan. 24. He added that he won't take any trips on Jan. 31 and is hoping to make his decision shortly after his final trip.

MEANWHILE, ALSO VISITING that weekend will be Sulaiman Hameed, a three-star cornerback prospect. The Alameda, Calif. product holds offers from Washington State, Arizona State and UC Davis, and he's also seeing recent interest from the new staff at Washington.

However, Hameed said he's pretty much focusing on the schools that have offered and based on his comments, WSU appears to be in pretty good shape.

"Man, I love the WSU coaches," Hameed said. "Coach Jim Mastro is my area recruiter and we talk quite a bit. I actually called him earlier today (Monday). He said he's really excited for me to go on my visit and show me around campus again."

HAMEED UNOFFICIALLY VISITED Washington State over the summer. He saw the Cougs practice in Lewison before returning to Pullman to check out the campus. It's an experience that still remains fresh in his mind, he said.

"Pullman is a great place and I really enjoyed it out there," Hameed said. "Washington State has a beautiful campus and the layout is great over there. I'm really looking forward to my official visit.

"I like how the coaches are so involved with the players too. It's more about football with them. They care how you do with your academics and they're connected with the players. I get a family vibe from them."

THE 5-11, 175-POUNDER almost certainly would have been more highly recruited but he tore his ACL in practice just before the 2012 season. The injury saw him miss not only the critical camp and combine season before his senior year but also the first four games of 2013. But as the videos below show, he came back very strong at corner and receiver, and also as a quarterback and return man.

He posted 32 tackles defensively in seven games with three pass breakups, earning first team all-league honors despite the abbreviated season.

Hameed said his knee is back to full strength and he feels great out on the gridiron. He added that the Cougs told him they're not looking at him to delay enrollment and arrive the following January, that they want him on campus this summer if he decides to go crimson.

"I know they're graduating a lot of defensive backs, but they've told me they wouldn't want to rush me back on the field if I wasn't ready," Hameed said. "The knee feels great, though. I feel like I could go in and play early, or redshirt if the coaches felt that was best."

Hameed added that he remains in contact with UC Davis and ASU defensive coordinator Chris Ball, who wants him to come to Tempe for an official visit on Jan. 24. Hameed said he is still working out the details on his visit to ASU and nothing has been finalized yet.

ELSEWHERE IN WSU RECRUITING, Lawton, Okla. running back Michael Warren has scheduled his official visit to Washington State. The three-star prospect let CF.C know in a text message that he'll be out on the Palouse on Jan. 24.

Warren, ranked the 77th best RB in the nation by, also holds an offer from Toledo and holds interest from both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Lawton High senior is coming off a breakout season, where he rushed for 2,512 yards and 26 touchdowns.

  • Pomona, Calif. OL/DL Kammy Delp will make his college decision on Jan. 5 at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl. The three-star product, who holds over 15 offers, recently named a top five of WSU, UW, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA.

  • Cottondale, Ala. cornerback Patrick Porter let CF.C know recently that he will be announcing his college decision on Jan. 10 at his high school. Porter added that he will decide between WSU, Miami and Minnesota.

  • Four-star CB Rahshead Johnson recently told CF.C he is down to Washington State and USC. The Long Beach, Calif. prospect, who holds double-digit offers, will make his decision around Jan. 20.

    Many prospects have gone quiet with the holidays here and the dead period underway. Here's the latest on some of the other WSU targets that CF.C has tried to reach and will continue to do so:

  • Bellevue, Wash. DL Marcus Griffin is at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl this week. Griffin recently told CF.C he'll trip to Cal on Jan. 17. There is word that Griffin could also trip to UW on Jan. 24 with Bellevue High teammate and Oregon State commit Shane Bowman.

  • Four-star OL Kaleb McGary raved about his trip to WSU earlier this month and said the Cougs are now among his top choices. McGary will trip to Wisconsin and Washington next month.

  • Romoland, Calif. DL Sione Takitaki is another prospect CF.C has been trying to reach since his official visit in mid-December. Takitaki, rated three stars, is a verbal commit to BYU.

  • Two-star DT Kalani Vakameilalo also tripped to WSU on the last official visit of December. He's a verbal commit to Oregon State who has kept a low profile all recruiting season but he's big and athletic and has double-digit offers, including three from the Pac-12.

  • Another prospect Cougar fans may be hearing more about soon is three-star San Diego, Calif. LB Xavier Ulutu. He told CF.C last month his top two were Boise State and Washington State and he was hoping to trip to Pullman in January.

  • Three-star Katy, Texas DE Tim Wilkerson last told CF.C the Cougs are one of his leaders and that he is trying to take an official visit to Pullman next month. Wilkerson took an unofficial visit to WSU over the summer.

  • USC commit Austin Maloata, who tripped to Washington State earlier this fall, has said in recent weeks that he is solidly committed to the Trojans.

  • DE/LB Olajuwon Tucker is also committed to USC, but is taking other trips. Tucker, who visited WSU earlier this month, will visit USC on Jan. 17 and Miami on Jan. 24.

  • Three-star OL Isaiah Holland was expected to visit Washington State on Jan. 17 but WSU received a flurry of OL commitments from Miguel Machado, Nick Begg, Brandon Evers and Andre Dillard mid-month and Holland committed to Army soon after that. CF.C has not heard back Holland yet to see if he will still visit WSU next month.

  • Austin, Texas OL Will Copa, who had an offer from WSU earlier in the recruiting cycle, committed to Texas State earlier this month.

    Signing Day is Feb. 5.

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