Ol' Coug gets assist for new walk on punter

COUGAR FOOTBALL FANS probably haven't forgotten the 37-yard field goal Nico Grasu sent straight through the uprights to give WSU a thrilling 2008 Apple Cup win. Now, over five years later, Grasu has come up big once again for WSU, helping the team land preferred walk-on punter Jonathan Weibacher, who was a surprise visitor to Pullman this week and tells CF.C he just committed to Washington State.

In a recent conversation with CF.C, special teams coach Eric Russell said the Cougs were hoping to bring in some walk-ons to compete next fall. On Friday morning, Russell and the rest of the staff took a big step in that direction, with Encino, Calif., punter Weibacher, ranked the 28th best punter in the nation by the Chris Sailer Kicking Academy, going crimson.

"I absolutely love it here," Weibacher said. "I committed to Washington State. Go Cougs!"

WEIBACHER ARRIVED TO Pullman on Wednesday for an unofficial visit and told CF.C he was planning on accepting the preferred walk on invitation to WSU during his trip, but he wanted to wait and make sure he liked the campus. The 6-2, 190-pounder had scholarship offers from Incarnate Word and Indiana State, with preferred walk-on invitations from WSU, UW, Syracuse, Boise State, Cal, Fresno State and many others.

The Crespi High standout said Indiana State, Fresno State and WSU were his top three entering this week, but Pullman won him over.

"WSU is headed in a great direction," Weibacher said. "They're investing a lot of money into the program and making it a place you want to be. Their business school also blew me away.

"The school is rich in its pride and the school spirit showcased on campus is something that you can't find anywhere else."

RUSSELL RAN THE point on Weibacher, but an old Cougar kicker made quite the impact on him during his recruitment. Grasu, who graduated from Washington State in 2009, is also an alumnus of Crespi and he helped develop Weibacher's game this season.

The two became fast friends working together and all the great things Grasu had to say about the Palouse, Weibacher said, stood out.

"It's a great story that I'm continuing the Crespi tradition at Washington State," Weibacher said. "Nico played there and he's been my punting coach all year and he's a big reason why I'm here (on his unofficial visit). I'm able to continue the legacy, but as a punter and not as a kicker."

AS FOR RUSSELL, he and Weibacher have developed a close bond during the recruiting process. Now that he's officially going to be a Coug next season, Weibacher said the two spoke about what will be expected of him heading into fall camp.

"Coach Russell has been recruiting me hard and he said they need a punter to come in and compete," Weibacher said. "He said I have what it takes to punt as a freshman at the Pac-12 level.

"I'm going to come in with a competitive mentality to be the guy for the next four years."

Heading into 2014, the Cougs return senior punter Wes Concepcion and backup redshirt freshman Erik Powell. Another kicking prospect expected to be in Pullman this fall is Mount Si High's (Snoqualmie) Sean Lowney, who announced on Facebook he plans to walk on at WSU.

COUGAR RECRUITING


CLICK HERE for the inside scoop on which prospects the Cougars have offered scholarships to for the 2015 class. Information is updated daily.


And for a look back at every WSU recruiting class since 2002, CLICK HERE and note the drop-down menu for each year.

As a senior this season, Weibacher averaged nearly 38 yards per punt, with a long of 52. He was named to the All-San Fernando First-Team and played in the West Coast Bowl on Jan. 26, which featured nearly 90 players who are playing Division-I football in 2014.


ELSEWHERE IN RECRUITING it's been a busy week for the Cougar staff, extending several offers out to players for the class of 2015. Here's some of the more recent offers:

• Santa Ana, Calif., TE Kyle Penniston picked up an offer from WSU last night. The 6-4, 220-pounder is ranked three stars by Scout and holds early offers from Miami, Florida State, Wisconsin and now WSU.

• CF.C received a text message last night from Jacksonville, Fla., offensive tackle William Sweet, letting us know WSU had offered. Sweet checks in at 6-7, 250-pounds and holds offers from Cincinnati, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, WSU and a few others.

• Danville, Calif., offensive guard Dru Samia also picked up an offer last night. Samia, who checks in at 6-4, 275-pounds, also holds an offer from Utah State.

• San Diego, Calif., defensive back Frank Buncom was offered by WSU on Wednesday night. Buncom is rated four stars and the 11th best safety in the land. The 6-1, 180-pounder holds offers from Boston College, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, UNLV, and UW in addition to WSU.

• Three-star wideout Tony Brown was offered by WSU on Wednesday. The La Mirada, Calif., prospect, who checks in at 6-1, 170, also holds an offer from Purdue.

• Meanwhile, here in the Evergreen State, the Cougs offered Bellevue linebacker Mustafa Branch. The 6-0, 210-pounder, who is rated three stars, also holds offers from Oregon State and Northwestern.

• Another LB to pick up a WSU offer this week was Etiwanda, Calif., 'backer Khaylan Thomas. Thomas checks in at 6-2, 210-pounds and also holds an offer from Oregon State. Thomas hails from the same high school as Coug RB Marcus Mason and ‘Ol WSU WR Bobby Ratliff.

• Down in Orange, Calif., five-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South added a WSU offer to his enormous list. He's ranked the No. 3 DE in the nation and holds offers from Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, USC and many others.

• Anaheim, Calif., offensive tackle Clayton Johnston picked up his first offer from Cal earlier this week and then added WSU on Wednesday. He checks in at 6-6, 255 pounds.

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