There must be something in the air. In the span of the last 24 hours, two well-known Cougs – basketball coach Ernie Kent and quarterback Tyler Bruggman -- returned to Twitter after long absences.
Until last night, @TylerBruggman11 had a career tweet total of one and it came 11 months ago. But he didn't exactly jump back in with fanfare, writing: "Guess I'll try this twitter thing now..." He subsequently gave a shout out to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which quickly drew admonition from CouGal point guard (and, presumably, jilted Sonics fan) Tia Presley. We were so surprised to see Tyler's name in our feed that, to commemorate the development, we posted a photo of him taken by Greg Davis at the spring game and were delighted to discover today that the photo is now Tyler's Twitter cover pic.
Meanwhile, @CoachKentWSU -- following a several-months Twitter absence -- returned to the fray late this morning with a brand new handle. He wrote: "Just got back to the twitter world! Now I need some Cougs to follow! #GoCougs" Cougs, give your new hoops coach a follow!" As of press time, that one tweet was retweeted 89 times and favorited 119 times.
players who today were honored by the Pac-12. Freshman closer Ian Hamilton of Vancouver and sophomore third baseman Nick Tanielu of Federal Way were named to the all-conference team while junior pitcher Joe Pistorese of Kalispell and junior outfielder Yale Rosen of Oak Harbor were picked honorable mention.
, WSU Hall of Famer and 1981 World Series MVP Ron Cey has advanced to the Elite Eight of the Spokane Indians' quest to pick the greatest player in the 112 years pro ball has been played in the Lilac City. To get to the top, though, he'll need the help of the Cougar Nation. To cast your vote for Ron in his current bracket battle with Tom Lasorda,
. If Cey wins this one, he'll advance to the semis next week against likely foe Steve Garvey.
In 1971, when the Indians were the AAA affiliate of the Dodgers, Cey turned in a season for the ages, hitting .328 with 32 homers and 112 RBI. He of course went on to become a perennial All-Star with the Dodgers.
CHAUCA TO ANNOUNCE COUGS OR CAL FRIDAY
Guard Brandon Chauca said on Twitter this evening that he'll be "Announcing my college decision this Friday around 7 p.m at Stonewall Jackson High, where y'all think I'm goin?" Beneath the tweet were two photos -- one of Chauca and his parents in Cougar jerseys, one in Cal jerseys.
As a prep senior this past season he averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.7 steals per game. Before a late-season bout with mono he a shot 90 percent from the free throw line, 64 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point range.
DEONE HAS TURF TOE, AND CONTRACT ALL BUT SIGNED
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told reporters today that first-round draft pick Deone Bucannon didn't participate in today's OTA workout due to a mild case of turf toe suffered a week ago during the team's rookie mini camp.
Meanwhile, a number of published reports out of Phoenix say that Bucannon and his agent have agreed in principal with the Cards on a contract. Under the league's CAB, Bucannon is likely in line for a 4-year contract of about $7.6 million, with $3.9 million of it up front.
MONDA, McGRATH MAKE PAC-12'S TOP 12 DEFENSIVE PLAYS
The Pac-12 is out with a video compilation of the league's top 12 baseball plays of the year
and a pair of Cougars -- sophomore first baseman Patrick McGrath of Woodinville and senior pitcher Jason Monda of Olympia -- come in at No. 9 for their dynamic teamwork in a home game against Utah.
MOOS FINDS NEW TRACK COACH ACROSS BORDER
Bill Moos has hired Wayne Phipps as the director of cross country and track & field at Washington State, WSU announced. The hire takes effect July 1. Phipps takes over for Rick Sloan who announced his retirement from WSU last fall and is slated to complete his coaching duties at the end of the current track season.
Phipps, 45, has been Idaho's head coach the past four seasons and has been with the Vandals for the past 19 years. He served as co-head coach from 2000-09, after serving as an assistant coach from 1995-99. In his time at Idaho, he has been honored 14 times as a conference coach of the year and has helped lead the Vandals to a record 16 total conference titles.
Since 2000, the Vandals have produced five Olympians, two World Track and Field Championship finalists, and one World Cross Country Championship participant.
A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, Phipps competed for Montana and the University of British Columbia, where he graduated with a degree in exercise science in 1991. He earned his masters of science in 1994 from Oregon in exercise and movement science, with a sports medicine major and in biomechanics and exercise physiology minors.
WOULD LEACH COACH A GAME IN A FUR COAT?
You never quite know what you're going to get in a Mike Leach interview. The WSU head man is just as likely to talk about fur coats as he is the precision cuts of a slot receiver. Asked if he would consider coaching a game in a fur coat as an homage to friend Barry Switzer, who showed up in a fur coat at this year's Super Bowl, Leach didn't discount the possibility.
"Without taking any particular side, and to extend this hypothetical, if I wear the fur coat on the sidelines what are the chances that nude girls are going to come up and throw paint on me? ...If I was guaranteed that, I probably would," said Leach."
For the full audio interview, CLICK HERE
ESPN.COM TABS COUGS 8TH IN PAC, BUT DUBS 'EM TRUE DARK HORSE
Ted Miller, who covers the Conference of Champions for ESPN.com, is out this morning with his Summer Pac-12 Power Rankings
and has the Cougars pegged at No. 8 in the conference, sandwiched between Oregon State and Arizona. He writes of WSU, "If you are looking for a true conference dark horse, it's the Cougars. There are questions on the O-line and on defense, but the passing game should be outstanding with third-year starter Connor Halliday and a deep, talented crew of receivers. Put it this way: What does this team look like if it improves as much in Mike Leach's third year as it did in Year 2?."
Miller picks Oregon first and gives UCLA a slight edge over Stanford for second. He says if USC can stay healthy the Trojans could be in the hunt too.
Speaking of ESPN.com and the Cougs, last week the site ran a story called
100 numbers to know a 100 days out
(from the start of the season). And penned in at No. 81 on the list was this little nugget: Connor Halliday accounted for 81 percent of the Cougars' offense last season, marking the highest percentage by any one player in the nation.
Last season Halliday passed for 4,597 yards -- third-most in the nation behind Derek Carr of Fresno State and Sean Mannion of Oregon State. His average completions per game, 34.54, was second behind Carr, and his 34 passing TDs was seventh in the nation.
OLD COUG KELATI ON NATIONAL TEAM
Former Washington State basketball star Thomas Kelati was named to the Polish national team today. Kelati was one of 25 players selected. Several players will be cut before the most important games of the summer. Kelati, 31, has previous experience with the Polish national team. The Walla Walla native, who has played professionally in Europe since finishing his college career at WSU in 2005, obtained dual citizenship when he married a Polish woman in 2010. A 6-foot-5 swingman, Kelati averaged 8.1 points with two teams in Spain's top league this season.
VEGAS SITE FORECASTS COUGS' WIN TOTAL
Betting site 5Dimes has released its early win total betting line projections for 2014 for 35 teams. WSU is one of them and they set the Cougs' wins line at 5.5. You can find the complete list here.
DEONE OVERTHINKING, NOT REACTING
CouGreat and first-round draft pick Deone Bucannon said in an NFL.com story today that it's going to take time to adjust to the NFL but it will come. He has been running with the second unit at the Cardinals' OTAs. Head coach Bruce Arians said the big hitter is high-centered with "paralysis by analysis." CLICK HERE for the full story.
Speaking of Deone, a look at which first-round draft picks have signed contracts and which haven't, the two closest picks to Deone who have signed -- the 23rd and 30th -- each inked four-year deals, the 23rd at $8.16 million and the 30th at $7.1 million. That may put Deone on a glide path to four years and $7.6 million.
GESSER DONE WITH COACHING?
In the span of 10 days this month, former Idaho offensive coordinator and interim head coach, and former Wyoming quarterbacks coach Jason Gesser landed two jobs in Cougarville: assistant director of development for WSU athletics and color analyst on Cougar radio broadcasts. For a guy who several years ago said his career goal was to be head coach of his alma mater by age 45, the moves look to be a detour.
But there's more to the story than that. Gesser told Bud Withers
of the Seattle Times the other day that he'd get back into coaching if it were an ideal situation, but said "it's not a great profession if you have three kids (including a newborn)."
In the same story, WSU AD Bill Moos said he signed off on the ouster of Shawn McWashington as WSU's game-day radio analyst in favor of Gesser. Previously, WSU said the move was made solely by IMG, the sports marketing firm that owns the broadcast rights. Moos said the change was not a "slam" on McWashington but an effort by IMG to make the broadcasts more "polished."
WALL STREET JOURNAL BOOK REVIEW OF MIKE LEACH'S GERONIMO
All the news that's fit to print says this about the book WSU's football coach just published: "Mr. Leach couldn't have chosen a better brand than the Apache chief," says the Wall Street Journal in its review of his tome on Geronimo.
"When soldiers, paintballers and boys who are allowed to play with toy guns (the few who are left) leap into battle, they do not cry Napoleon! Hannibal! or Nathan Bedford Forrest! When Navy SEALs set off to lower the boom on Osama bin Laden, they do not name their mission for Omar Bradley. In such circumstances, no other name than Geronimo will do."
For the complete review, click here
WSU QB VERBAL HILINSKI TO CAL: THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Cougar verbal and three-star Upland, Calif., QB Tyler Hiliniski was offered by Cal this week. As flattering as it is for an in-state Pac-12 school to put a scholie on the table, Hilinski says he's made his choice.
"Cal offer doesn't change anything. As committed as it gets to Washington St and the staff,: Hilinski texted Cougfan.com's Braulio Perez a few moments ago.
Hilinski verbally committed to Mike Leach and the Cougs in April.
WSU SKIPPER DONNIE MARBUT AGREES TO EXTENSION
WSU announced Thursday that baseball coach Donnie Marbut has agreed to a contract extension. The news was first reported on Pullman radio station KQQQ. Details of the extension will not be announced until terms are finalized after the season ends Sunday, a WSU spokesperson said.
Marbut has compiled a 284-275 (.508) record in 10 seasons as head coach. In 2009 and 2010, Marbut guided the Cougars to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990. He ranks third in WSU baseball history in games won and coached behind legendary coaches Bobo Brayton and Buck Bailey.
The Cougars (23-28, 13-14 Pac-12) finish the 2014 season this weekend against visiting Arizona State. WSU will post its fourth straight non-winning season, counting a 28-28 record in 2012.
TACOMA'S RORIE CHOOSES DUCKS
Tacoma guard Ahmaad Rorie, a four-star prospect who recently asked for and received a release from his letter of intent to Cal, announced Thursday morning he will play for Oregon over WSU, UW and other suitors. The Ducks were his final visit. He was in Eugene earlier this week.
Rorie went on a whirlwind of Pac-12 official visits in a short time frame to Oregon, Washington and Washington State. He is a three-time News Tribune All-Area pick and averaged 16.7 and 18 points, respectively, in two seasons at Clover Park High, and 21 points a year ago at Lincoln.
WSU'S ELSON FLOYD, OTHER PAC-12 PRESIDENTS ADVOCATE STIPENDS FOR PLAYERS
The Pac-12 presidents have outlined a 10-point plan for NCAA reform that they have sent to the other presidents in the Big 5 conferences. The list of proposals included in the letter are:
Permit institutions to make scholarship awards up to the full cost of attendance. Provide reasonable ongoing medical or insurance assistance for student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury in competition or practice. Continue efforts to reduce the incidence of disabling injury. Guarantee scholarships for enough time to complete a bachelor's degree, provided that the student remains in good academic standing. Decrease the demands placed on the athlete in-season.
Similarly decrease time demands out of season. Further strengthen the Academic Progress Rate requirements for postseason play. Address the "one and done" phenomenon in men's basketball, including consideration of restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball. Provide student-athletes a meaningful role in governance at the conference and NCAA levels. Adjust existing restrictions so student-athletes preparing for the next stage of their careers are not unnecessarily deprived of the advice and counsel of agents and other competent professionals, but without professionalizing intercollegiate athletics. Liberalize current rules limiting the ability of student-athletes to transfer between institutions.
The Pac-12 presidents are asking for an expedited response to the proposed reforms, by June 4. The plan comes after Northwestern football players cast secret ballots April 25 on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes. The results of the vote are still not known and will not be known for some time.
COUGS BEAT SEAHAWKS TO WHITE HOUSE BY 80+ YEARS
The Super Bowl champion Seahawks will be saluted at the White House today, but they are not the first team from the state to be so honored for their excellence. On December 1, 1930, the kings of West Coast football -- Babe Bollingbery's Washington State Cougars -- were invited to the White House and feted by President Hoover. A month later they took on Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Three members of that Cougar team -- Hollingbery and linemen Turk Edwards and Mel Hein -- are in the College Football Hall of Fame. And Hein and Edwards also are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
ESPN OUT WITH PRESEASON POWER INDEX
ESPN came out this week with it's computer-based 2014 preseason football power index and the Cougars were ranked No. 49 in the nation. The index breaks down each team by offense, defense and special teams to come up with a final ranking. Oregon was the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, at No. 2 behind Florida State. The rest of the Pac stacked up this way: UCLA No. 5, Stanford 8, USC 13, Arizona State 16, UW 27, Oregon State 28, Arizona 32, Utah 40, Cal 63 and Colorado 66.CLICK HERE for the full story and list. A year ago, in a similar through not identical preseason power index rating, ESPN had the Cougs at No. 46.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ON THE INIMITABLE MIKE LEACH
In Sports Illustrated's list of 100 things they're most excited for in the 2014 college football season, Mike Leach comes in at No. 74
"74. The inimitable Mike Leach. Leach is the most interesting man in college football. He's an offensive mastermind. He's a pirate aficionado. He recently co-authored the book Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior. On the field, expect Leach to keep airing it out. Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday attempted an FBS-high 714 passes last season. Only two others (Fresno State's Derek Carr and Oregon State's Sean Mannion) attempted more than 600.
BOWL GAME, PAC-12 TITLE GAME AT LEVI'S
The bowl game featuring the No. 4 Pac-12 team will be held at Levi's Stadium (68,500) in Santa Clara, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, on Dec. 30. Levi's is also where the Pac-12 title game moves to beginning this season on Dec. 5. The first three Pac-12 title games were previously held at the North or South division winner with the best conference record.
As for the bowl game, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has entered into a new six-year agreement to feature the No. 4 Pac-12 team vs. a Big Ten team. The Big Ten assigns its bowl participants differently than does the Pac-12 and does not specify which place team will be selected for the bowl, noting instead that at least five different Big Ten institutions will play in the bowl game between now and the conclusion of the 2019 season.
ARON BAYNES COMES UP BIG FOR SPURS
The man Dick Bennett once described as "a big bear with a sore ass," turned in seven minutes of ferocious play tonight to help the San Antonio Spurs to victory in game one of their NBA semi-final playoff battle with Oklahoma City. With the Spurs trailing late in the third quarter, old Cougar Aron Baynes came off the bench to spell Tim Duncan and proceeded to show Kevin Durant who owns the paint. With the big man patrolling the key like a mama grizzly, Durant dared to drive and was whistled for an offensive foul.
Baynes' play ignited something of a Twitter sensation, with conjecture by partisans that he changed the momentum of the game. By the time he left early in the fourth quarter the Spurs were ahead and he had canned a reverse layup and pulled down one defensive rebound. OK, in the name of full disclosure he also had two TOs, but they were beside the point. The Spurs won 122-105.
By the way, ESPN will be featuring Baynes in its Aussies Abroad series Tuesday night.
ERNIE KENT TALKS RECRUITING
New men's WSU basketball coach Ernie Kent said Monday morning on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos he anticipated using at least one of his two remaining open scholarship spots before the signing period ends on Wednesday. He said the last spot might not be used until sometime later in the year before the season, such as in the summer. The Cougs are looking at filling the two spots with guards, Kent said, with the focus shifting to the bigs for the next recruiting class (early signing period in November).
CATCHING UP WITH 3 OLD COUGS
Among the former Cougar track and field athletes on hand for coach Rick Sloan's retirement gathering this weekend was world-renowned distance runner Bernard Lagat. The two-time Olympic medalist and U.S. record-holder in five distances, was a three-time NCAA champion at WSU under Sloan in the 1990s.
"I am so happy that I get to be here because I had to see him, give him that hug and say thank you from the bottom of my heart," Lagat said in
at Pac-12.com. "Without him, I wouldn't have had this experience of coming to America (from Kenya) , getting full scholarship to come here to study and get my degree so I owe him so much, he's the greatest man."
Lagat, by the way, is still going strong at age 39. Earlier this year he took silver in the 3,000 meters in the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Not that records are kept
for such things, but we're going to go out on a limb and say former Cougar receiver and one-time defensive coordinator Jody Sears has set a record for being named interim head coach of most college football teams in the shortest period of time. On April 25, just three weeks after he started work as defensive coordinator at Sacramento State he was named interim head coach of the Hornets. He will lead them through the 2014 season following the out-of-the-blue resignation of Marshall Sperbeck. Sperbeck stepped down as a result of an internal investigation of possible NCAA violations, according to the Sacramento Bee. In 2012, when John L. Smith bolted for Arkansas before even coaching one game for Weber State, Sears was named interim head coach of the Wildcats. He stayed on through 2013 but then let go.
Faisal Aden, the former
Cougar shooting guard whose crimson career was really starting to take off a few years back when he went down with a knee injury, has put himself in the international record books. FIBA, the international basketball federation, recently said that the 59 points Aden scored for the Somali national team against Rwanda in late January is believed to be the most ever by one player in a national team game. At the very least, it's the most since international hoops legend Oscar Schmidt put up 55 for Brazil against Spain in the 1988 Olympics.
COUG COMMIT HILINSKI GOING HIGHER?
Future Cougar QB Tyler Hilinski is ranked three-stars by Scout.com and the No. 42 prospect nationally. Back when he was a sophomore, he was at one time listed as a four-star prospect by Scout.com - might he rise up to that level again?
"Joining a Mike Leach offense is never a bad idea for a quarterback, but Hilinski could see his stock rise further during his senior season as the quarterback dominoes continue to fall," writes ESPN's Eric McKinney. ESPN also rates Hilinski a three-star prospect, and the No. 25 pocket-passer nationally.
He's been a spring standout in each of the last two off seasons and jumped on an offer from Washington State.
WAZZU AND MIZZOU SUDDENLY FACE-TO-FACE
Other than Elson Floyd and Warren Powers, the paths of Wazzu and Mizzou haven't crossed a whole lot over the years. But the last couple of weeks it seems the Cougars and Tigers are walking the same path down the basketball recruiting trail. Ahmad Rorie, the touted guard from Tacoma who tripped to WSU last weekend, tweeted that he has received an offer from Missouri. Same for Brandon Chauca, a guard from South Carolina, who will be tripping to WSU this weekend. And Ny Redding, a California guard who signed with the Cougs earlier this week, had narrowed his list to WSU and Missouri.
This unusual battle of Zu and Zou stems from the fact both schools made coaching changes at the top and have a number of scholarship slots to fill in a short period of time. With most of the bona fide forwards and centers off the table at this stage, but some very intriguing front-court talent still on the market, it's no surprise the two schools would be traveling in the same recruiting circles right now.
RICO FORBES GETS PACKERS INVITE
The Green Bay Packers have invited their second undrafted Cougar offensive lineman Rico Forbes to this week's mini camp. Forbes, who appeared in all 13 games for the Cougs last season and started five, is following in John Fullington's path to the Badger State. Big John agreed to a free agent deal with a $5,000 signing bonus with the Pack minutes after the draft concluded this past Saturday.
"I see it as a blessing and right now I am just eager to go out there and make the best of my opportunity," Forbes told the Bahamas Tribune. "It is what I always envisioned when I first came to the U.S. to play football ... It is what I have been working towards seeing for years and now there is a chance to make it happen."
Forbes came to WSU from the junior college ranks but subsequently missed his 2012 junior season with a leg injury suffered during fall camp.
3 COUGS HEAD TO STATE HALL OF FAME
We tweeted this a while back but were remiss in getting it on the website until now: Three highly regarded old Cougs recently were elected to the state of Washington's sports hall of fame: football legend Jack Thompson, broadcasting icon Keith Jackson, and hydroplane champion Chip Hanauer. The three will be saluted at the WSU-Rutgers game at CenturyLink Field on August 28.
In case you missed it, we recently caught up with Jackson for a wide-ranging talk about WSU, his career, and life growing up in rural Georgia. Here's the link: The wit and wisdom of Keith Jackson
SOURCES HINT AT KENT'S REASON FOR MOVING ON FROM ISABELL
Multiple sources close to the basketball program at Garfield High School in Seattle tell CF.C that off-court concerns prompted Washington State head basketball coach Ernie Kent to release star GHS guard Tramaine Isabell from his letter of intent with the Cougars today. The sources didn't go into specifics but suggested concerns about academic diligence were among the issues that moved Kent to act. For their parts, both Kent and Isabell were gracious in the parting of the ways.
Isabell tweeted that he had been granted his release and offered the "best of luck to coach kent & the team!"
Kent, in a press release, said, "We wish Tramaine the very best," and added, "The future of Cougar basketball is bright. I like the group of young men we have in place now, as well as what we will add in the near future with our available scholarships."
One upshot from the move is that it may enhance WSU's chances of landing standout Tacoma guard Ahmaad Rorie, who recently asked for and received a release from his LOI with Cal. He tripped to WSU this past weekend and said he will make his college choice this weekend. He also recently tripped to Washington, and last week (per the Seattle Times) picked up an offer from Wichita State.
The Cougars have three signed members in their 2014 recruiting class: guards Jackie Davis and Ny Redding and forward Aaron Cheatum. With Isabell's departure, the Cougars have two scholarship slots left.
In addition to Rorie, guard Brandon Chauca out of South Carolina is believed to have an offer from the Cougars, and is expected to trip to Pullman this weekend.
In an unexpected reversal, Seattle standout Tramaine Isabell tweeted that he's received a release from the letter of intent he signed with WSU in November.
"I have been granted my release from Washington State University. Best of luck to coach kent & the team!" the Garfield guard tweeted.
Isabell said on April 24 he had decided to honor his signed LOI to WSU through the coaching change. "I've decided to stick with it and play for Coach Kent," Isabell told CF.C. .
Isabell, who visited WSU earlier in April to meet with Kent face-to-face and had an in-home with Kent and assistant coach Curtis Allen prior to reaffirming with WSU, was tabbed Seattle Times' first-team all-classifications All-State team as a senior. He averaged nearly 24 points per game this season as he led Garfield to a 24-1 record and its first state title since 1998. He was named the 4A tournament MVP.
IT'S OFFICIAL: KENT ANNOUNCES REDDING'S LOI
Nyaires "Ny" Redding, a 6-2, 180-pound guard from the same prep school -- Westwind Academy in Phoenix -- that produced Que Johnson, officially is in the house. WSU announced late today that hiss signed letter of intent is in.
"Our system requires us to have very heady guard play and we are continuing to put together a group that we think is going to be outstanding for the future of Washington State basketball," Kent said. "In Ny we have a player that is not only smart, but also is very skilled on both ends of the floor."
Redding, who hails from Solon, Ohio, joins a class that features fellow guards Jackie Davis and Tramaine Isabell and JC forward Aaron Cheatum. The Cougars have one scholarship left to use in this recruiting cycle.
As a senior this past season, Redding averaged 29.8 points, 2.1 steals and 8.7 assists per game, while shooting 53 percent from the field and 89 percent from the free throw line. He was named first team all-State, tournament MVP and defensive player of the year, as well as the team's captain. Redding compiled five 40-point games in his year at Westwind Prep, breaking former Westwind standout and current Cougar, Que Johnson's record of 40-point games.
IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT CF.C'S NEW LAYOUT
Our most recent stories will "carousel" across the top of the page, left to right, while the rest of our stories will be down the center of the page, scrollable up and down.
The reason we point this out if that if you come to the site, see the lead story and then start scrolling down you'll miss the four other most recent stories that are in the carousel across the top.
Also, some readers have asked where the photo galleries for each player have gone. They're still here. But the button to access them has moved from the top of each player's bio page down the right side a bit, just above where the Twitter feed is located.
4-STAR TACOMA GUARD TO MAKE DECISION THIS WEEKEND
Just a few hours after Ernie Kent received a verbal commitment from Phoenix guard Ny Redding, who chose WSU over Missouri and Boston College, 4-star Tacoma guard and former Cal commit Ahmaad Rorie tweeted that he would be making his college choice this weekend.
Rorie and Redding both took official visits to WSU this past weekend. While Rorie is rated by Scout.com as the No. 19 point guard prospect in the nation, he's a scorer first and could slide into the off-guard role. Since receiving his release from the LOI he signed with Cal in November he has tripped to WSU and UW and canceled a visit to Oregon. Unless there's another trip in the offing this week, it looks to be a Cougar vs. Huskies battle.
The Cougars have one of their five open scholarships left to fill now that Redding has verbally committed. The other three in the fold are Jackie Davis, Aaron Cheatum and Tramaine Isabell.
ERNIE KENT SAYS DAVIS A PERFECT FIT
WSU just made it official: 6-3, 195-pound combo guard Jackie Davis' letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered.
"Jackie Davis is a very versatile basketball player that can play multiple positions," head coach Ernie Kent said in a press release. "He fits perfectly in our system because of his skill set, his ability to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball, and play the game in the open court. He is a very gifted athlete and I'm sure Cougar fans will come to enjoy his athleticism and his ability to play the game."
Davis played one season at Rolling Hills Prep in San Pedro, Calif., after attending Allen High School in Allen, Texas. As a senior at Rolling Hills, Davis averaged 23.6 points, 3.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as the Huskies went 13-13 overall and 11-1 in conference play during the 2013-14 season. He was named team MVP, as well as co-MVP of the Coastal League. Davis also earned All-CIF and Cal-Hi Sports All-State honors.
TUEL FINISHING UP; BILLS STAYING STATUS QUO AT QB
Bill Moos said on his radio show this morning that former Cougar quarterback Jeff Tuel has been back on campus this semester wrapping up his degree. Tuel, who made the Bills last year as a free agent signee and wound up making a regular-season start, doesn't figure to have any greater competition for the roster today than he did before last week's draft. The Bills didn't use any picks on quarterbacks and as of yesterday hadn't signed any free agent QBs. So as it stands right now, the Bills will have four QBs vying for three positions. E.J. Manuel will be the undisputed starter, with Tuel, Thad Lewis and former Oregon standout Dennis Dixon battling it out behind him.
Regardless who is behind center, he'll know the Bills are serious about improving the offense. Their first pick in the draft was touted wideout Sammy Watkins and three others were offensive linemen.
4-STAR LB CALLS WSU FACILITIES 'AWESOME'
Doug Kimmel, the new "Mountain Region" recruiting analyst for Scout.com, has been making fast tracks. In one of his latest missives he reports that touted linebacker Paul Gustin of Salem, Utah, was on the last leg -- Pullman -- of a whirlwind weekend in which he also visited Oregon State, Oregon and Washington.
Gustin told Kimmel on Saturday that "Coach Leach was awesome and their new facilities are amazing. I think I can speak for our whole group in saying that their overall facilities greatly exceeded our expectations. The Cougars have some bright days ahead of them."
Meanwhile, CF.C's Braulio Perez reports that the Cougs recently made scholarship offers to Folsom, Calif., offensive lineman Jonah Williams; San Jose cornerback Dakari Monroe; Carmichael, Calif., defensive end Kori Collins; and Washington, DC, cornerback Marcus Lewis. Lewis verbally committed to Florida about 10 days ago.
JACKIE DAVIS JR. SIGNS LOI WITH WSU
Guard Jackie Davis, who committed verbally to Ernie Kent two weeks ago, made it official today when he signed his letter of intent with WSU and tweeted a photo of himself holding the signed LOI. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard from Rolling Hills Prep in Palos Verdes, Calif., chose WSU over offers from Penn State, Tulsa and UC Irvine.
Dubbed "a late bloomer" by Scout.com analyst Josh Gershon, Davis bring a nice stroke to the Cougs and can score at the rim, from mid-range and downtown. He's also a capable ball handler that ran point guard for Rolling Hills this past season. He joins a Cougar recruiting class that already included Tramaine Isabell of Seattle and JC transfer Aaron Cheatum of East Los Angeles College. Could the class grow by another two in the next day or so? Ny Redding of Phoenix and Ahmaad Rorie of Tacoma were believed to be in Pullman on official visits this weekend.
DOES FURNEY TO SEAHAWKS MAKE SENSE?
Record-setting Cougar kicker Andrew Furney tweeted that he has accepted a mini-camp invitation by the Seattle Seahawks. Unlike the undrafted free agent contract John Fullington signed with the Packers immediately after the NFL draft concluded, a mini-camp invitation is effectively a brief walk-on tryout. So the question begs: Why hook up with the Seahawks when they just re-signed all-world kicker Steven Hauschka to a three-year contract?
The answer, simply, is because it offers a foot (pardon the pun) into the door of the NFL. Barring injury, Furney isn't going to supplant Hauschka. The aim is to show enough that 1) the Hawks keep him around for awhile and perhaps even find a spot on the practice squad; or 2) get noticed by another NFL team and sign with them. Hauschka's career path pretty much started the same way. He hung around the fringes of the NFL before finally securing a rock-solid spot.
BUCANNON REALLY CAPTURED CARDS' ATTENTION
The Arizona Cardinals' official website ran an interesting story today about Cougar Deone Bucannon, whom they took in the first round of the NFL draft.
Cards' defensive backs coach Nick Rapone said Bucannon turned his head at the NFL Combine and then in talking with Buc was struck by his discipline and humility.
"I came away and wrote on my notes, 'This kid's actions will speak so loud he'll never have to say a word'," said Rapone. Meanwhile, in the same story at azcardinals.com, Arizona GM Steve Keim said that over a steak dinner when they brought Bucannon in for a pre-draft visit it became very clear that "what you saw on tape is also what you see in person."
DEONE BUCANNON NOTABLE NOTES
The hard-hitting Cougar safety is the 13th first-round NFL draft pick from WSU since the league began the draft in 1936. And he is the first Cougar first-rounder since Marcus Trufant went to Seattle with the 11th pick in 2003.
Bucannon continues a procession of Cougars playing defensive back in the NFL over the last dozen years. Besides Trufant, there's been Eric Frampton, Husain Abdullah, Erik Coleman, Karl Paymah, Jason David, Hamza Abdullah, Steve Gleason, Tyron Brackenridge, Wale Dada and Lamont Thompson. Husain Abdullah, by the way, signed a two-year extension with the Chiefs this off-season.
Deone is not the first Cougar to go to the Cards in the first round. In 1978, they nabbed WSU DB Ken Greene with the No. 19 pick and in 1989's supplemental draft they took QB Timm Rosenbach with the No. 2 pick."
A shout out to Rob Rang of NFLdraftscout.com and CBSsports.com. He was the only mainstream media pundit who predicted that Deone would be drafted in the first round.