How well did Cougars fill their needs?

WASHINGTON STATE'S 2015 class haul features only 10 offensive players, with but four of them "skill players." Some late flips meant that it may not have turned out numbers-wise exactly as planned but the overriding principle still held. And that was that ...

Mike Leach, Mr. Air Raid himself, emphasized defense over offense after a woeful season by the crimson stop corps in 2014.

The Cougs focused heavily on the d-line and in the defensive backfield. There's one more addition to come before the Cougs hit the maximum 25 initial counters (football chief of staff Dave Emerick has said the Cougs will use all 25 available in this class). The final piece to the puzzle given the pool available post-Signing Day, in our view, is most likely going to be 'best player available' rather than position-based.

The breakdown currently stands at 13-10-1 (defense, offense, special teams). So, did the Cougars add quality depth across the board? Did Washington State fill their needs? The take here is they did, save for at two positions. One of those spots, however, might not be the issue it appears.

DL
Projected to sign: 4-5
Actual: 4

Breakdown: 2 DE, 2 DT
Late Flips: Dillon Faamatau (ASU)
DT Thomas Toki was expected to be the Cougs’ highest rated signee in the class. Until just recently, he was a member of the Scout.com 300 but others jumped over him at the tape. Hunter Mattox is listed as a defensive end on Scout.com but we see him as a DT-type by his second year (or before). Junior college d-end transfer Jeremiah Mitchell at 6-5, 260-pounds should immediately challenge for playing time. DE T.J. Fehoko decided at the last minute and is a sack-master, having racked up 55 of 'em the past two seasons.

LB
Projected to sign: 5-6
Actual: 3

Late Flips: Jonah Moi (Oregon); Kyahva Tezino (San Diego State); Eddie Rudinski (Dartmouth)
One of two positions the Cougs fell appreciably short of the numbers we projected. Aaron Porter is a physical presence who can really move at 6-3, 240 – the UCLA bounceback should challenge immediately for a starting job. Logan Tago (6-4, 205) is nowhere close to what he’ll be physically down the road but already he plays bigger than his size. (It should be noted Tago could play any of the LB positions, DE, S, Inside WR, TE, according to Leach on Signing Day). Nnamdi Oguayo, who just came on board Monday, told CF.C the Cougs recruited him for the BUCK linebacker position.

2015 Cougar Recruiting
BY THE NUMBERS


THE POSITIONS
Offensive linemen: 5 (avg. weight 286)

Defensive linemen: 4 (avg. weight 273)

Defensive backs: 6

Linebackers: 2

Receivers: 3

Running backs: 1

Quartbacks: 1

Kickers: 1

Athletes: 1

THE BREAK DOWN
High schoolers: 17

JC transfers: 5

College transfers: 1

Holdovers from ’14 class: 1


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DBs
Projected to sign: 4-5
Actual: 6

Breakdown: 3 CB, 3 S
Late Flips: Willie Sykes (Nebraska)
S Kameron Powell is rated the No. 31 safety nationally and Scout.com’s Greg Biggins calls him a “head hunter” in the best possible sense. S Shalom Luani is a run-support specialist and the 19th best JUCO prospect nationally regardless of position. CB Treshon Broughton has quietly been tabbed as another member of the nation’s 100 best JUCO prospects (57th) and Darrien Molton is another three-star who could challenge for playing time in his first year. Sean Harper is a speedy DB who signed Feb. 5. He will get his first look at cornerback, though he also has the skills set to play safety. S Deion Singleton is a 2014 class holdover out of Pasco who enrolled at WSU this past month. He'll have some rust to shake off but spring ball should help considerably with that.

K/P
Projected to sign: 1
Actual: 1

You have to go back a ways, perhaps as far as Graham Siderius (6-2) to find a starting Cougar kicker who stands as far away from his work as Matt Abramo (6-2, 170) does. Abramo was 10-of-14 on FGs as a senior. Of his 53 kickoffs, 34 went for touchbacks.

QB
Projected to sign: 1
Actual: 1

Cal came charging after Tyler Hilinski late in his recruiting process but he graduated high school early and enrolled at WSU in January, allow him the earliest of head starts on his Cougar career and to also take part in the upcoming spring drills. Hilinski has great accuracy on all three levels and anticipates about as well as you could hope for in a prep quarterback. The big takeaway on the Cougs’ QB verbal is that he fits exceedingly well into what Leach wants to do in his Air Raid offense.

RB
Projected to sign: 1
Actual: 1

If James Williams hadn’t torn knee ligaments in the second game of his senior season, he might well have become another one of those guys WSU had to fight hard to hold onto down the stretch -- Williams chose WSU way back in May over early offers from Arizona, Cal and others. Instead, the running back who racked up 2,350 all-purpose yards as a junior is Wazzu-bound and says his knee is healing up ahead of schedule.

WR
Projected to sign: 3-4
Actual: 3

Recent Flips: Dahu Green (Oklahoma); Taeon Mason (SJSU); Deontay Burnett (USC)
The second of two positions the Cougs fell appreciably short of the numbers we projected -- it wasn't the wide receiver haul that it looked like a few weeks earlier but this area should make for the least of fans' concerns. Leach has a long, long history of taking lesser known wideouts and turning them into highly productive pass-catchers with crooked numbers next their names in the stat book -- including at Washington State. Kyle Sweet looks to be one of those vastly underrated WRs -- he looks a lot like River Cracraft with perhaps more speed. Kyrin Priester will sit out a year but the Clemson transfer will practice all season and he's said to already challenging for the title of fastest player on the team. A 6-6 skyscraper comes to WSU in the form C.J. Dimry. He came on board late out of Saddleback College.

OL
Projected to sign: 5-6
Actual: 5

3 OG, 2 OT
The Cougs will always look to take 5-6 offensive linemen under Leach and they took five in '15. Noah Myers (6-5, 300) became an instant fan favorite when he decline Cal’s overtures late, saying it wouldn’t feel right to him to go back on his word to the WSU coaches, even though he had spent years and years wanting to be a Bear. Cedric Bigge-Duren (6-6, 295) plays with a lot of nasty and comes from the same prep program as Eduardo Middleton (Oceanside) while Amosa Sakaria is a 6-3, 280-pound potential low-rise bulldozer in cleats. Joseph Price (6-6, 267) is another one of those good feet-types who should thrive in the Air Raid’s wide-splits and Davis Perrot (6-5, 270) has untold potential having only played one season as an offensive lineman. But it was one he excelled in, landing double-digit offers after his senior campaign began.

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