Cougs' 2010 class a hit with the NFL

WHILE THE WORD “carnage” aptly describes much of Washington State’s football recruiting from 2004-2009, a vastly different word -- one that came to mind following this past weekend’s NFL talent chase -- sums up the Cougars’ 2010 recruiting class: loaded.

Eight members of that class either currently are on NFL rosters or had auditions with NFL teams, and a ninth looks to be primed for a pro shot in 2016.

Xavier Cooper, Connor Halliday and Jake Rodgers ballooned the list over the weekend, with Cooper being drafted by Cleveland in the third round, Halliday signing as an undrafted free agent with Washington, and Rodgers -- who left WSU after 12 starts and then starred at Eastern Washington -- going to Atlanta in the seventh round.

If you’re wondering why Vince Mayle, drafted in the fifth round Saturday by Cleveland, isn’t listed, he was a JC transfer who didn't arrive at WSU until 2013.

Cooper, Halliday and Rodgers join three 2010 classmates already in the NFL: Deone Bucannon (Arizona/pictured above), Marquess Wilson (Chicago) and John Fullington (Arizona).

In addition, two other members of the class -- JC transfers Wade Jacobson and David Gonzales -- had NFL free agent tryouts (Jacobson with Washington in 2013 and Gonzales with San Francisco in 2012) but didn’t stick.

We’d have to do a little digging to find a single recruiting class at WSU that drew that much NFL attention, but it's probably fair to say it goes back to the 1998-2000 timeframe.

And get this: another member of the 2010 signing class, running back Devontae Butler-Booker appears in line for an NFL opportunity a year from now. He never made it to WSU due to academic hurdles, wound up sitting out a year before heading to junior college, sat out another season, and then emerged as a star last year for Utah. The Utes are pushing him for Heisman consideration in 2015.

When Paul Wulff and Mike Levenseller said on signing day 2010 that they thought their new class of Cougs might be the most talented ever at WSU, they clearly weren’t blowing smoke.

OTHER NFL NOTES:

  • Quayshawne Buckley, a member of WSU’s 2009 recruiting class who never made it to campus due to academic issues, signed over the weekend as an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay. He was a four-year starter on the defensive line for Idaho.

  • Former Cougar quarterback Jeff Tuel is entering his third season with Buffalo but looks to be in a dog fight for a roster spot under new coach Rex Ryan. Kyle Orton has retired, but the QB situation in Buffalo is crowded. In addition to Tuel, there’s E.J. Emanuel, the team’s former starter and 2013 first-round draft pick; wily NFL veteran Matt Cassel, who signed with the team in the off season; and former Ravens backup Tyrod Tyler, a guy whom Ryan has made clear he likes a lot. Tuel spent last season on the Bills’ practice squad and the year before that on the regular roster, playing in two games and starting one.

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