Unlikely backers

IN THE HEADY wake of WSU's bountiful 1999 recruiting effort, who'd have thought --- these 32 months later -- that <strong>Ira Davis</strong> and <strong>Mike Isaacson</strong> would be looming large on the crimson landscape?

With the much-touted likes of Deon Burnett, Melvin Simmons, Curtis Holden and Josh Shavies in that sterling crop of athletes, Davis and Isaacson seemed mere footnotes when rookie camp opened in August '99. Davis, after all, was a virtual unknown from one of the then-most hapless football programs --- Garfield High -- in Western Washington. And Isaacson, all 5-foot-11 of him, was but a walk-on from Wenatchee who thought he could play linebacker in the Pac-10.

Today of course, Holden & Co. are long gone. But Davis and Isaacson remain.

You didn't see them in the starting line up last week against Idaho and you won't find them there this week at Boise State either. Collectively, they have fewer tackles under their belts --- five --- than Billy Newman typically piles up in a single half.

Still, their importance to the WSU defense cannot be understated. With the Cougars' linebacking situation precariously thin, Davis and Isaacson are but a proverbial heartbeat away from prime time.

Davis, widely considered a leading contender for a starting spot at safety in 2002, recently moved to strongside 'backer to help shore up the depth behind Raonall Smith. He's only 6-0, 200 pounds, but loves to hit and moves like the wind. He's currently No. 2 on the depth chart.

Isaacson, meanwhile, figures prominently into the mix at weakside linebacker behind starter James Price now that the No. 2 guy, true freshman Will Derting, is out for the season with a knee injury sustained against Idaho. Isaacson (now up to 6-0 and 214 pounds) was listed No. 3 on the depth chart there for the Idaho game and logically stands to move up a notch this week unless Serign Marong moves over from the strongside or second-year freshman Lacy McDonald makes a run.


The list of verbal committments that Mike Price has landed so far for 2002 has grown to three. They are linebacker Brian Hall of DeSales High in Walla Walla, linebacker/defensive end Matt Molinex of Liberty Bell High in Twisp, and defensive end Adam Braidwood of Delta, B.C.

All-state receiver Don Turner (6-0, 170) of Spokane's University High is believed to have received a scholarship offer from WSU over the weekend. But don't plan on any rush to commit until he gets a few more offers in hand.

Another Eastern Washington lad who's getting some big-time attention is Kennewick High's Adam Carriker, a 6-6, 235 pound QB/DE/TE with sub-4.7 speed in the 40. He's reportedly received offers from Oregon State, Oregon and Idaho.

Another Kennewick product, Kamiakin High's two-time all-state RB/LB Scott Davis, is believed to have received offers from WSU and Boise State so far, with Arizona, Stanford, Oregon and Washington lurking.

In Western Washington, Isaiah Stanback, the QB standout from Garfield High who received an early offer from WSU, has apparently narrowed his college list down to Washington and USC. Another Seattle youngster whom the Cougs and Huskies will be duking it out over is DeMar Baisey, a 6-5, 225-pound DE/LB from Rainier Beach High. Both schools have offered him, but look for other suitors to come clamoring for this diamond-in-the-rough as the 2001 season progresses.


This Saturday's game with Boise State will be WSU's last with the Broncos for awhile. The Broncos and Cougs moved their 2002 date back to 2004. WSU subsequently filled that 2002 slot with Montana State. Rest assured, MSU's Division I-AA status won't hurt the Cougars' bowl changes --- the NCAA allows each Division I-A school to play one -AA school every four years.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Cougar DT Ing Aleaga will be back in action this week. The one-time starter, relegated to scout team duty a week ago, apparently had been suspended for the Idaho game for violating unspecified team rules. He begins the road back at the bottom of the depth chart.

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