Final days: WSU 2016 recruiting class needs, numbers

IT’S STRIKING when you consider it. Washington State has 27 known commits/signings -- and there isn’t a quarterback nor a defensive tackle on the list. Will Wazzu bring one or both on board by the time Signing Day rolls around one week from today?

The odds would seem greater for a d-tackle than a quarterback at this last stage.  But that’s not to say a DT – a quality Pac-12 DT – will be easy to bring on board either with Signing Day on Feb. 3. 

Washington State’s full complement of assistant coaches plus Mike Leach are racing the clock today and tomorrow, and are expected to come off the road Friday for the final official visit weekend at WSU. These final days on the recruiting trail are about holding onto the ones you have, and competing for a handful of uncommitted prospects.

DL
Projected to sign: 4
Signings/Verbal Commits: Danny Bender (6-4, 220); Garrett McBroom (6-3, 266); Lyric Bartley (6-4, 240)

Wayne Kirby out of Idaho (6-3, 302) remains in play, with Oregon, Utah and BYU all still in the mix. Kirby, who has indicated he’s leaning Oregon’s way, has said he’ll announce Feb. 1 and has been going back and forth on his school of choice.  In trying to read the tea leaves, it could be noteworthy that Leach and Joe Salave'a chose to hold their final in-home with him on Monday at his school, rather than in the living room with Kirby and his parents.

Apart from Kirby, news on d-tackles in the Cougar orbit has been scarce, as it has all recruiting cycle. The Cougs are certainly in need of at least one quality DT from our chair, and time is growing short.  Holdover Thomas Toki, a former 4-star prospect from the '15 class, now heading the junior college route after being unable to qualify was a hit.

On the d-end front, Curtis Weaver remains in the orbit and looks to be deciding between WSU and Boise State.  Bender just came on board Sunday and McBroom is already enrolled and will benefit by going through spring ball. Bartley, on his birthday, hosted Leach and Salave’a Tuesday night on an in-home.

LB
Projected to sign: 4-5
Verbal Commits: Chima Onyeukwu, 3 stars; Jihad Woods, 3 stars;  Derek Moore, 3 stars; Mason Vinyard, 3 stars

Washington State may be done here. Jackson Kaufusi verballed to BYU Monday (he plans to take his LDS mission after high school and won’t enroll until 2018).  What stands out most about the group above: speed, sideline to sideline. Onyeukwu has the potential to be big-time and figures to challenge at the WIL from the jump in fall camp. 


DBs
Projected to sign: 4-5
Signings/Verbal Commits: CB Jalen Thompson, 3-stars; CB/N Skyler Thomas, 3-stars; CB Isaiah Love, 3 stars; CB Marcus Strong, 3 stars; S Robert Taylor, 2 stars; (Rogers [S]; Jones [CB])

WSU may also be done here.  If Taylor does what we think he will in fall camp, he could enable Shalom Luani to man the strong safety spot.  Thomas could be a corner or nickel back, he’s versatile and hits hard.  Thompson is already enrolled. Strong chose WSU over offers from UW, Oregon State and others and both he and Love have received high praise from Scout.com analysts Brandon Huffman and Greg Biggins.

QB
Projected to sign: (0-1)
Verbal Commits: None

Leach may not take a quarterback this class after an unexpected parting of the ways last Friday between Quentin Davis and WSU. Leach won’t spend a scholie just to take a QB in the 2016 class -- if one comes on board, it will mean Leach likes him a ton. But it’s been a wild ride in QB recruiting for WSU this year, with Ian Book decommitting for Notre Dame, WSU and Cody Brewer parting ways just before Davis came on board on Jan. 1, and then Davis taking a run-out pattern last week.

WSU has three scholie QBs in Luke Falk, Peyton Bender and Tyler Hilinski. They also have a promising walk on in Christian Jorgensen, who went through spring ball last year as a true freshman. WSU will no doubt bring in preferred walk on QBs ahead of fall camp -- one already on board is Bethel’s Bryce Missey

RB
Projected to sign: 1
Verbal Commits: Romello Harris, 3 stars

Harris tore his ACL this season according to the Visalia Times Delta and is busy rehabbing. But in nine games, Harris racked up 1,943 yards on 203 carries with 25 touchdowns.

If WSU were to land Zion Echols, whom the Cougs are recruiting at running back, we project one of the two running backs in the class to delay enrollment.  But recent reports indicate Echols is leaning towards the school he first verbally committed to, after decommitting from Cal in November. Echols told Scout.com on Tuesday he has an in-home this week with Ken Wilson and Jim Mastro.

ATH
Signings/Verbal Commits: Justus Rogers, 3 stars;  D'Jimon Jones, 2 stars

Tayler Hawkins could play corner or wideout and is deciding between WSU, Colorado and SDSU.

Rogers (6-2, 210) has said WSU is giving him a shot at quarterback this spring. From this chair, his best position would seem to be safety (or maybe linebacker) at the Pac-12 level, but we’ll see how the spring goes.  Rogers is already enrolled at WSU.  Jones (6-2, 175) has told CF.C the WSU coaches like him at either corner or receiver but our guess is he gets his first look at corner.

WR
Projected to sign: 4-5
Signings/Verbal Commits: Dezmon Patmon, 3 stars;  Isaiah Johnson, 3 stars; Renard Bell, 3 stars; Grant Porter, 3 stars; (Jones)

Patmon (6-3, 200) was a big get for the Cougs over Cal and others -- as was Johnson, who held loads of Power 5 offers over the course of this recruiting cycle. Johnson is already enrolled and has said he’ll get a long look at inside receiver this spring.  Bell (5-10, 160) is quick and speedy, and could play in the slot (or at corner) with receiver looking like his most likely landing spot. Porter can both go over the middle and stretch the field, and his pledge continues the WSU-Upland High pipeline.

Josiah Westbrook and Stephen Houston, will not sign with WSU on Wednesday, as we reported HERE.

OL
Projected to sign: 5-7
Verbal Commits: Keenen King, 3 stars;  Jaelen Lewis, 3-stars; Christian Haangana, 3 stars; Joshua Watson, 2 stars; Liam Ryan, 2 stars; Logan Tuley-Tillman (transfer)

Leach is always going look to take at least five o-linemen each class and with only four coming on board last year when Joseph Price didn’t qualify, the Cougs are more likely to take six rather than five this class -- and seven isn’t out of the question, either. There’s another OL that CF.C has been trying to reach (alas, unsuccessfully) who may be signing with the Cougs Wednesday. In addition, Frederick Mauigoa would be a big get. He has a final trip scheduled to Oregon State this weekend. He told CF.C after his Palouse trip that WSU felt like where he'd end up.

Tuley-Tillman verbally committed to WSU this month but within days seemed just as enamored with Houston and others. He has said he won’t be giving any further interviews. From this chair it seems like 50-50 and pick ‘em as to where the Michigan transfer winds up.


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