Why WSU tripled its in-state recruiting gets

WASHINGTON STATE is expected to sign two in-state products Wednesday - in addition to a January early enrollee - for a total of three homegrowns in its 2016 class. That’s three times as many as WSU’s last class. The change is due to the WSU coach now recruiting the Westside.

And Eric Mele nearly had four in-state signees.  Mele took over midway through last season for former special teams coach Eric Russell and WSU’s walk on program and recruiting efforts on the Westside immediately trended up -- WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro back in June predicted Mele would make a difference.

“Having Eric in the Northwest is huge for us,” Mastro told CF.C back in June. “He’s such a thorough, hard-working presence. We’ll touch so many more people in the Northwest now having him focused in that area. Already, we’ve seen the benefits of that.”

None of the 2016 WSU in-state trio has a known offer from another Pac-12 school.  Then again, neither did Joe Dahl, Gunnar Eklund or Cole Madison, to name a few.

Are one or all of the three similarly capable of doing big things over the course of their WSU careers? Will they down the road make other Pac-12 schools lament not offering them a scholie?

Offensive lineman Joshua Watson isn’t close to where he’ll be physically in a few years -- but he has huge hands.  Huge.

And he’s got a big wingspan. 

He’ll need time to pack on the good weight before challenging for a starting job. Scout.com lists him at 6-5, 270-pounds, and that might be a little generous.

But even if he’s 6-4, 265-pounds on Signing Day, how many football players of that size do you know who have the agility and skill to compete in swimming and lacrosse at their high school?

Watson does both for Cascade High in Everett.

Ferderal Way ATH D'Jimon Jones is a throwback: the three-sport high school athlete who has become so rare these days. The idea is that once the 6-2, 175-pounder concentrates year-round on football, his development should take off. But as far as athleticism goes ...

Jones soared 6-9 in the high jump last year, and he placed second at state.  It was his first year competing in the event.

He also won the state championship in basketball last season and his current Federal Way hoops team is undefeated.

He’s played multiple positions on the football field (including QB) and his athleticism dictates he could play on either side of the ball.

But good Pac-12 DBs are harder to find than are good WRs, and Jones is almost certain to get his first look at corner or safety.

He already has the right demeanor to play in the Pac-12.  Jones loathes losing.

Bellevue ATH/QB Justus Rogers is a cerebral player out on the gridiron.   He’s a natural leader and a source at WSU tells us he has attacked the offseason workouts since enrolling early at WSU this month.

He placed in the hurdles at state, and he knows what it’s like to win a ton of football games.

Rogers will take his shot at QB this spring. He's listed by Scout.com at 6-2, 210-pounds and if he eventually focuses on safety or linebacker and throws all of his efforts behind playing on defense, his ceiling could be quite high.

And there are plenty of very good linebackers and safeties in the history of Pac-10/12 who became their team’s “quarterback” on defense.

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