WASHINGTON STATE ATHLETICS

Former Cougar QB entertains Spokane radio audience with tales of Price, Lambright, Holmoe and more

WASHINGTON STATE color analyst and one-time quarterbacking star Jason Gesser fired up a series of recruiting trail insights and zingers on 700 AM ESPN in Spokane yesterday. Among them: Luke Falk was all-but-gift-wrapped for Idaho in 2013 when the new coaching staff there rescinded the scholarship offer.

Gesser, who was the offensive coordinator and interim head coach at Idaho, had recruited Falk and offered him a scholarship. New coach Paul Petrino pulled the offer, Gesser said in a wide-ranging recruiting conversation on the Patchin-Lukens and Osso Show. When the Falks called him for advice on next steps, Gesser recommended a strong look at WSU.

Falk, who walked on at WSU, earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors last season and figures to be in the Heisman conversation in 2016.

Falk's story -- from preferred walk on to major star -- helps illustrate the vagaries of recruiting. On the flip side, noted Osso, is Tyler Bruggman, the coveted 4-star quarterback who was in the same 2013 recruiting year as Falk. Osso chuckled how "on Cougfan.com, fans were freaking out" on Signing Day when Bruggman -- a long-time WSU verbal -- was suddenly waivering in his loyalty and thinking about Arizona State.

His point: all that angst over a player who became a "non-factor" while the real deal (Falk) sat mostly in anonymity.

Burggman, by the way, recently signed with Montana State following a season of JC ball.

Gesser laughed at the explosion in fan interest with recruiting, noting that ESPNU has round-the-clock coverage this week. His wonder is heightened by the fact "we may not hear about" most of this week's signees for another two to three years.

Gesser called the business of recruiting "a process" and said fans shouldn't get upset when a player flips his verbal or, conversely, when a school pulls an offer because it's all an understood part of the process.

He offered a hypothetical to show why the process is so dynamic: say a coaching staff tells a prospect that he is one of three players they have offered one spot to and the first one to verbal gets it. The player then commits because he has no other Pac-12 offers and isn't sure he'll get another. And then mid-way through his senior season, Notre Dame and USC come calling, which means the kid is going to listen.

And so "the process" churns.

Of his own recruitment as a player, in the 1998 class, Gesser offered a handful of gems:

* When he called Cal coach Tom Holmoe to inform him that he was going to sign with WSU, Holmoe "cussed me up and down," Gesser said. Since he had never verbally committed to Cal,  Holmoe's reaction "just confirmed my thought process."

* Once Gesser set foot in Pullman and talked with Mike Price, he knew WSU was the perfect fit and canceled his final official visit, to Kentucky.

* On his recruiting trip to Washington, he and a fellow prospect were greeted in Seattle by Husky players from their alma mater, Saint Louis High in Honolulu. "The first thing they say is, 'don't come here ... these coaches, can't stand 'em -- you're not going to like 'em,'" Gesser recalled. The next day grew more strange when he met with UW head coach Jim Lambright, who informed Gesser that his true priorities at QB were Jared Jones and Luke Huard and he was sure he'd get one of them. Jones signed with Florida State and Huard with North Carolina.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO GESSER'S FULL CONVERSATION ON 700 ESPN SPOKANE.


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