Young receivers catching on

PULLMAN – If <b>Jason Hill</b> hadn't already caught the attention of the Washington State coaching staff with his steady play, he certainly would've with "The Catch" he made last week.

Alex Brink was the quarterback and Hill was deep down the field blanketed by two defenders. Brink did his best to throw a pass that Hill had a chance of getting, but the throw looked a bit long and high and no one expected him to get anywhere near it. But Hill elongated his body,reaching over the two cover-men, somehow pulling the pass back to earth.

"For a true freshman that catch that he made was unbelievable," said head coach Bill Doba.

Before making comparisons of Hill to other wide receivers who made impacts their freshman year, such as Reggie Williams of Washington and Mike Williams of USC, Doba would like to point out that Hill is a good two or 3 inches shorter than either of the Williams.

"Reggie Williams and Mike Williams are about this tall," said Doba, raising his hand about a foot over Hill's head.

Hill may not be the physical specimen that either of the Williams is, but between him and redshirt freshman Chris Jordan, the two could have the same impact for WSU as either of the Williams. WSU will need the depth that Hill and Jordan could bring.


"Their potential upside is huge," said offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, who held the WSU record for most receptions in a season for 25 years. "But they've got some work to do. They key is commitment: how long will they work to be the best?"

Levenseller knows a little something about potential and commitment. Coming out of high school, in 1974, WSU barely looked his way. The only person that would was a young assistant Cougar coach named Mike Price. In fact, the day Price signed Levenseller he played "hide and seek" from the coaching staff that had overlooked him. By the time his career was over, Levenseller held the Pac-8 record for most receiving yards in a season and was twice named first team All-Conference and All-West Coast.

Levenseller will be the man the two need to impress if they expect to see significant playing time and so far they have done that.

"The easiest way to my heart is to go attack someone," Levenseller said.


So far that's what the two have done. The coach describes both as tough kids but said they also have a wide learning curve ahead of them.

"Jason is a strong, really strong, physical, hit-you-in-the-mouth, kind of kid. He's real tenacious," Levenseller said. "Chris is good and wants to be really good. He's got a lot of learning to do and I've showed a lot of trust in him."

Jordan has not betrayed that trust so far, either. In two scrimmages he has caught seven passes for 102 yards. Hill has played sparingly but caught three passes for 25 yards.

More than anything though the two understand they are learning from one of the best to ever play their position and are all ears.

"I'm a learner," said Hill. "I take the best of what I see in everyone and make it my own. I have high expectations and I know what Levy can bring out of me."

Jordan is in a different situation than Hill is. While both will be expected to play, Jordan has a year of practicing with a Pac-10 Championship team under his belt and will be expected to know the system better.

"This year I know what to work on," Jordan said. "It feels good to be able to contribute. Coach Levy teaches me a lot of new stuff but he also wants me to exploit my strengths still."

Jordan also said that older receivers such as Devard Darling have helped tutor him.

"He told me be confident and go out there," Jordan said. "Know you'll drop some balls, but don't worry, you'll get your chance to shine."

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