WSU recruiting: Previewing Cougs’ midyear JC signing period; Three early Christmas presents (at least) and one is a surprise for Wazzu fans

THE SIGNING PERIOD for midyear junior college transfers kicks off in a few short hours and Washington State fans are likely to find three early recruiting Christmas presents under the tree. Yes, we said three. Two of Wazzu's expected midyear signees on Wednesday were revealed Tuesday. The third, like all good gifts, comes as a surprise.

Cornerback Sean Harper a 6-2, 185-pounder out of Holmes Community College in Mississippi, told CF.C he will fax in his signed Letter of Intent on Wednesday to Washington State. 

It was previously thought Harper would be a spring graduate but Harper told CF.C Tuesday evening he had nailed down the final requirements and is now eligible to sign Wednesday, transfer to WSU in January to join the football program early and take part in spring ball.

“I took all my classes and I just got good grades in them all, that’s how I got the chance to graduate early,” Harper matter-of-factly told CF.C. 

COUGAR RECRUITING FANS got good news Tuesday evening when another midyear transfer, 4-star o-tackle prospect Robert Valencia (6-6, 290) out of City College of San Francisco, went crimson over offers this cycle from Cal, Oregon, Utah, Texas Tech and others. Valencia will also sign tomorrow with WSU.

He also saw a fourth star added next to his name. Valencia is now rated the No. 18 junior college prospect nationally. Soon after he committed to Wazzu, Valencia told CF.C’s Braulio Perez what put the Cougs over the top.  INCYMI, you can read about the role two WSU assistants, Jim Mastro and Clay McGuire, played in the WSU recruiting win -- as well as the starring role the Cougar players played during Valencia's official visit this past weekend: Click here.

Meanwhile, Valencia's CCSF teammate Easop Winston pledged Wazzu a few hours earlier. Winston, a 5-11, 180-pounder, flew under the recruiting radar much of the year despite being City's leading receiver with 71 receptions for 1,171 yards (106.5 ypg) and 12 TD receptions. Over his two-year junior college career, he caught 133 passes for 2,157 yards with 24 TDs.

Winston is ticketed for outside receiver at Washington State. He had verbally committed to Eastern Michigan a day earlier when Washington State came calling, with outside receivers coach Dave Nichol and Mastro running the point. Click here for our story on Winston.

AS FOR HARPER: he's rated 2 stars but don’t sleep on the tall cornerback signing with the Cougs on Wednesday. 

Cougar defensive coordinator Alex GrinchMike Leach and the WSU assistant coaches clearly think very highly of him given the investment in recruiting time.

Harper out of Hartwell, Ga., was originally a late signing to Mike Leach’s 2015 signing class before going the JC route.  But Harper, now a second-year sophomore at Holmes, has remained in very close contact with Grinch and WSU throughout his junior college career.

“Coach Grinch has stayed with me the last two years, we talked (just about) every other day. And every time we talked, we had great conversations about football, how they’re doing, how I’m doing,” Harper told CF.C when he verballed two weeks ago.

That two-year-plus recruiting effort speaks volumes about how much Grinch, also WSU’s defensive secondary coach, believes Harper at corner will be a great fit in the Wazzu defensive scheme.

Harper officially visited WSU this past weekend.   He has 3-to-play-2 at Washington State.  And now he’ll begin his Cougar career earlier than expected -- in January --  after he signs with Wazzu on Wednesday, as will Valencia and Winston.

ONE OTHER RECRUITING PIECE of news to share and it's not a small one: CF.C spoke with multiple independent junior college sources Tuesday night who say WSU may have cooled a bit on George Moore because it's looking most likely that he'll be a spring graduate. The junior college o-tackle pledged WSU back in June,

Moore, who today on Scout.com was bumped up to 4 stars and the No. 24 JUCO prospect nationally, now appears unlikely to be a midyear transfer (Note: there's still a chance, but the sources say it's now a slim chance).  Moore is a good student with good grades, the sources say. The issue is he didn't take enough units his first term at CSM.

That's also why he was unable to take an official visit to WSU this month -- as it stands this is his second full-time semester at CSM, and he needed to have had three under his belt at this point.  If he doesn't gain clearance on a midyear transfer, Moore would be able to officially visit schools starting in January after his grades come in from this term.

When CF.C spoke to Moore earlier this month he said he was fully committed to the Cougs. But additional Pac-12 rides have come in from Cal, ASU, Oregon State and others. And based on some recent retweets, our reading of the tea leaves is he might be looking around -- and at the same time sources are telling us WSU may have cooled on him.  Stay tuned on this one. CF.C will continue to reach out to Moore.

And heck, given how things are popping right now, who knows, maybe Big George unexpectedly gets the all clear sign tomorrow and becomes WSU's fourth midyear signee.  It's recruiting -- things can change by the hour (did you read the CF.C story on Valencia?)  Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

* Another potential WSU midyear signee, Riverside linebacker Nick Underwood (6-2, 230) announced on twitter Tuesday he would sign with Maryland.

RELATED STORY: A WSU recruiting blast from the past in Harper

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