A first for Mike Leach at WSU in midyear JUCOs, with three set to arrive in January and go through spring ball

IN THE SPACE of 24 hours, Washington State went from zero known to three early junior college signees. Among the trio who signed with the Cougs on Wednesday, one is a cornerback more than two years in the making, another is the 18th-ranked junior college prospect nationally regardless of position and the third was named to a first team All-America list even Cody O’Connell didn’t make.

A quick check also shows CB Sean Harper, OL Robert Valencia and WR Easop Winston will represent the most midyear JUCO arrivals under Mike Leach since he arrived in Pullman (previous high of two). 

The last time three junior college prospects arrived early in January to WSU was in the 2011 signing class, the year before Leach arrived (OL Rico Forbes, DE Ian Knight, OL Taylor Meighen).

Winston (5-11, 180) was named first team CCCAA All-America, it was announced Wednesday on twitter. He caught 71 passes this past season, leading the California Community College Athletic Association in receiving yards (1,171) receiving yards per game (106.5) and was second in TD receptions (12). He was named first team All-Bay-6. Over his two-year junior college career, he caught 133 passes for 2,157 yards with 24 TDs.

Valencia (6-5, 295) is the No. 3-rated junior college offensive lineman nationally on, and the No. 18 JUCO prospect overall.  Valencia, who is Winston’s teammate at CCSF, was also named first team All-Bay-6. The 4-star prospect and Winston become the fourth and fifth Cougars to come to Wazzu out of CCSF (QB Anthony Gordon, safety Robert Taylor and safety Shalom Luani).

Harper (6-1, 180) posted 25 tackles with two interceptions, including one returned for score, as a second-year sophomore. He helped lead Holmes to victory in the MACJC State Championship and Graphic Edge Bowl in 2016, with Holmes finishing the season ranked No. 7 nationally in the NJCAA. The All-MACJC honorable mention selection  originally signed with Washington State in 2015. Cougar d-coordinator Alex Grinch, who had been recruiting Harper to Missouri before coming to WSU in January 2015, ran the recruiting point on Harper and then continued to keep in close contact throughout Harper’s JUCO career.

Winston and Harper have 3-to-play-2, Valencia is 2-for-2.

RELATED STORY: Harper a WSU blast from the past

Valencia Photo

Easop Winston, CCSF HC Jimmy Collins/Winston Photo

L-R: CCSF OL coach Eduardo Nuño, Robert Valencia, Jimmy Collins/Valencia Photo


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