Recruiting: Sizing up WSU signing class

SIGNING DAY isn’t until Wednesday but Mike Leach’s 2017 recruiting class at Washington State is coming into clearer focus. Here’s where things stand at the moment, including at one position group where the Cougar commits are in the top 15 national recruiting rankings -- and WSU might not be done at that spot yet.

From this chair, the positions most likely to potentially see movement between now and Wednesday: WR, OL, DT. 

QB: 1
Commit: Connor Neville
WSU looks to be in good shape here.  The Cougs have long looked at taking two scholie QBs this class but the guess here is they will wind up signing one in Neville. And anytime you land a 4-star quarterback, it’s going to be considered a good QB class.  WSU also has an intriguing walk on coming in John Bledsoe, Drew’s son.

RB: 1
Commit: Caleb Perry
WSU also looks to be finished and in good shape here. Perry was off the Scout.com radar for a while in playing at I-A King’s High, but no longer.  Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman recently tabbed the 3-star RB the state’s late recruiting riser. The Cougars look to be done here. 

WR: 4-5
Commits: Easop Winston, Anthony White Jr., Davontavean Martin
CF.C expects the Cougs to take at least one more wideout.  Among the names to watch for: 4-star Braylon Sanders, who is down to three. Another 4-star WR, Jamire Calvin, recently verballed to Nebraska but until his signed LOI is faxed in, we’re staying in the wait-and-see camp.  Others in the mix include Bryan Thompson, Reggie Roberson (announcing today) and Travell Harris.  Meanwhile, Michael Onyemaobi and Jeremiah Hawkins appear headed elsewhere based on recent tweets. One new name that popped onto our radar this weekend: JUCO Jimmie Stoudemire. The Auburn bounce back is scheduled to graduate with his AA in the spring with 3-to-play-3.  Stoudemire told CF.C through DM this weekend, however, that he does not plan to sign on Wednesday. “Me and the (WSU coaches) have been talking since this summer, nothing major yet.. very interested in the Cougs though. And no sir I’m not going to sign (Wednesday) I’m going to wait,” Stoudemire said. The signing period runs Feb. 1 – April 1.

OL: 5-6
Commits: Dontae Powell, Robert Valencia, Abraham Lucas, Alec Kuzmack, Jonathan Nathaniel
WSU might be done here, or they might not.  If WSU is finished, it’s an impressive 5-man class with Nathaniel the latest member to go crimson this weekend. Indeed, Scout.com ranks WSU’s OL commits No. 14 nationally in its position rankings.  It’s easy to forget since he signed back in December and has already enrolled but Valencia was a hard-fought, big Pac-12 recruiting win for the Cougs. Powell could end up being a mainstay on the WSU o-line for years to come. Lucas, Kuzmack and Nathaniel have what Leach looks for in an o-lineman: athletic and with great feet, high ceilings and room to pack on effective weight and mass.

But if Jaxson Kirkland or Mo Unutoa wants to come on board, we don’t expect the Cougars to put out a ‘We’re full’ sign. Kirkland would be another very big recruiting win if the Cougs were able to sign him with nearby Oregon and his dad’s alma mater, UW, putting late offers on the table. Unutoa would be a big get though in a different way: If WSU lands him over BYU/Utah/others despite Joe Salave’a moving on, that would be impressive.  Former commit Quazzel White has said he will make his announcement on Signing Day. 

DT: 1-2
Commits: Zero
This is the position many Cougar fans are wondering a Signing Day surprise could be in store. Miki Suguturaga is a good example of how things change quickly in recruiting. It would appear the Cougs are no longer in his wheelhouse.  For some Cougar fans eyeing the possibility WSU will go two straight recruiting classes without taking a prototypical DT-type is a eye opener.  Their hope is that Leach and Co., with new DL coach Jeff Phelps presumably running the point but with only a few weeks to recruit to WSU, can pull off a recruiting win or two.  Joshua Croslen decommitted from Phelps’ old school, Minnesota, four days ago and Minnesota promptly added two new DT verbals in the last two days. CF.C has been unable to connect with Croslen but he certainly bears watching.

DE/RUSH: 5
Commits: Will Rodgers, Kelle Sanders, Dallas Hobbs, Preston Hendry, Christian Mejia
The Cougs look to be done here and if so, it’s an intriguing mix with two late additions in Hobbs and Rodgers. CF.C for much of the recruiting cycle had projected WSU was most likely to take four DE/RUSH but there are five on the commit list.

LB: 3
Commits: Willie Taylor, Faavae Faavae, Cole Dubots
WSU also would appear finished here and the thing that stands out in the group is also present throughout the defensive commitments: speed.  It is plain in this class that Leach, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and the WSU coaching staff are emphasizing speed over size on the defensive side of the ball in this recruiting class.

SAFETY/NICKEL: 3
Commits: Josh Talbott, Damion Lee, Dominick Silvels
Speaking of speed, Silvels is a blur and Talbott and Lee can cover a lot of ground themselves. WSU appears to also be done here, barring something unexpected.

CB: 4
Zaire Webb, George Hicks, Sean Harper, Isaiah Love
WSU appears set at corner with these four. The lowest-rated member of the CB class, Harper at 2 stars, figures to be one of the more compelling spring storylines: Grinch really wanted Harper and kept recruiting him for two years after he didn’t qualify as part of WSU’s 2015 class. Love will also be one to watch this spring, he was on a fast-rising path in the 2016 class before an auto accident took away virtually his entire senior season. Scout.com’s Greg Biggins is a huge fan of Love’s potential.

WSU has 25 known commitments in a class CF.C projects to number 26 so on paper, the Cougs would take one more and call it a day. But that’s on paper. As always, if a recruit high on WSU’s board wants to come to Washington State, the Cougs won’t turn him away regardless of whether they’re full overall, or at his position. If the commit list surpasses 26 names, they’ll figure out a way to make the numbers work.

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