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WSU recruiting maestro Dave Emerick shares insights on new class with the Cougar faithful

THE LEADING CONTENDER for fastest man on the 2017 Cougar football team plays a position you might not expect. The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series again. And Caleb Perry wasn't discovered by accident. Cougfan.com members learned all that and more yesterday in an exclusive Signing Day chat with WSU football's chief of staff and director of recruiting, Dave Emerick.

Here's a lightly streamlined summary of his conversation with the crimson faithful on the luxury suites ...

Q. Talk a little about the Cougs' interior DL recruiting, it sounds like Alex Grinch today talked about WSU looking to be quicker with long and lean recruits who will eventually be around 280 pounds?

Dave Emerick: The general emphasis on our defense is speed.  We recognize that we do need bigger bodies to play on the defensive line but don’t want to sacrifice athleticism on the field in order to do so.  We were able to get several long athletes that we believe will be able to add weight and get to a weight where they will be able to effectively compete in our conference.  Dallas Hobbs and Will Rodgers are two individuals that have the frames to be able to add weight, and their athleticism speaks for itself off their film.

Q. We know you can't comment on any recruit who hasn't signed a LOI, and the signing period lasts through April 1.  Do you anticipate adding more in the coming days/weeks and winding up with 26 in this class when it's all said and done?

Dave Emerick: We will continue to recruit throughout the Spring and see if there is anyone that makes sense for us.  This may be evaluating the academic progress of certain individuals, or finding new prospects that might be able to help us win games.

Q. What are the big takeaways Cougar Nation should take from this class?

Dave Emerick: The biggest takeaway from the class is the amount of playmakers on both sides of the ball.  With the addition of Anthony White, Easop Winston, Davontavean Martin, and Travell Harris we feel like we added another dimension of athleticism to our offense. You look at some of the speed that we were able to add to the class as well and some of the track times (Cole Dubots – 10.45, Damion Lee – 10.59, Travell Harris – 10.7, Caleb Perry – 10.8 in the 100 meters), we look forward to seeing how that will translate on the football field.

Q. What’s the situation at defensive tackle?

Dave Emerick: We signed several quality linemen that we feel have the frame to grow into quality interior linemen, without sacrificing their athleticism.  There are also individuals on our current roster that we signed in last year's class that we feel are well on their way to doing the same thing.

The general emphasis on our defense is speed. We recognize that we do need bigger bodies to play on the defensive line but don’t want to sacrifice athleticism on the field in order to do so. We were able to get several long athletes that we believe will be able to add weight and get to a weight where they will be able to effectively compete in our conference. Dallas Hobbs (6-6, 240, and Will Rodgers (6-5, 230) are two individuals that have the frames to be able to add weight, and their athleticism speaks for itself off their film.

Q. With coach Shepard and Salave'a leaving WSU, does the coaching staff (and new coaches taking their place) re-evaluate the type of players they want to recruit/coach at those positions?  Or has that already been determined by the Head Coach or O/D Coordinators?

Dave Emerick: Coaches typically leave (a staff) very late in the recruiting cycle so while we won't totally overhaul what he have done up to that point, we will allow them to bring potential prospects to the table.  Coach Sage was very involved in the recruitment of Tay Martin and Travell Harris, while Coach Phelps was able to assist Coach Grinch with Dallas Hobbs.

Q. Did the last three games alter your recruiting priorities?

Dave Emerick: I don't think that the last three games altered what we were trying to accomplish on the recruiting trail, but they might have emphasized some things that we were already aware of.  We knew that with graduation, this would be a big year for us recruiting WRs and we feel like we addressed that need.  We felt like we needed to continue to add speed and playmakers to our defense, and believe that we were very successful in doing that as well.  If you look at some of the junior college additions, they were committed to us before the bowl game but we knew that we were recruiting each of them to potentially contribute next season.

Q. Last year you predicted the Cubs would win the World Series. Who will win this year?

Dave Emerick: I am a firm believer that the Chicago Cubs will win every World Series until the end of time!

Q. Which recruits look poised to make an impact as freshmen?

Dave Emerick: It always depends on how quickly they can adapt to college life and playing in the Pac 12 Conference but in addition to the junior college kids that we signed, I would expect Anthony White, Travell, Harris, Josh Talbott, and George Hicks, amongst others, will be able to compete for playing time.

Q. Was Caleb Perry (RB/King’s) founds by accident while recruiting Abraham Lucas at Archbishop Murphy?

Dave Emerick: No, we have known about Caleb Perry for a long time.  Coach Mele and Coach Mastro did a great job recruiting him.  He is another prospect that has great speed and we are excited to see what he can do in our offense.

Q. Who do you think will be the fastest guy on the team this year?

Dave Emerick: I think (linebacker) Cole Dubots will be up there.  He ran a 10.45 last year in the 100 meters.

Q. How much emphasis is placed on scheme fit when recruiting players?

Dave Emerick: We take into consideration scheme quite a bit and look for players that will best fit into our system, both on offense and defense.  We look for speed and athleticism on defense, and playmakers on offense as well as big, athletic offensive linemen.

Q. What walk on from last year will most likely see the field this year?

Dave Emerick: I would look for Brandon Arconado to have a chance to see the field next year.  He did a good job throughout Thursday Night Football and showed the ability to be able to make plays for us.

Q. Can you disclose if there is talk of any OL switches to DT?

Dave EmerickWe are always looking at ways to get our best players on the field but at this time there is no talk of any OL switching to DT.

Q. Who is your personal favorite "get" of this year and why? Whether the player themselves, the story, their potential, etc. Would love to hear any behind-the-scenes details about a specific favorite.

Dave EmerickI am really excited about Davontavean Martin and Travell Harris. Davontavean has overcome so much hardship in his life and still has a positive outlook on life. He is a fun kid to be around and an incredible athlete. If you haven't seen some of his dunks on twitter, you should check them out. Travell Harris is a great story because his recruitment played out exactly like he told us it would. He checked out other schools, listened to other schools, but always let us know that WSU was where his heart was and that he was going to be a Coug. He stayed true to his word and we were excited to get his papers in bright and early yesterday morning!

Q. Now that we have Jamire Calvin, is there any thought that he might redshirt like Robert Lewis did? I imagine that was not discussed to get him here to Pullman, but do we expect to see him play at all freshman year? He needs to put on weight. Would love to hear any details about the pitch that closed him too.

Dave Emerick: Jamire is such a dynamic playmaker that I would expect him to see the field immediately both as a receiver and as a returner.  Coach Manning led his recruiting and formed a special bond with him.  Coach Nichol and Coach Sage, along with Coach Manning, visited him last Friday Night at his school and at his home.  They had a great conversation about all that WSU can do for Jamire both on and off the field, and it really opened Jamire's eyes as to what he wanted out of the college experience.  

Related story: Mike Leach sums up each member of new class

THE COMPLETE LIST OF WSU'S 2017 CLASS OF RECRUITS



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