WSU Recruiting Roundup, 12/22

AS CHRISTMAS edges closer, the recruiting quiet and dead periods emerge, putting a blanket on things until the new year. But that doesn't mean business in Pullman has shut down -- it's just slowed a bit. What's clear is the Cougar coaches want to put the hammer down on their in-state studs still left on the board, as well as finalize any deals they may have with JUCO defensive ends that they hope will step in and be the next <b>D.D. Acholonu</b> or <b>Isaac Brown</b>.

Two December graduates, Justin Hickman and Abraham Wright, are DE's the Cougars would love to get their hands on for the spring. Hickman visited UCLA this past weekend and will be deciding between the Bruins, Cougars, Oregon Ducks and Arizona State Sun Devils. The Bruins had not offered going into this visit, so that will certainly play a part. The 6-1, 255-pound Hickman plays for Glendale (Ariz.) Community College, so ASU would have to be considered the inside favorite, although Justin claims that there are no leaders at this point and he'll make his decision shortly after he returns from Westwood.

Wright is a name that was banied about Pullman early in the recruiting process as a DE that wanted to visit WSU, but talk died down as the months passed during the Cougars season. Playing for NE Oklahoma A&M, Abraham has been looking at schools in the midwest (Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M and Tulsa), but swapped out a 12/19 visit with the Golden Hurricane to visit Pullman.

Word out of the Palouse is that Abraham enjoyed his visit a lot, but hasn't made a decision one way or another, and needs to consult with his family before making a final choice. It appears as if distance might play a factor in Wright's decision, but if he can overcome a move away from the area, the 6-4, 240-pound Wright just might find himself in a unique and fortuitous situation.

There were supposed to be two other visitors to Pullman this weekend, but only one was able to make it. Speed merchant Kenny O'Neal (6-0, 200) from Oakland Skyline is a Georgia transplant and the Cougars would love to make Kenny the next Sammy Moore. Unfortunately for them, they have come into the O'Neal sweepstakes late in the game and have a real outsider's shot. Put your money on Georgia or USC here. There isn't any word on whether or not Kenny will reschedule his visit to the Palouse.

Perhaps it was just fate that made it a big-man's weekend. Abraham Wright is no slouch in the size department, but he doesn't hold a candle to big Aaron Klovas (6-6, 300) from Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel. Klovas is the crown jewel to an exquisite in-state class of linemen, and one the Cougars and Ducks are fighting tooth and nail for. Don't forget the UCLA Bruins either. They are the only school Aaron is looking at outside the northwest, so if Klovas spurns playing close to home, he'll be Hollywood-bound.

But Aaron knows Pullman like the back of his hand now, and his parents were along for the visit this time around. When parents are in tow, that speaks volumes. That means the recruit is serious. And with a sports management program that Bethel graduates are using to find careers, Klovas appears to be comfortable with life on and off the field at WSU.

Combine that with his open admiration for OL coach George Yarno and you just might have a winning formula for Klovas' signature on a Washington State letter of intent. He said Sunday that, while all the coaches want to know what he's thinking, he told the Cougar coaches that he'll let them know in a week what his future plans entail.

Between a signed letter from either Hickman or Wright, the Washington State coaches just might something a little extras in their stocking come Thursday morning. Add a verbal commitment from the best tackle prospect in the northwest and the new year is starting to look awfully nice for the crimson and gray.

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