Cougs near finish line

WITH JUST A WEEK left until letters of intent are signed, WSU has secured its 22nd known verbal commitment this recruiting season and solidified a soft verbal from star Seattle running back <b>J.T. Diederichs</b>. With <b>Ben Woodard</b> (back from a mission) and grayshirt <b>Scott Selby</b> likely counting toward this year's class, the Cougs look to have but one or two scholies left to give.

The newest pick up for the Cougars is outside linebacker/receiver Benny Ward, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Birmingham High in Van Nuys, Calif. He committed to the Cougars during his official visit this past weekend.

The news was confirmed by another Cougar commit, Ballard High QB Cole Morgan, who also confirmed that the previous verbal commitment of his teammate, J.T. Diederichs, is solid and both will sign with the Cougars on February 4. Diederichs also was in Pullman over the weekend.

Ward caught 27 passes for 642 yards and 10 TDs this past season. He was a league leader in both reception yards and scoring. He averaged 58.4 yards per game and had two contests with more than 100 receiving yards.

As for Morgan, who tossed for more than 3,000 yards over the last two seasons, he said the weekend went very well, noting that dinner at Coach Doba's house featured giant steaks and baked spuds.

Alex Brink was Cole's host. "He just told me to expect to work hard," Morgan said. "He said that it's not easy when you get there, but it's fun. And I shouldn't come in unprepared."

So was there anything that surprised Cole on his trip? "Nothing really, to be honest," he said. "I've been there five times before."

Morgan's position coach at Ballard High was legendary Cougar QB Jack Thompson.

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