A cross-country QB hunt

IF WASHINGTON STATE can go to Youngstown, Ohio, to find a quarterback, then Evansville -- 300 miles southwest of there on the Indiana-Kentucky border -- isn't much of a stretch. And so it is that the Cougars are making a strong push for one of the most coveted prep signal callers in the Midwest. They were the first school to give the lad an offer, and they're one of a dozen sending a coach to the Hoosier State this month for the May evaluation period.

Statistically speaking, there's no doubt why the Cougars and so many others like 6-foot-3, 200-pound Joey Elliott. He's accurate and prolific. As a junior this past season he completed close to 60 percent of his 398 passes for 2,689 yards and 28 TDs versus 10 inteceptions.

The Cougars found him -- and no doubt have a shot at him -- because the WSU coaching staff has deep roots in Indiana. Secondary coach Ken Greene was at Purdue before coming to WSU in 2002. Linebackers coach Leon Burtnett was a long-time Purdue assistant before becoming the Boilermakers' head coach in the mid-80s and later was with the Indianapolis Colts. And WSU head man Bill Doba, a South Bend Native, was a hall of fame prep coach in Indiana and an assistant at both Purdue and Indiana.

"From watching film, everyone first points out his accuracy," Harvey Robbins, Elliott's head coach at William Henry Harrison High School, told our colleagues at TheInsiders.com."He is extremely accurate, and has good arm strength. He just reads coverages so well."

"Wake Forest, Purdue, Michigan State, Lousiville, and Kentucky have already stopped by in the past week," said Robbins. "I know the dates of when Wisconsin, Clemson, Indiana, and Washington State are stopping. Iowa was the first school to contact Joey so I know they'll be stopping by, and North Carolina State has shown as much interest as any other school."

Elliott plans to camp at Purdue and Michigan State this summer and visit five other schools during June. WSU is his lone offer right now, but that figures to change quickly, with Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Wake Forest and N.C. State expected to join the fray soon.

"Schools are very cautious about offering from just watching film anymore," Coach Harvey told TheInsiders. "They all have told me they want to get him on campus to check him out in person, watch him throw, and most importantly watch him process information."

Washington State, dubbed by Sports Illustrated as Quarterback U, is traditionally very aggressive about getting at least one -- and, lately, two -- standout signal callers in each recruiting class. This year they signed two in-state prospects -- dropback prototype Gary Rogers and fleet Cole Morgan. In the 2003 class it was Alex Brink and baseball phenom Kyle Kendrick. And in 2001 it was Chris Hurd and Josh Swogger, the Pride of Youngstown, Ohio, who will be the Cougars' No. 1 guy when fall workouts begin in August.

ELLIOTT ISN'T THE only up-and-coming prep QB to have attracted the Cougars' attention so far in this young recruiting process. WSU is believed to be looking seriously at up to a dozen signal callers, including Arkelon Hall, a 6-2, 204-pounder from Fresno who threw for 2,602 yards and 34 TDs last season and Derek Shaw, a 6-3, 200-pounder from Oceanside, Calif. Both are reported to have received scholarship offers from the Cougars, with Hall installing the Cougars as a slight early favorite over UCLA.

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