WSU gets 2 more: Hoss & TE/DE

THE COUGARS' 2002 recruiting class welcomed its 16th and 17th known verbal commitments today: 6-6, 265-pound offensive lineman <b>Spencer Hollison</b> --- a pass-blocking machine --- who chose WSU over Colorado; and 6-6, 210-pound TE/DE prospect <b>Mkristo Bruce</b> of Issaquah. Hollison is considered one of the nation's top 75 OL prep prospects. Their verbals come just one day after the Cougs landed another JC back in <b>Lionel Arnold</b>.<br><br>

The Contra Costa Times reported that Arnold (6-1, 210), of Contra Costa College, pledged his allegiance to ol' Wazzu on Wednesday. He rushed for 1,251 regular-season yards (5 yards per carry) and 14 TDs this season -- numbers nearly identical to what he posted a year ago.

HOLLISON, MEANWHILE, is a hoss who runs the 40 in a swift 4.93 seconds. He's from California's Santa Margarita Catholic High and was widely thought to be headed to Boulder after a capping a long courtship by the Buffs with an official trip earlier this month that was said to have gone swimmingly. But, like so many crimson verbals this fall, Hollison said Pullman and WSU were just too good a fit to pass up.

His prep coach told national analyst Jeremey Crabtree that the Cougars "came on strong" in recent weeks and the coaches were "impressive" in their efforts.

Another steak eater whom the Cougars are taking a look at --- Federal Way's 295-pound Nate VanderPol --- was named first-team all-state by the Associated Press this week. He tripped to WSU a week ago but is not believed to have received an offer from the Cougars --- at least not yet.

BRUCE'S VERBAL was reported by the Seattle Times. The lad was an all-Kingco 3A linebacker and second-team quarterback this season at Issaquag's Liberty High. He is projected as a tight end or defensive end at WSU.

With 17 known verbal commitments to date, Price has just eight slots to fill before national letters of intent are signed on Feb. 6. Word in recruiting circles is that the Cougars actually have but three or four scholarships left to fill, as several kids who already are sewn up have yet to make it public.

However, there is a chance the Cougars will land more than the NCAA yearly alotment of 25 by "grayshirting" some players -- postponing their enrollment from the fall to the winter in order to effectively gain them a year of eligibility.

The verbals of Arnold, Hollison and Bruce brings to seven the number of WSU commitments that have been made ppublic in the last eight days alone. The other four are:

* Star JC running back Jonathon Smith (see related story on CF.C front page).

* RB/LB Scott Davis (5-11, 210) of Kamiakin High in Kennewick. This week he earned first-team all-state recognition for the third time in three seasons. He has twice been named co-MVP of the Big Nine conference. He projects as a linebacker for the Cougars. In three seasons he posted 249 tackles, 26 sacks, seven interceptions and caused 28 fumbles. Still, he could get a serious look at running back at WSU. He gained 4,457 ground yards (6 yards per carry) and scored 61 touchdowns in his three varsity seasons. Current Cougar starting linebacker Al Genatone also is a product of Kamiakin.

* WR/LB Anthony Trucks (6-2, 195) of Antioch High (Calif.). A first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League wide receiver and a starting outside linebacker, he caught 27 passes for 442 yards and four touchdowns this season despite missing three games with a broken wrist. He'll be tried at both WR and OLB at WSU.

* JC linebacker Kevin Sperry (6-1, 220) of Los Angeles Harbor College. He runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. Even more attractive, he's way ahead academically so will have four years to play three Division I-A seasons. He runs sideline-to-sideline very well and hits hard. He set a school record with 17 tackles in one game this season. Word down California way is that Sperry turned down USC to cast his lot with WSU.

Arnold, the JC back, said in an interview with the Contra Costa Times about his visit to WSU last week, "I like the academic programs, I like the facilities, I liked everything about it. I've always liked Washington State since I was younger. I always wanted to play in the Pac-10." Arnold also considered Arizona, Louisville, Nevada, Utah and Weber State.

Cougar verbal commitment Carl Bonnell, starting QB at Kent's Kentwood High for the last three sreasons, was this week named the state of Washington's Class 4A player of the year by the Associated Press.

Besides Scott Davis, another Tri-City prospect whom the Cougars were after has opted instead to sign with Nebraska. The Tri-City Herald reports that Adam Carriker, a 6-6, 245-pound defensive end verballed with the Cornhuskers this past weekend. He had tripped to WSU the weekend before that.

Perhaps the biggest Cougar pick up since August is a youngster who won't even count toward the 2002 recruiting class. It's wide receiver Devard Darling, a 4.3 speedster who transferred in from Florida State in September. Word from Pullman is that his practice exploits are nothing short of spectacular. So look for him to make a big-time debut in 2002.

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