The Apple Cup takes center stage this weekend, but this weekend is also a seminal event in the recruiting process. Four highly touted prospects are coming into Pullman on their official visit to Washington State -- Fevaea'i Ahmu, Vic So'oto, Michael Willis and Orlando Scandrick.
Note: There's been some chatter that Dartangan Johnson, the highly touted junior college running back will be visiting Pullman this weekend. That isn't the case. But don't read anything into that, either. WSU generally brings in junior college prospects a little later in the process.
A dominating defensive tackle from Serra High, holding offers from Washington State, Arizona and Colorado among others. Fevaea'i, who goes by the nickname of "Ah-EE", has taken two trips so far and those two schools, Colorado and Arizona, look to be in the driver's seat right now.
One of the things Ahmu (6-1.5, 285) will be looking for on his trip to Wazzu is how the coaches interact with the players during a game; how the coaches coach. He's very interested in a school's academics, planning on going into the medical field. And he's one of the few prospects Cougfan.com has talked to that made it a special point to mention he wanted to check out the weight room and the facilities.
Ahmu is a player who has the skills to play early at the next level. Besides his power and long wingspan, Ahmu runs exceptionally well for a man his size, chasing down a number of opponents for Serra this season.
The No. 1 tight end prospect in the West. Washington State is among the schools recruiting the 6-4 220-pound athlete the hardest. He favors BYU and Washington State at this point, with Arizona, San Diego State and Utah among several others in the running. So'oto holds at least seven offers but he appeared ready to pull the trigger and verbally commit to BYU back in September but decided to hold off until he visited some schools. This weekend could go a long ways in helping So'oto reach his decision.
One factor that could sway So'oto, who is Mormon, towards Washington State is tight ends coach Robin Pflugrad and the extent to which WSU uses their TEs in their offensive packages. So'oto told Cougfan.com the fact that Pflugrad coached Todd Heap while coach Pflu was at Arizona State was "a big deal to me." Also in the Cougs' favor, So'oto feels he has a good connection to the Pflugrad and the coaching staff.
It will be a family decision for the So'oto family on where Vic attends college. One thing he's looking for on his trip is to gauge how well he'll be able to balance football and his religion. So'oto is undecided on when he would take his mission.
On the year, he has 38 receptions for 772 yards, eight TDs
Cougfan.com has confirmed he will be taking an official visit to Washington State this weekend for the Apple Cup. Willis was a member of the 2004 class this past February but did not qualify academically. Willis will take the SAT in December and assuming he attains the qualifying test score, will enroll at Washington State this January as a grayshirt, no if's and's or but's.
"I signed my name on the dotted line," Willis told Cougfan.com a week ago, referencing his 2004 letter of intent to WSU. "I'm a man of my word. Plus, they stuck with me through a lot of stuff."
Although a year removed, Willis would again be a huge signing -- this guy can play. He's a phenomenal athlete, a huge hitter on defense. He offers just as much on the offensive side of the ball, a strong wide receiver who has another gear and will not shy away from contact. With the Cougs having a need for safeties as Hamza Abdullah and Jeremy Bohannon graduate, it is generally thought that Willis would play at the safety spot for WSU. He is talented enough to contribute as a freshman.
If he doesn't achieve the needed test score, Willis plans on enrolling in junior college but the former Lincoln/Tacoma star told Cougfan.com he's not looking that far away yet, he's focused on diligently studying for the SATs.
Scandrick is a very intriguing prospect. Before his senior season, he might have been flying under the radar, a sleeper not getting as much attention as his play would warrant. No longer. Scandrick is a playmaker on both offense and defense and schools have taken notice. As his stock has climbed, so has his offers list. He has no leaders at this time, telling Cougfan.com earlier this week, "No favorites. Everyone is even."
The 5-11, 175-pound playmaker holds eight offers, including Washington State, Oregon, Boise State, Fresno State. Arizona State and Notre Dame could make it an even ten soon, both schools having ramped up their recruiting efforts on Scandrick of late.
For the season, Scandrick has 36 catches for 603 yards and 6 TDs (8 total)
But Scandrick might very well play defensive back at the next level. The Los Alamitos product combines speed to burn with excellent cover skills according to Los Al coach John Barnes; "He's a great cover corner on defense. He can get in your hip and just run with you all day. You can't shake him."
In addition to the four official visits, it is expected a number of prospects will be making the trip to WSU on unofficial visits this Apple Cup weekend.
WSU Recruiting Roundup -- Apple Cup visits
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