RECRUITING: 'Fearless' defender verbals to WSU

WHAT LOOKED TO be a potential position of weakness for the 2005 Cougs is now shaping up as a team strength -- <b> has learned Washington State has secured another key verbal commitment on the defensive side of the ball.</b> The oral pledge brings to 12 (15 total including three holdovers) the number of known verbals secured by the Cougs in their 2005 class. CF.C talked to the latest member of the WSU family moments ago. And get this, he's name is already in the Cougar record books.

"I have committed to Washington State," DeWayne Patterson told Tuesday afternoon. Patterson is the first junior college verbal for the Cougs this recruiting season.

While he may be unknown to most Cougars, he's name definitely is not. One of the greatest defensive ends in Cougar history -- a Palouse Posse mainstay in the early 90s -- had the identical handle.

This Patterson bolsters what had previously looked to be one of the few thin spots -- safety -- on next year's team.

Patterson is the third safety in this class, joining 2004 holdover Michael Willis enrolling in January and prepster Xavier Hicks. They will become part of a returning corps that includes Husain Abdullah, Omowale Dada, Eric Frampton, and Christian Bass. From this group the Cougars must find two new starting safeties with the graduation of Hamza Abdullah and Jeremy Bohannon.

Patterson, a 6-2, 195-pounder out of Chaffey College in Oakland, delivered the good news to WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey.

"I told coach Akey," said the soft-spoken Patterson. "He seemed a little excited."

Patterson chose Washington State over Arizona, BYU, UTEP and New Mexico, among others.

"It was just my comfort level. I wanted to find someplace where I will feel comfortable and where I'd be able to play."

Patterson was reluctant to pat himself on the back but did offer some insight on his strengths in the secondary.

"I feel I'm a good run support safety and I have good cover skills. And I'm a pretty good hitter."

"Pretty good" might be an understatement according to his junior college coach.

Chaffey coach Carl Beach told CF.C. that Patterson is a quiet player who leads by example, going on to say they're really going to miss Patterson's presence this coming year at Chaffey. It's not hard to figure out why.

"I think his biggest strength is his intensity," said Beach. "He plays with real intensity. He's fearless when it comes to hitting people and going out to make a play. He's going to be sorely missed by us."

Patterson projects at safety for Washington State. He has three years to play two at WSU, having grayshirted at Chaffey.

It's no secret Washington State likes to attack on defense and to dictate the flow of the game. That looks to be right up Patterson's alley.

"I know with how Washington State plays -- we've had some other kids go there -- he plays the way they like to play there. It will be a good fit for him," said coach Beach.

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