VERBAL: Cougs land another 'Slash'

<b>MOVE OVER JED Collins. It looks like you're going to have company as the most multi-dimensional player on the WSU football team. has learned that a standout athlete from California has verbally committed to Washington State, becoming the 17th known member of WSU's 2005 recruiting class. CF.C talked this evening to the newest member of the Cougar family.

Lorenzo Bursey decided he didn't want to wait another minute, let alone another week before making his decision.

"Yes sir, I'm a Cougar," Bursey told CF.C on Tuesday evening, less than 24 hours after originally thinking he would make a decision in a week or so.

Bursey, who tripped to Pullman over the weekend, called running backs coach Kelly Skipper on Monday night and gave him his verbal commitment. Coach Skipper's reaction was immediate.

"Oh man, he was excited," laughed Bursey, a one-time signee with Oregon State before academic hurdles sidetracked him. "I just told him I was ready to be a Cougar."

Last season, Cougar true freshman Jed Collins played fullback, linebacker and was a top performer on special teams. His diverse roles earned him the nickname "Slash" -- in deference to former multi-purpose Pittsburgh Steeler Kordell Stewart -- from defensive coordinator Robb Akey. Bursey could contribute similarly at Washington State. He looks to be a natural slotback, but has a stellar pedigree as a running back and is also a veteran kick returner. Heck, he was also a lock-down cornerback in high school, so you just never know where he could turn up.

In 2004, in his one season at West Los Angeles College, Bursey rushed for more than 1,100 yards, caught another 300 yards worth of balls out of the slotback position and, in spot duty on kickoff and punt returns, took two returns to paydirt. His work earned him first-team All-Western States Conference.

Bursey chose Washington State over Idaho, where his younger brother may be headed, and had been receiving late interest from Washington and others. The 5-9, 170-pound athlete originally signed with Dennis Erickson and Oregon State in 2003 over offers from Iowa State and San Diego State and others, before heading the JC route.

BURSEY WAS TIMED at 4.4 coming out of Long Beach Poly but rather than flat-out foot speed, his true value lies elsewhere.

"I think I'm more quick than fast," Bursey said. "I have more power than people think I have and I think I have pretty good vision."

An explosive threat every time he touches the ball, Bursey possesses an amazing ability to make cuts and changes of direction at top speed, leaving would-be defenders clutching at thin air. He scored 61 touchdowns during his prep career.

After transferring to Long Beach Poly for his senior year, Bursey rushed for 880 yards and 17 touchdowns, sharing time in the Jackrabbits system with two other backs. His junior campaign, he set a school record at Beverly Hills High with 1,591 rushing yards, carrying the ball into the end zone 20 times. That performance earned Bursey league co-MVP honors.

BURSEY BECOMES WSU'S second verbal commitment from the junior college ranks, joining safety DeWayne Patterson. Both are rated three-star prospects.

Bursey will receive his AA degree next month and will have three years of eligibility at Washington State. He plans to travel to Pullman in May. Bursey said he can't wait.

"Oh man, I'm excited," said Bursey. "And blessed."

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