BREAKING NEWS: Cougs land lightning bolt defender

<b>A LIGHTING BOLT with speed to thrill -- that's an apt description of the newest member of the Washington State family. Cougfan.com has learned that the Cougars have landed their second verbal commitment of the week. We talked to the most recent addition of the 2005 class.

Marlon Wood, a 5-10, 182-pound speed merchant who clocked a 4.3 flat and a 4.35 at a junior college combine, has verbally committed to Washington State.

Defensive coordinator Robb Akey and defensive backs coach Ken Greene stopped by Wood's junior college yesterday.

"As soon as they sat down, I just told them I'm coming," said Wood.

The two didn't say seated for long. Akey in particular immediately went skyward.

"Oh my goodness," Wood laughed. "It was pretty crazy in a little room."

The cornerback chose WSU over Marshall, Washington and North Carolina among others. Wood said the academics at WSU were one of the main factors in his decision to become a Coug.

Wood becomes the 17th known member of the 2005 class. The Cougs are expected to take 21-23 players, with an additional 2-3 players going the grayshirt route.

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Wood comes to Washington State by way of Pasadena City College -- the same junior college that produced Cougar RBs Jerome Harrison and Jonathan Smith.

Wood is the son of Richard "Batman" Wood, former All-American linebacker and NFL standout. The elder Wood was selected by CF.C for its All-Time All-Pac-10 team in 2000.

Marlon was named national junior college player of the week and was twice named the California JC player of the week this past season. He also took home Most Valuable Player honors from PCC. The accomplishments take on new meaning considering Wood played only seven games in the secondary this year.

Wood opened the '04 campaign at wide receiver for the Lancers due to his speed and a good set of hands but was eventually moved to his more natural position of corner when the secondary showed some holes.

In the seven games he played on defense, Wood had 30 tackles, three INTs and 11 pass break-ups.

Wood also simply shined on special teams. The Cougs could be looking to him and recent verbal Lorenzo Bursey to help pack some serious punch on the WSU special teams units. On kickoff and punt returns, Wood averaged 40 and 12 yards, respectively, along the way breaking Jackie Robinson's school record with a 107-yard return on a missed field goal attempt.

Wood originally signed with Alabama State out of Hillsborough High on a track scholarship but eventually decided he wanted to pursue his first love -- football. In high school -- after only picking up the long jump event four weeks earlier -- Wood ripped off a 22'7" leap to take the Florida Relays. He later finished 7th in states.

Marlon has three years to play three for the Cougs. He does not plan on running track at Pasadena this season, where he starred in the sprints, but will work out with the team while he finishes up his AA degree. He would likely head to Pullman sometime in June.

Wood said he can't wait to get to WSU.

"Oh, I'm thrilled right now. Very happy."


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