Recruiting up close with Robin Pflugrad

IN A LATE-LUNCH conversation in the Cougfan.com chatroom on National Letter of Intent Day, coach Robin Pflugrad answered questions for more than an hour from 70-plus members of CF.C. For the exclusive summary of that fascinating conversation, here's your chance to gain the insight on the Cougar class from one of the preeminent recruiting coordinators in all of college football.

COUGFANcom: Welcome coach Pflugrad and Congratulations on a phenomenal recruiting class!!! Let's open it up for questions from the Cougar faithful here on CF.C !!

CoachPflugrad: Thanks - glad to be here and I'm ready to get started.


74Coug: Coach...great class...will numbers force us to do any grey shirting?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the grayshirts...we may go that route with 1-2 players depending on academic results - which we won't know about until this summer...we are much closer to a balanced budget than we were with last year's class.

CadTramp: Coach , who do you think will likely play next year from this class?

CoachPflugrad: We will get good mileage out of all the junior college players next season...We want to put the best players on the field who have the best chance of success

bigscoug: what has the coach's most excited about this class?.....speed?

CoachPflugrad: This is a very balanced class...it is exciting to match your recruiting needs that you have in August and match your blueprint on February 2nd...we were right on with our needs and what we achieved...we might have been 1 or 2 players short of perfection

kjstoph1: Coach- which schools in the Pac-10 do you respect as recruiting foes?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding recruiting foes...all colleges that do not negatively recruit against the Cougars - which seem to get fewer and fewer each year! This could also be because of our success on the field and in recruiting battles.

IBC2991: Any spots still left? I assume we were holding one for Derrick Jones, but he signed with Oregon today.

CoachPflugrad: There is always a spot for a great, great player...you almost have to make a spot open for something unforeseen...if everybody qualifies, we would have to grayshirt 1 or 2 players

GoCougsBaby: Any particular diamonds you think you've uncovered in this years class?

CoachPflugrad: the linebackers that we are bringing in will have a chance to play right away...especially on special teams where we felt we struggled down the stretch last year

CadTramp: do you see either Tardy or Woolridge playing next year, both?, which one do you think is more likely to have their redshirt burned?

CoachPflugrad: On the running backs, that is a great question...we are going to be looking at both of them early in camp and they will be ready mentally to play before they even see Pullman again...we were 100 percent honest with them about the chance to play early and both were excited to do that...there is a chance that both of them could play next year.

LA Coug: I'd like to 2nd the question on Woolridge and Tardy and add a follow on. Why only 900 yards for Woolridge with his size and speed?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding Woolridge...the offensive system at Keller was dominated by passing and we are going to use him as a receiver, as we have with Jonathan Smith and Jerome Harrison

SocalCougFan: How many are still "short" of qualifying? Last year we lost several great athletes (but a got a couple of those guys back this year, which was great).

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the qualifying...in reality, none of them have qualified - and that goes for recruits everywhere because of senior English...we have three or four that have more work to do than just the senior English class

bigscoug: when did Texas become a recruiting target for the cougs?

CoachPflugrad: On Texas...Coach Burtnett has a lot of great ties in the state of Texas...the Holiday Bowl victory definitely paid dividends and got us through the door to where we could talk to players and coaches...Coach Burtnett is extremely passionate about the players and the level of play in the state of Texas...he shows that passion in every single recruiting meeting and I think he did and outstanding job this year in recruiting Texas and Louisiana

Kennewick Man: How does this class rank with the last two you've brought in?

CoachPflugrad: This class does not have as many flashy names as the previous two...the work ethic is as solid in this class as any...there are a few players that we have to mold into great players, which has been the success of WSU football over the years...I like our team speed, the balance in our numbers, I really like the efficiency of how we recruited this class...we brought 34 players to campus and signed 20...that is as efficient as anybody in the country

TulsaCoug: Coach - what a great class. Do you see Shelton Danzy being as much of a leader once he hits Pullman as he has been prior to signing day?

CoachPflugrad: Yes, I do see Shelton Danzy being a leader in Pullman...he is not shy and that is one of his strengths we saw in his recruiting evaluation...he showed a great personality in our camp and I will use him in recruiting each and every day he is a Cougar. Again, we are always looking for great players...the perfect class would have probably had one more corner.

Oregon Coug: Coach: Where do you see Bursey fitting in for this season?

CoachPflugrad: On Lorenzo Bursey...raw talent-wise Bursey will fit in immediately in our receiving corps...he will also become a fixture on our special teams...we are extremely excited about his speed and we loved his personality on his visit

COUGFANcom: Coach, what kind of a player is Cory Evans and talk a little if you could about how the coaching staff came across the pride of Lena, Louisiana.

CoachPflugrad: Cory Evans...long story...made short...Coach Bartell our graduate assistant knows the head coach Northwood High School...Bartell actually acquired videotape and showed it to me...we immediately talked to Coach Burtnett about taking the project over and he did a tremendous job of recruiting him and getting him to visit from so far away that late in the process...he will be one of my picks for sleeper of the year.

Oregon Coug: Coach: Do you see Ahmu with a chance to be in the rotation this year?

CoachPflugrad: AhMu has a great work ethic and a good ability to finish plays...he shows up before, during, and after every play, assets you want every player to have.

CadTramp: I know the numbers will change in the next year, but how many spots will we likely have to fill up in next year's class.

CoachPflugrad: Next year already? Funny you should ask that...we have already met on next year this morning...we are working with 18 as a ballpark figure...this could change as it has the last two years...we also discussed our needs and are in the process of going to work on next year's class.

Kennewick Man: Besides Cory Evans, who else might be the sleeper of the year?

CoachPflugrad: SLEEPERS...Courtney Williams, Dorsey High School is definitely a sleeper...Brandon Gibson will make an impact early in our program...Jason Stripling could be a player...

Tripsright: Hey Coach, congrats on another great recruiting year. It seems that a lot of schools are playing "the game" in recruiting i.e. allowing a kid to enter and compete for a position he wants to rather than were you see him fitting in, promising playing time and award promotion. Can you comment on your philosophy and why it might be different?

CoachPflugrad: I have never told a kid they will start their first year and I expect our staff to do the same...no matter how much publicity or how high they are ranked in the recruiting publications, the issue at hand is he needs to come in and compete for a job...he is now competing against people who have been in college, a college weight room, and have played in Pac-10 games...it is rare that a player can contribute at a high level, and it is exciting when they do i.e. - Michael Bumpus...I believe "The Game" in recruiting shows up more and more each year but honesty in the recruiting process will always be our philosophy at Washington State.

NIcoug: Do you see any of the new LB's as MLB type guys?

CoachPflugrad: Greg Trent is a MLB type player...great pad level before the play starts and maintains it throughout the play...he is a very physical tackler.

Kennewick Man: 1) Who do you consider the single biggest catch of the class? 2) The Cougar Nation thinks YOU DA BOMB! Onward!

CoachPflugrad: Catch of the class...what I like about this class is that there are several medium-to-large catches that hopefully we can coach into big catches...obviously we like Arkelon Hall as a marquee signee and love what he brings to us on and off the field...he has a chance to compete and brings assets of Brink and Swogger.

CadTramp: Speaking of MLB, is Will Derting entrenched there this year, or is moving him back outside something the coaches will look at.

CoachPflugrad: Regarding Will Derting...I have one of the greatest jobs in America watching my tight ends try to compete against him...he is a great player and has proven he can play two different positions...we will use him as best we see fit after spring ball...I think the entire Cougar Nation will be excited to see a healthy Will Derting play again.

TulsaCoug: Coach, speaking of Tight Ends, none in this years class - do you see a couple being priorities for next year?

CoachPflugrad: On tight ends...we actually had earmarked one tight end for this class but after each and every recruiting meeting, we felt it was a position we might not have to take a guy, so I guess you could say I took one for the team and it is obviously my job to make a couple of younger guys better during spring practice...it will be a priority in next year's class.

ctowncoug: Coach how much pt do you foresee Hamill or Blume getting this year? I thought they were sleepers that could make a difference in last years class?

CoachPflugrad: It is now Alex Hamill's and Blume's turn to take reps this spring...Alex has battled through a couple of different injuries so hopefully he will be healthy to compete.

Whoisyourcoug: Is there any chance that Russell Foster or O'Connor will return to WSU?

CoachPflugrad: For the record, Sean O'Connor was never officially gone from the program and he is back with the ability to play offensive line and possibly help again at tight end

CoachPflugrad: We have time for a couple more questions then we have to get work on the class of 2006


Kennewick Man: Besides tight end, will cornerback be an emphasis in next years class?

CoachPflugrad: Corner will be a major emphasis next season



crdiver: Coach last years grayshirts Included Ropati who we all know has done very well, but what about the other two players, tight ends Ben Woodard and Scott Selby.

CoachPflugrad: This spring will give these two players a great opportunity to compete and see where they end up on the depth chart (Woodard/Selby)

bwcoug: Coach, how does the in-state class look next year?

CoachPflugrad: Unfortunately I cannot comment on specific players, but I do think Washington will be a productive state next year...this was also discussed in this morning's meeting

Kennewick Man: Will both Morgan and Hall redshirt this year?

CoachPflugrad: Morgan and Hall could both possibly redshirt, but if they come in and compete and are in the top three then they will be coached as if they were expected to play every week

CrimsonAddiction: Coach, please tell me WSU won't be authoring comic books anytime soon! Where do you see the recruiting wars or "marketing" wars headed? It seems to be getting a bit ridiculous..

CoachPflugrad: After reading about the comic books, I looked around our recruiting department and I was the only one in the room...so for two reasons we won't be doing comic books - lack of support staff and two - my drawings wouldn't look anything similar to our recruits.

tfcoug: Are there any Will Dertings in this class, Coach?

CoachPflugrad: Probably not any Will Dertings...in my opinion, Will is much better than Derrick Johnson from Texas...he plays harder each and every play...if we have a couple of players close to his level, I will be extremely satisfied with the linebackers that we signed.

COUGFANcom: At this early stage, how many offensive linemen do you think you'll be looking to take next year.

CoachPflugrad: On the offensive linemen, we will probably take three to four next year.


CrimsonWazzu: Coach, out of the the safeties, who will most likely see the field this season?

CoachPflugrad: Regarding the safeties...Patterson has a chance to play right away, we expect that of him and all of our junior college kids.

CrimsonWazzu: How many scholarships will be available to walk-ons this year?

CoachPflugrad: Spring ball is about trying to prove yourself over and over, we will have a better handle on our numbers at that time...we have always prided ourselves on allowing walk-ons to receive a scholarship - we would like to continue that in the future.

pacrat: Coach, as Al Davis says speed kills. Will this continue to be an emphasis next recruiting year?

CoachPflugrad: Speed will always be an emphasis.


Cougsatoshi: Hey Coach, how do you think that the contract extension for coach Doba will influence our recruiting?

CoachPflugrad: The contract extension is awesome for recruiting...I can tell every coach in the country and every parent that Coach Doba will be their player's, son's head football coach for their entire career at Washington State University.

CrimsonWazzu: is there any chance we can get some receivers that can jump as high as Coach Akey?

CoachPflugrad: We have scoured seven continents plus many small towns in Texas, we cannot find anyone that can jump as high as Coach Akey.

Whoisyourcoug: Coach, I want to go back to school. Can I be a walk on? I'm 6-3/235 and 32 yo

CoachPflugrad: Walk on tryouts are open to any enrolled students!

wsufootball: Here's a quick one for you.... who can we thank for the great recruit from Louisiana--Cory Evans?

CoachPflugrad: Coach Burtnett and Don Bartell



SocalCougFan: Do the Spring enrollees get to participate in Spring Drills? (sorry if you already answered this)

CoachPflugrad: Yes, actually the spring enrollees do participate in spring drills...they need to contact Coach Oviatt to be enrolled in a class.

CrimsonWazzu: coach, how does eligibility work? For instance, i'm a 5th year senior at WSU, if I were to walk on and make the team how much eligibility would I have?

CoachPflugrad: CrimsonWazzu, you would have one year to play one season


tfcoug: What is Cory Evans 40 time?

CoachPflugrad: I think Cory would run between a 4.55 and a 4.6, but realistically once the game starts, he seems to run much faster

NitzTheCoug: Coach, is your son interested in being a Coug? I saw him play last fall at PHS. Looks like a talent!
wsufootball: Yah! Aaron Pflugrad is the TRUTH!!!

CoachPflugrad: Thanks for the question about Aaron, I guess I can comment on him since I have a previous relationship...catches the ball like his father...thank God he runs like mother.

Sellas: All the Offensive skill positions are very explosive next year. Can we expect offensive changes next year to try and get Bumpus, Hill, Harrison etc. in space? And get them to throw to Troy more.

CoachPflugrad: As an offensive staff, we are currently meeting. One of our major discussions has been who we need to get the ball to. I'm not shy about my passion to get the ball to your best playmakers...I think we can improve this aspect of our game, that obviously includes more passes to Troy and Cody Boyd

CoachPflugrad: We need to wrap this up, I need to see if my graduate assistants are getting any work done today. Thanks for all of the great questions and the great support for Cougar football.

COUGFANcom: Coach Pflugrad, thank you for all your valuable insights. Truly a pleasure. ONWARD CRIMSON SOLDIERS !!!!

And thanks to the Washington State SID for their immense help in setting this session up, particularly Jason Hickman.


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