Recruiting: A ton of news

FAX MACHINES throughout the college grid world will churn Wednesday morning with national letters of intent. Courtesy of early leg work by Mike Price & Co., the annual rite of crimson anticipation will this year be reduced mostly --- but not entirely --- to an affirmation of what we already know. There are still question-marks, but all that really is left is Price's annual proclamation that this is his best, fastest, most athletic and character-filled bunch of all time. And he just may be right

One national analyst, Bobby Burton, says that if all of the Cougars' prep and JC verbal commitments come to fruition, WSU's class will likely rank as one of the top 30 in the land. While such rankings must be taken with the usual grain of salt, it nonetheless shapes up as Wazzu's highest February finish ever.

That lofty showing reflects a class that is headlined by several enticing JC kids who could contribute immediately, and some bona fide prep blue chippers --- namely Western 100 picks TE/DE Cody Boyd, TE/DE Jesse Taylor, DB Eric Frampton and QB Carl Bonnell. Add in some hard working, blue collar types with the physical attributes to make a mark before all is said and done and you have the makings of one fine group of prospects.

The plum of the bunch is running back Jermaine Green (6-2, 220), a five-star prospect with 4.5 speed from Butler (Kansas) JC who is already enrolled at WSU.

There's also all-world JC kick returner/receiver Sammy Moore. Depending on which day you happen pick up a newspaper or read another college fan site, he's either reneging on his verbal commitment to WSU and going to Kansas State or standing pat with the Cougars. We'll find out Wednesday what the real story is. Suffice to say that his inclusion in Price's 2002 class almost guarantees that national pundits will be singing WSU's praises come Wednesday afternoon. With 4.4 speed and soft hands, Moore was as a consensus top 100 national prep prospect in Y2K.

We're also getting mixed messages on WR/LB Anthony Trucks (6-2, 195) of Antioch, Calif. He was a Cougar verbal before Christmas but now is believed headed to Oregon.

And speaking of reneging, Realdawg.com reported over the weekend that DE/LB/TE DeMar Baisy of Seattle's Rainier Beach High has decommitted from WSU to go with Washington. Baisy, an early verbal for the Cougars, started to get serious Husky attention in the last month when various UW prospects in California went sideways on them.

Another Cougar casualty to home town cooking is DB Reggie Grigsby, who last month reversed course and verbaled with San Diego State.

Alas, these changes of heart spell opportunity elsewhere. In the last 10 days the Cougars have secured verbal commitments from two intriguing athletes: three-time California all-state pick Flamingo Malone (6-5, 200) of Los Angeles' Banning High; and receiver Robert Franklin (6-3, 200), a speed merchant from Gainsville, Texas, who entered the Cougar orbit courtesy of a phone call from an old friend of WSU O-line coach Bob Connelly.

Malone is a standout receiver and all-state DB who also knocked a few heads from the defensive end position. Franklin, like Sammy Moore, has 4.4 speed and stars in track. His long jumping ability is reportedly Olympic caliber, according to the Spokesman-Review. Despite limited football experience he had offers from Arkansas, Texas A&M and others.

OTHER COMINGS AND GOINGS

The S-R reported last week that third-string Cougar QB Tali Ena of Prosser is transferring to New Mexico. With Jason Gesser and Matt Kegel front of him and a stable of young slingers behind him in Chris Hurd, Josh Swogger and Bonnell, Ena's decision makes perfect sense. Although ya gotta wonder how he might have looked lined up in crimson at tight end.

And speaking of tight ends, one of the most promising prospects to grace the Palouse is apparently coming back for spring workouts after getting booted off the club this past summer. It's 6-6, 285-pound Josh Shavies, brother of Fred and one of the jewels of WSU's 1999 recruiting class. The S-R says it's uncertain what position Shavies will play: tight end, offensive line or defensive tackle. He will not get his scholarship back.


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