Cougars offer California corner

<b>CORNERBACK FIGURES TO BE a position of emphasis in Washington State's next recruiting class and the Cougars are wasting no time in their efforts to secure a top-flight corps. WSU has made an offer to a Californian who was one of the top prep playmakers at corner in the Golden State as a junior.

Devin Ross rang up WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey not long ago, since coaches themselves can't initiate a call to a recruit until this spring. The 5-11, 185-pounder out of Rancho Cucamonga was calling Akey to say "Thank you" for the offer he received in the mail from Washington State.

"I like him, he's a nice guy," said Ross.

In addition to the Cougs, Ross already holds scholarship offers from UCLA, Arizona, and Colorado State. Among those showing considerable interest in the lockdown defensive back -- Oregon, ASU, Ole Miss and USC, with an invitation to the Trojans' junior day received. Most schools are recruiting Ross at corner, although some are looking at him as an athlete.

Ross has no frontrunner at this stage. His best friend, Crenshaw safety Darien Hagan Jr., is a strong Cal lean and said that could possibly impact his decision.

"Everybody is even -- I really appreciate all the schools giving me a chance," said Ross.

WITH HIS FAMILY having just moved, Ross will ply his wares at Rancho Cucamonga High this year, transferring from nearby rival Los Osos High. Count Rancho Cucamonga coach Chris Van Duin as one who's pleased Ross is in his huddle this year rather than lining up against him.

"He's a gamebreaker, a real playmaker -- He did it against us," Van Duin finished with a laugh.

On the season for Los Osos, Ross had 44 tackles and not many looks. Teams didn't throw his way very often. Ross saw spot duty on offense and a couple chances on kickoff returns, averaging 24.5 yards per. On offense, Ross carried the ball 34 times for 334 yards with 6 rushing TDs. He added another 2 TDs on 4 receptions for 93 yards.

"He's a playmaker on special teams and on both sides of the ball," said Van Duin. "He can change the complexion of a game in a hurry."

This offseason, Ross is working on footwork and coverage skills, as well as drills to improve hip fluidity. A program's weight room is among the factors that will influence his decision.

"The people, the coaching staff and the facilities -- like the weight room," said Ross of what he'll be looking for in a school this coming year. "A coaching staff that gets along well with the players. Coaches that are there for you off the field as well."

In a position coach, Ross wants to tutor under a perfectionist who can spot the tiniest of flaws, and then diligently work with him on it until it turns into an asset.

"Someone who will correct me on the smallest thing," Ross explained. "Someone who will be on me at all times."

Devin Ross profile

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