Defensive end high on Cougs and Akey, WSU offers

<b>TEAM SPEED was a common thread running through the 2005 recruiting class, and this year is shaping up as more of the same for Washington State. The Cougars have offered a defensive end who, when he wasn't blocking kicks, spent much of his junior year running wild in opponents' backfields. He also said the thought of donning the crimson and gray is a very appealing one, indeed.

Rancho Cucamonga's Devin Johnson, a 6-3, 215-pound burner at defensive end, has received an offer from Washington State. There are two Devins at Rancho Cucamonga High -- DE/LB Devin Johnson and CB/ATH Devin Ross. The Cougs have offered both.

Johnson, who runs a 4.5 in the 40, called up WSU defensive coordinator Robb Akey earlier this week and the pair talked a little football.

"Man, he's a good guy," said Johnson. "I would love to go there, it's a great school."

Despite that glowing endorsement, Washington State isn't his leader at this early juncture. That designation falls to nearby UCLA, despite the fact the Bruins aren't among the five schools who have already offered Johnson a full ride.

"I just like them, the way their program is set up," said Johnson.

In addition to the Cougs, Johnson already holds scholarship offers from Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Oregon. LSU and virtually all the Pac-10 are all stuffing his mailbox to the brim.

On the season for Rancho Cucamonga, Johnson had 10 sacks among his 77 tackles. He also had 5 blocked kicks -- on 3 punts and 2 FG attempts -- not too shabby for a defensive end.

"Devin is highly energetic," said Rancho Cucamonga coach Chris Van Duin. "He's all over the place." Most schools see Johnson at DE, but a few are considering him at the linebacker spot, said Van Duin.

Besides Johnson, a look at the Cougs' offer sheet shows an emphasis on gridiron speed -- James Montgomery, Anthony Lewis, Jake Locker and Keith Rosenberg to name a few of the players who have some quicks out on the gridiron.

JOHNSON WAS THE only junior defensive lineman named first team all-CIF in Division II. Among his honors this past year, he was first team all-league and a LA Times All-Region first team selection.

"He's very athletic, very tough to block," Van Duin said. "He can make plays from behind -- he makes you account for a player you normally wouldn't have to."

Johnson is in no hurry to make his decision and said a school's academics program, facilities and coaching staff will be important to determining where he signs next February.

"I'd like to play for a coach that likes to have fun -- but who also wants to win," he said.

Johnson will head to Corvallis to participate in Oregon State's summer camp from June 24-28.

"I just want to go check it out, see how their school is," Johnson said of the Beavs. Later this month, he'll head to LA for the NIKE combine at Southern Cal, where the defensive end hopes to show how his offseason workouts have improved his already considerable speed.

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