Jessen and Skipper hit it off

<b>FOR RECRUITS, a large part of the decision on where tO spend the next four to five years depends on forging a strong bond with the position coach. During Washington State's junior day last weekend, quarterback Jake Locker made a connection with QB coach Timm Rosenbach. Offensive line coach George Yarno made a strong impression on Ryan Tolar. Also making a good connection during the visit was Spokane prospect Skylar Jessen and Cougar running backs coach Kelly Skipper.

The 5-10, 200 pound Jessen, who has been offered by WSU as a running back, continues to take a wait and see approach and might not have a leader nor frontrunners until after some additional visits. It is clear, however, that Washington State has made a decided impact on the Spokane native.

"Everyone is even still, but I'm liking WSU a lot," said Jessen. "I'm liking Skip."

Coach Kelly Skipper

Numerous recruits from the 2005 class -- and now in this year's class of seniors-to-be -- have had the same take on Cougar running backs coach Kelly Skipper. The words "genuine" and "cool" are repeatedly used to describe the Cougar coach who has a proven track record in producing running backs who stick in the NFL -- 13 and counting.

"I like Skip and every time I meet him I like him a lot more," said Jessen. "I can just talk to him."

There will be recruits who seemingly have a new leader every week over the course of their recruitment, but don't expect that with Jessen. He said for some schools, what you see and hear may not be quite what you get once you get down there for good.

"Everything's confusing right now," he said. "Making (just) one visit to a school is pretty tough....You can't just go one place and and say, 'Oh, I want to spend five years there'. Not after just one look."

FOR JESSEN, he said the same holds true when considering a coaching staff -- saying it can be difficult to get a read on some coaches without opportunity and time to really get to know them. That won't be an issue for Jessen when considering Washington State. The Mead High standout has made numerous trips to Pullman over the years, including attendance at WSU's camp every summer since his freshman year at Mead High.

"You don't know what they're actually like," said Jessen of some coaches. "I can tell (though) with Skip. Because he was (the same) even when he didn't know who I was. He's just real cool."

Jessen's father was along for the junior day in Pullman and took the opportunity to ask a few questions and learn more about the program at Washington State.

"He had a few on the training," said Jessen. "That's what he does, sports medicine."

ON FRIDAY, Jessen will travel to Oregon to take part in a track meet. On May 14, travel further south for an unofficial visit to Cal, and possibly Stanford. He'll also take part in the combine that weekend at Cal-Berkeley.

Jessen said he'd probably come to a decision sometime in the middle of his senior season or possibly after, depending on circumstances.

JESSEN GAINED 960 yards on 105 carries with 14 TDs in 2004 despite suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2, causing him to miss time and severely limited his mobility the rest of the way. In the weight room, Jessen has a vertical in the 30 to 33 inch range and bench presses 320-pounds. Academically, he carries a 3.5 GPA.

As a sophomore, Jessen tore up the GSL with 1,965 yards on 190 carries -- a 10.6 average. He was named league offensive MVP while earning first team All-GSL honors on the way to setting the single-season league scoring record with 34 TDs.

Skylar Jessen profile

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