WSU Recruiting hits full throttle

THE ARRIVAL OF MAY marks the formal launch of football recruiting. College coaches are now traversing the nation, visiting high school campuses in search of prospects, followed up in June with the summer camps. Over the next several weeks, you can bet the number of scholarship offers extended by Bill Doba & Co. will swell considerably from the approximately 20 known offers made to date.

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The tally already includes six offers to kids from the state of Washington, California checks in at double digits and the budding crimson pipeline otherwise known as Texas boasts a pair of prized recruits.

With Bellevue athlete Keith Rosenberg's announcement this week that he has verbally committed to Washington State, the Cougs are off to a nice start in a recruiting campaign that will see them take a class numbering about 18.

The numbers typically remain in flux a bit all the way up to Signing Day but assistant head coach Robin Pflugrad told a packed CF.C chatroom this past Signing Day that the Cougs would begin with a ballpark figure of 18 for the class of 2006.

Testament to why that's just an estimate can be found in the Cougars' 2005 class. Initially it looked like the Cougars would take 12-15 players. But between unexpected attrition and grayshirts, the actual total was 25, including those grayshirts that will count against this year 's class and the 2007 Signing Day.

CORNERBACK WILL BE a major emphasis this year, and two standouts who already have offers from Washington State are a pair of lockdown Californians.

Long Beach Poly's Vincent Joseph (5-9.5, 185) is a very special defensive back who rates among the very best storied Poly has produced according to his prep coach, Raul Lara. "He's been one of our best cover guys, one on one, by far," said Lara. "He's some kind of athlete."

Joseph told CF.C his three frontrunners are Washington State, Oregon (also offered) and Cal.

Devin Ross already holds double digit offers, including one from the Cougs. The 5-11, 185-pounder out of Rancho Cucamonga has no favorites at this time but expects to begin whittling down his list soon. Rancho Cucamonga head man Chris Van Duin describes him as a "real gamebreaker" on both sides of the ball. he is also a threat to take it to the house on special teams.

WASHINGTON STATE looks to take 3-4 steakeaters this class, with three offers already on the table. All three hail from the state of Washington.

Steve Schilling, a teammate of Rosenberg, topped the double digit offer mark long ago. In addition to the Cougs, he's been offered by nearly the entire Pac-10 as well as teams like Oklahoma, Miami and Michigan. The 6-5, 285-pounder has no favorites and plans on narrowing his list over the coming months before the season, and then making a final decision sometime after his final prep campaign.

Washington State was the first to offer Ryan Tolar, the 6-6, 320-pound bulldozer from Pasco. Incoming Cougar Arkelon Hall spent some time with Tolar during WSU's junior day and Tolar came away impressed. But all schools remain even at this time for the o-lineman. He plans on taking all five visits and making his decision after the season, but also to start narrowing down his list sometime this summer.

The athletic Cody Habben from Issaquah also received his first offer from the Cougs. The 6-5, 260-pounder has such good feet, that Skyline High will use him as a lead blocker from the tackle spot. The Cougs are currently tied for the top spot on Habben's list with Nebraska.

One other position of need in 2006 that's worth noting will be at tight end. Troy Bienemann will be a senior this season, Cody Boyd a junior. The Cougs looked at a few tight ends in last year's class, including Vic So'oto who found the pull of BYU too strong to resist, but in looking at the talent pool for 2006, decided not to sign a TE this past February. Expect to see Washington State go after a good one this year.

Contrary to other published reports, Isaiah Barsh is planning on walking on to Washington State and is not a Cougar commitment. He has not received a scholarship offer from WSU. Barsh will be looking to complete his AA degree back in his home state of Washington -- after recently taking classes at Pima CC in Tucson -- before walking on at Wazzu. Barsh was a fierce tackler at Puyallup High who could very well be wearing the crimson and gray alongside former Puyallup teammates Jacob McKinney and Loren Langley if academic hurdles had not surfaced. Back during his senior season in 2003, Washington State was looking very hard at the 6-2, 225-pound head-cracker as an outside speed rushing presence at the defensive end or linebacker spot for the '04 signing class. Academic concerns presumably prevented the Cougs from offering the talented defender at that time.

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