"We identified our top four prospects (at back) and recruited them as hard as we could, thinking we'd get one or maybe two. We got ‘em all," Kasey Dunn, the WSU running backs and assistant head coach told Cougfan.com prior to the start of the Pierce County Cougar Club's annual Mike Price Dinner at the Tacoma Sheraton.
For perspective on the significance of that factoid, it's akin to the U.S. sweep of the medals in the Olympic half-pipe.
"We've got so many guys lined up, you'd think I was coaching the offensive line," said Dunn, who counts 12 swifties in his backfield stable. "Who will step up to the top spot I don't know yet. There's only one dog-dish in our offense, so there's going to be dogfight to see who's going to get it. But with all that talent - - Holy Smokes! - - I may be looking like a great coach!"
In addition to the four recruits, his group of greyhounds includes top returnees John Tippins and Allen Thompson.
The four new recruits, all from the JC ranks, are:
Jermaine Green (6-1, 220) Butler (Kansas) CC
Green racked up more than 1,000 yards this past season and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Widely considered one of the nation's top 20 JC prospects at any position, the speed burner runs the 40 in 4.5 flat.
Jonathan Smith (5-9, 185) Pasadena (CA) City College
Smith's credentials are eye popping: the first team JC All-American ran for more than 2,000 yards this past season to lead the nation and caught 46 passes for another 553 hashes. He set a league record for TDs (31), a national JC record for single-game all-purpose yards (515) and a state JC record for most all-purposes yards in one season (2,863). He runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds and may strike Cougar fans as a Steve Broussard type.
Lionel Arnold (6-2, 205) Contra Costa Junior College
Arnold rushed for 1,251 regular-season yards (5 yards per carry) and 14 TDs in 2001. In 2000 he had similar numbers: 1,521 yards and 15 TDs.
Chris Bruhn (6-4, 215) Butte (CA) College
Bruhn signed with the Cougars after a star-studded high school career in Riverside but failed to qualify academically. He tore apart the NorCal Conference for the last two seasons and was widely considered one of the top 10 overall JC prospects in the nation.
Green already is attending WSU, Smith and Arnold are on track for their AA degrees and will enroll in August, and Bruhn is said to be working hard to qualify but likely remains a long shot who's more likely to enroll in January 2003, said Dunn.
Dunn says Smith and Arnold will an impact next season, but Green is the one in the cat-bird seat.
"Smith is a big time talent - - a scat back type - - who will definitely see time for us this year. He's also a great receiver and kick-returner," he said. "And Arnold is a tremendous athlete who could be a real contributor."
Green, by virtue of the fact he's already in school, will have an edge over the others because he'll be in uniform when spring practices start April 2.
"If you could draw up what a tailback should look like, Jermaine Green is the guy. He's gorgeous; he's the Sandra Bullock of running backs. He's got size and speed, but he hasn't carried the ball yet in Martin Stadium so I can't tell you if he's the guy," Dunn said.