WSU plays host to defensive gems this weekend

A FAMILIAR FACE returns to Pullman this weekend for an official visit. Joining him to watch Washington State play face off against ASU on Dad's Day weekend will be another defenseman, a shutdown prep cornerback out of Colorado who is making his first trip to the Palouse.

Class of 2005 signee and defensive tackle Joseph Townsend, (6-4, 285), is on his way to Pullman this weekend for an official visit. Townsend spoke to from the airport a short time ago.

"I just want to see what the fans are like on Game Day," he said. "I want to see when the house is packed up, walk through the tunnel and see everyone going crazy. That's what I'm looking for."

Academic hurdles precluded Townsend from joining Washington State this summer but he might very well become part of the 2006 Cougar class. Still just 17 years old, Townsend said he's very close to qualifying and fell just shy on a recent test.

"I think this actually worked to my advantage," said Townsend of taking the winter to earn a qualifying score. "I'm still a kid and this gave me a chance to grow up and mature a little more."

In addition to spending considerable time with his nose buried in the books, Townsend has added 20 pounds to his 6-foot-4 frame since his high school days. He's been diligently working out with his brother, former Nebraska and New Orleans defensive tackle Larry Townsend Jr..

"We're working on technique and we hit the gym most every night," said Townsend. "I've been working out with him ever since March."

A fast defensive tackle who clocked at a 4.9 in the 40 his senior year at San Jose's Valley Christian Schools -- Townsend has been calling Washington State on a regular basis over the past several months. On his official visit last time, Townsend called Pullman "the perfect college town."

"And one thing that really drew me in is that everybody is interested in the school," said Townsend. "On game day, everything shuts down -- its all about game day. And the campus was just beautiful."

An intense player with a motor to match, Townsend's style is to go full throttle whistle to whistle. He was all-league on both sides of the ball his senior year at Valley Christian.

COMING UP FROM Boulder this weekend is cornerback Jamathan Ingram-Lyle. The 5-11.5, 170 pounder was originally scheduled to visit Washington State for the Stanford game but sprained his MCL the day before.

The plan was for Ingram-Lyle to return to action at Boulder High this past weekend but that was pushed back.

The Cougs are in a four way tie for the corner with 4.49 speed along with Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington. The Huskies just offered in writing about a week and a half ago to make his final four.

The plain spoken defensive back likes the fact Washington State sends their DBs to The League and, "not only do they send them to the NFL, they actually play and are starting." Safety Hamza Abdullah was the latest to have been signed to an active roster, joining Karl Paymah at Denver. In the last four years, six defensive backs --- Lamont Thompson, Marcus Trufant, Erik Coleman , Jason David, Paymah and Abdullah --- have gone on to the NFL from Washington State.

Also possibly working in Washington State's favor is the high graduation rate among their players. "It's important to me that I get my degree and I'm not just saying that to say that, or just some cliché I'm just throwing out there," says Ingram-Lyle.

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