Cougs host California gems this weekend

WASHINGTON STATE plays their final home game of the season Saturday night as Oregon comes to town for a Northwest battle under the lights. Bill Doba and staff will also welcome some Californians to Pullman --- as the Cougs formally host some highly sought recruits on official campus visits this weekend.

Washington State is bringing in at least three prep prospects from California for the Cougs' final home game; tight end Trevor Mooney out of Mission Viejo, defensive lineman Derek Simmons from Fairfield, and San Diego's Anthony Houston.

THERE ARE OTHERS who have better stats, but scholarship offers speak for themselves, and Mooney has seen his stock soar over the past few weeks.

Mooney now holds scholarship offers from Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon to go along with prior offers from Utah and San Diego State. All schools are even at this stage, and a few other schools are lurking as well.

Mooney is an exceptional blocker, contributing to a rushing attack in 2005 where the No. 1 back averaged 182.5 ground yards a game. He also has very good hands, but sees the ball thrown his way only occasionally at Trabuco Hills High with nine receptions for 101 yards this season.

Quality of education is first and foremost for Mooney when considering which school he'll attend. He's leaning towards Pre-Med for his major. An exceptional student with a 4.25 GPA on a 4.00 scale at Trabuco Hills, Mooney scored a 1900 (scale 2400) on the new SAT.

Mooney also plays defensive end for Trabuco Hills, but his calling at the next level is nearly certain to be at tight end. He looks to become something of a road warrior as he hits the official visit circuit in earnest over the coming weeks.

ANOTHER CASE WHERE stats don't illustrate the whole picture can be found with Houston (6-4, 200), who holds more than a dozen offers.

He has a final four, all of whom have offered, of Washington State, Oregon State, Nebraska and Miami.

Washington State, OSU and Nebraska see the 6-4 Houston at receiver while Miami is looking at the him as a corner -- yes, a corner. All things being equal, Houston's preference is to play on offense at the next level. Academics and the ins and outs of the football program will be the primary considerations for Houston.

Stats on Mission Bay High's final two games were unavailable at press time but through the first eight weeks, Houston had 24 receptions for 391 yards, seven rushes for 66 more, plus six kickoff returns for 108 yards. Defensively, he had 27 tackles with an interception.

THIS PAST JULY, Simmons jumped on an offer from Southern Cal. He's since decided to see what else is out there and is in Pullman for an official visit this weekend.

On his trip, Simmons will get to catch up with Cougar defensive tackle Aaron Johnson again, former Armijo High graduate who has stayed in close contact with the 6-5, 272-pound bulldozer, coach Mike Singer and the Armijo program.

With his size, Simmons will likely end up at defensive tackle at the next level but his athleticism, quickness and speed is uncommon -- he was the league MVP in basketball this past season.

Despite seeing more attention come his way this season, Simmons put up virtually identical numbers compared to his junior campaign when he earned All-Monticello Empire League lineman of the year honors. In 2005, Simmons has 10 sacks this season amongst his 69 tackles (47 solo). And he has seven catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in limited time as a tight end -- one that weighs 272 pounds.

"He has a lot of ways that he can improve, college-wise, but he's just got such great feet, " says Singer. "He can actually play linebacker -- he's just that quick. When he goes to our passing leagues, he actually plays linebacker."

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