COUGS LAND THE BIG SLAM

TALK ABOUT your Grand Slams. Were it not for a friendly wager at a Denny's between two JC students, Finas Rabb probably wouldn't be where he is today -- a fully qualified verbal commitment to Washington State, set to enroll next month and participate in spring ball. Rabb's only played two years of organized football -- both in the JC ranks.

It's a storybook tale -- the inside story of how the 6-foot-6 Rabb came to play football, his off the charts potential and how he leapt onto WSU's radar. Rabb (6.6, 205), who's already earned his AA degree at Santa Ana College, will be enrolling at Washington State in January with two to play two for the Cougs.

"I committed this morning," Rabb told Cougfan.com moments ago.

And chalk up another for receiver Michael Bumpus, Cougar player host extraordinaire.

"Bumpus was my host," said Rabb. "He's a starting receiver and he told me everything that goes on."

Rabb has both the height and the hops to set imaginations dancing, sporting a 37 inch vertical to go along with his 6-foot-6 size. His most recent 40 time was a 4.55. He had 29 catches for 451 yards and six TDs this season.

HE'S ALSO GOT some pretty good bloodlines. Rabb is the cousin of Cougar great Jonathan Smith, who also gave him the lowdown on WSU. Rabb said the chance to play in the Pac-10 coupled with the family environment, players and coaches at Washington State he witnessed in Pullman this weekend made the choice an easy one, eschewing offers from Tulsa, Nevada, Utah and others along with increasing interest from a number of other suitors.

"I mixed in with them instantly," said Rabb. "It was just like my cousin said."

Before playing football in the JC ranks, Rabb had never played organized football. Moving around and focusing on his studies precluded Rabb from playing football or any other sport at either Oakland's Skyline High or Orange's El Modena.

"By the time I was a junior, I thought it was probably too late to start," said Rabb. "I guess that wasn't the case, though."

He played a year of basketball at Santa Ana before hitting the gridiron.

"Last year was my first year and I was just learning how to line up and how football works," laughed Rabb.

But were it not for a fateful breakfast one morning, Rabb might not be playing football at all.

SITTING IN A Denny's a couple years ago, Rabb was talking with Daniel Dixon of Saddleback JC. He told him how he started on the Santa Ana hoops team his first year and wondered aloud if he could do the same playing football.

"He said, 'No. I've been playing football my whole life and there's no way you can go out for the football team having never played before and start,'" said Rabb.

Rabb countered that with his athletic ability and size, he could do it. Back and forth it went, until the two shook hands with a Denny's breakfast on the line. Not too long afterwards, Dixon bought Rabb breakfast. And now he's a few months away from playing football in the Pac-10.

"All because of a bet at Denny's," laughed Rabb.

THAT AND THE fact WSU's George Yarno stopped in to talk to Santa Ana coach Geoff Jones about three weeks ago. Jones tossed in the tape of Rabb and Yarno was immediately taken with the big man. Yarno took a tape back to receivers coach and offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller.

"After coach Levy saw the tape, he told coach Yarno to get me up there as soon as possible," said Rabb.

Rabb said other schools were telling him to take a close look at the depth chart but he said that's the one thing he's not worried about, relishing the thought of competition and teammates pushing each other to be better.

"I'm just trying to be an impact player for the Cougs," said Rabb.

Finas Rabb

NOTES:
Another cousin, Jerard Rabb, caught 34 passes for 525 yards and five TDs during the regular season for Boise State.


Future Cougar Finas Rabb has some serious height at 6-foot-6 along with some serious hops -- he recorded a 37 inch vertical earlier this year.


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