LAST YEAR, Washington State made a splash down south in a big way, inking five southerners on Signing Day 2005. This year, the Cougs have again struck deep into the heart of Texas. Junior college tight end Jason Price, a physical specimen who runs a 4.6, faxed over his signed NLI to Washington State today. The Texas freight train will enroll at WSU in a few weeks, and take part in spring ball.

He was one of TWO junior college standouts signing National Letters of Intent Wednesday with the Cougs.

Washington State signed TE Jason Price and WR Finas Rabb Wednesday, the first day junior college players eligible for mid-year transfers can sign with a D-IA school. The signing period for the mid-year transfers runs through Jan. 15.

The distance between Texas and the Northwest is often a factor in a student-athlete's decision to head north and play big time college football at Wazzu, and Price (6-4, 256, 4.6) took these last few weeks to consider that. But like Greg Trent, DeMaundray Woolridge, Cory Evans and Jason Stripling before him, and after taking into account what Washington State has to offer a tight end and college student, the uber-athlete from Trinity Valley College said the price was right.

"Yes, I signed with somebody today...I signed with Washington State!" Price told moments ago.

Two weeks ago, Price had said there was work to be done if he were to receive his AA this term and he might not be completely finished until spring. As of today, however, he's taken care of nearly all of it. Price said today it's now a given he'll begin classes at WSU in January, and will participate in spring ball.

"I'll be out there in January," said Price. "I already know that for sure."

PRICE TALKED TO coaches Robin Pflugrad and Leon Burtnett Wednesday after he faxed in his NLI. The news had the two coaches, who had both gone down to Texas to get a first hand look at Price, thrilled.

"Oh, they were excited about it," laughed Price.

Price could be considered raw by some, but not many players are 6-foot-4, over 250 pounds and run a 4.6 in the 40. And his inexperience -- in catching the ball out of the tight end spot in game situations -- does not also include his ability to block, at which he excelled this season.

Price's strength numbers are worthy of a double take and perhaps a dropping of the jaw. He squats 575, bench presses 390 and has a 31 inch vertical.

WASHINGTON STATE SIGNED the Trinity Valley College bulldozer over an ever increasing host of suitors including Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Washington, New Mexico and others. UW and New Mexico just made their initial contact a few scant weeks ago, telling Price they were "highly interested."

Price weighed 205 pounds when he arrived in Athens, Texas, for his junior college turn, having originally signed with Houston out of Sanger High. Price spent his days at Trinity religiously putting in extra time in the weight room and polishing his receiving skills. He regularly caught 200 balls a day this season in practice.

Still, why are there no receiving stats to speak of for a guy who had a bushel of schools making some serious late runs at him?

"We don't base out of a tight end formation," says Trinity Valley coach Mark Sartain. "So the bulk of our passing game is based around the three receiver, two back offense. Jason has been primarily a blocker. Although we do run a passing game out of tight end sets, it's just infrequent that we can get it to him. But he's an athlete. He just needs a tight ends coach and a tight end offense that can polish his skills and I think he'll be a big-timer."

Price has three to play two for the Cougars.

"Be ready for a good player coming up there," said Price through a smile.

Trinity Valley, who won the conference championship this season with Price, has taken home two national titles in the last 11 years, (1994, 1997). They should finish in the Top 5 of the NJCAA Poll again this season -- seven of their nine wins came against Top-12 ranked opponents. A rundown on some of the other Trinity Valley players drawing interest from Division I-A schools:

Torey Degrate: Verbal to Texas A&M
Fred Barnett: Verbal to Arkansas
Ahtyba Rubin: Holds offers from Iowa State, TCU, South Carolina
Ric Palmer: Drawing increased interest from New Mexico, holds offers from Texas State, Arkansas State.
Lance Moss: Holds an offer from SMU
Myron Newberry: Drawing increased interest by Tulsa, Minnesota and several others

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