COUGAR HEAD COACH Bill Doba landed the biggest prize of the recruiting season today when star wide receiver Jason Hill announced that he would return to WSU for his senior season and college degree rather than jump early to the NFL. In a Pullman press conference with Doba at his side, the record-breaking honorable mention All-American said he wants to be the best receiver ever at Washington State and that dream will continue on into 2006.

With the announcement, Jason Hill chose a college diploma and the opportunity to further rewrite the Cougar record book over the early riches -- but potentially less than he might earn next year -- of an immediate foray into the NFL.

And the draft evaluation made the difference, said Hill.

"I have three objectives," said Hill. "One, to raise my stock in the draft. I had a fourth round, high third consideration grade. Coming into it, I wanted a first or second round grade.

"Another consideration is I want to be the best receiver to ever play here at Washington State University. And that dream is still alive -- I look at the future with a smile on my face.

"And my third objective is to graduate from college. No one in our family has ever done that...I'm a Coug for another year."

Doba mentioned that last part wasn't wholly accurate.

"You're a Coug for life, buddy," said Doba. "Once a Coug, always a Coug."

Doba also told Hill the evaluations tend to be a little on the conservative side but when Hill heard it was a fourth round/high third round consideration, the decision to stay became an easy one.

HILL SAID HIS family was supportive of whatever his choice ended up being, and he made up his mind upon hearing from the NFL. Doba was his first call, telling the Cougar coach he'd be suiting up in the crimson and gray in 2006.

"Coach was happy...he was smiling over the phone," said Hill.

Hill said he also felt a lot of support from his teammates during the decision making process and also after he told them he'd be returning. But there's one thing that would lift his spirits even more.

"That made me happy in my decision to come back, but I'll be happier to get to a bowl game -- We have to get to a bowl game," said Hill.

IN TWO SEASONS as a Cougar starter, Hill has caught 107 passes for 2,104 yards and a record 25 touchdowns. Both years he was among the national leaders in all three categories. He was named second-team All-Pac-10 both this season and last.

He didn't catch a pass as a true freshman in 2003, but was a standout on special teams. His father, Jerry, passed away early in that season, and Hill took it upon himself as the oldest of six children to offer morale support and guidance to his siblings with daily phone calls.

HILL CAME TO WSU from San Francisco's Sacred Heart Prep where he was a standout receiver, defensive back, quarterback and basketball player.

He ultimately chose WSU over Oregon State and San Diego State. Hill was runner-up for San Francisco Player of the Year honors as a senior, but didn't draw a widespread recruiting interest --- a fact that puzzled his prep coach who told CF.C in 2003 that he believed Hill was destined for the NFL one day.

To the joy of Cougar fans everywhere, that day will not come for another year.

Hill, a virtual lock to shatter the all-time mark for career receiving yards this season -- held by the great Hugh Campbell at 2,452 yards -- was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the nation's top receiver.

"I told the rest of the staff that I'd gotten my recruit and now they have to go get theirs," quipped Doba.

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