Shuffling at slot if grades take down Bumpus

JUST WHEN WSU COACHES breathed a sigh of relief that star receiver Jason Hill would stay for his senior year rather than jump to NFL, the Cougs' other star grabmaster, sophomore Michael Bumpus, has flunked out of school. If his appeal for reinstatement is denied, the Cougars -- based on their season-ending depth chart -- will have only one returning slotback in 2006. That could further force the move of Lorenzo Bursey from cornerback back to his roots on offense.

With the graduation of Trandon Harvey and Marty Martin, and now the cloud over Bumpus, Chris Jordan -- a senior-to-be from Kent -- is the only slotback left on the Cougars' season-ending depth chart.

Another possible option for the Cougars at slotback would be Brandon Gibson, a flanker from Puyallup who caught nine balls for 172 yards and two TDs as a true freshman this past season.

Bumpus' situation leaves the Cougs with five receivers on scholarship -- Jason Hill, Jordan Gibson, Benny Ward and Scott Selby -- and could force the Cougars to move Bursey, a high school and JC running back who originally was pegged for slotback by the Cougs, back to offense.

Bursey also likely would become the Cougars' No. 1 punt returner.

Washington State also has JC star Derrell Hutsona (5-10, 183) in for an official visit this weekend. The junior college All-American yardage machine racked up 2,534 all-purpose yards including the playoffs in '05, with over 1,000 hashes on punt and kickoff returns alone. He's also exhibited excellent hands coming out of the backfield.

The Cougs have received verbal or signed commitments from five receivers this recruiting cycle, with two already enrolled at Washington State.

JC receiver Finas Rabb and high school holdover Greg Walker began their WSU classes this week, with JC receiver Charles Dillon and prep WRs Anthony Houston and Keith Rosenberg set to join the Cougs this August.

As a sophomore lasts season, Bumpus was honorable-mention All-Pac-10 despite a high ankle sprain that cut short his season in Week 7. The Culver City, Calif., star caught 30 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns, and also returned 17 punts for 232 yards and a touchdown, giving him three TDs on returns for his career and tying the all-time WSU mark.

Cougfan Top Stories