WASHINGTON STATE HAS made its aerial living in recent years mostly with quick, athletic types at receiver. In fact, over the last two seasons no
Cougar wideout who caught a game-day pass stood taller than 6-foot-1. That trend appears to be coming to an end with WSU's new recruiting class. Already in the fold are a JC transfer who stands 6-6 and a holdover from '05 who goes 6-4. Among the letters of intent the Cougs are expecting tomorrow are those from a 6-4 wideout and a 6-3 safety/receiver.
Going smaller, as the Cougars have done of late, has proved bountiful --
WSU's passing game was No. 20 nationally in 2005 with more than 3,000 yards.
Adding some skyscrapers to the mix should bring an element to the offense
that can only put a smile on Bill Doba's face, not to mention Alex Brink's.
Here's the breakdown (or perhaps, breakUP as it were) of the incoming Palouse
San Diego prep standout Anthony Houston, expected to officially become a Cougar tomorrow morning,
checks in at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. And adding to his ethereal pedigree
is a phenomenal vertical leap of 38 inches. He also has clocked a personal
best of 4.46 in the 40. He is rated among the top 50 receivers in the nation
and chose WSU over Miami, Nebraska and others.
A holdover from the 2005 recruiting class, Greg Walker is already
on campus and taking classes. He also stands 6-4. As a prep senior,
he registered 49 catches for 1,355 yards, averaging more than 100 yards
a game. "He's one of the best receivers I've coached and I've been doing this for
25 years," says E.C. Robinson, his high school coach. "If he sticks to it
and really works at it -- like he's been doing -- he can one day be playing
Completing the trio of Palouse skyscrapers, the biggest of them all: Finas Rabb.
The JC transfer might be inexperienced -- the first time he ever played
the game of football was in junior college. And "The Big Slam" might be still learning
the nuances of the game, but you can't teach a kid to be 6-foot-6. Rabb
has all the ingredients to become Instant Red Zone for the Cougs. And when you
consider he owns a 37-inch vertical leap, Rabb could be spending some autumn Saturdays hovering up in the troposphere.
In addition, Cornorris Atkins, a prepster from Reseda, Calif., is expected
to become a Cougar tomorrow. He projects as a safety, but also has receiver skills. Atkins has some size to him as well, at 6-foot-3 and weighing 205 pounds.
AND WHILE ANOTHER GRABMASTER in WSU's new class doesn't stand as tall as
the Pines, it appears the sky's the limit on his potential. JC transfer Charles Dillon, a 6-1, 190-pounder who originally signed with WSU in 2004,
is one of the most touted members of WSU's verbal commitments. He's an uber-athlete,
also starring in basketball, rated among the top JC wideouts in the nation.
At Ventura College the last two seasons, he torched defensive backfields
in the Western State Conference. In 2005, before defensive coordinators started to
flood his side of the field, he managed in just four weeks to grab 30 balls
for 543 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 138 yards over that span.
Despite the opposing crackdown the rest of the way, he still crafted a 1,000-yard
season, finishing with 69 catches and 13 TDs.
Dillon plans to pull double duty on the Cougar basketball team when he arrives in
Pullman. So far this season at Ventura, he's averaging 15.2 points and just
less than four assists per game.
NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN in this class of receivers is Bellevue High's Keith Rosenberg.
An All-State defensive back and standout running back as a junior,
this multi-dimensional 5-11, 180-pounder had his senior season hampered by injury and wasn't
able to capitalize on his huge upside, though he came on strong in the Wolverine's
last few games. He verballed with the Cougars back in May and projects as
a college receiver.