Doba: Class of 2006 not yet complete

COACH BILL DOBA gushed Wednesday about the bevy of talented skill-position players WSU picked up this recruiting campaign. But just because LOI Day has come and gone, don't think Doba and his staff are done with recruiting. Far from it, in fact. The Cougars may be reeling in a handful more athletes -- primarily on defense -- between now and August, the head man told reporters in a brief visit.

"I think we strengthened ourselves at receiver with some kids that we signed," said Doba. "I think we helped ourselves in the secondary. Those were two major concerns. We're going to continue to recruit, we still have some spaces open."

The Cougs, with 23 players in this class at day's end, could have signed as many as 27 -- 25 counting toward this class and two who already are enrolled counting against the 2005 cap. Doba said WSU will be in the market, possibly up until August, for corners, linebackers and possibly offensive linemen.

Doba said the Cougs weren't going to sign players today just to fill up.

"It's not quantity, it's quality," said Doba.

One player not on the Cougar list was verbal commit B.T. Walker. The JC cornerback signed a Letter of Intent to Washington State in December with the expectation he'd be able to transfer at mid-term. Since he will finish up his AA in May, he can't sign another one. Walker told he is going to be a Coug.

Doba said he cannot comment on "kids who are not on our list."

Two prep standouts from Texas that looked to be at least 50/50 possibilities of going crimson -- Dallas linebacker Robert Williams and Houston safety Mister Alexander -- each went south (literally) at the 11th hour. Williams signed with UTEP and Alexander with Florida State.

SOME OF DOBA'S NEW CHARGES could earn early turns -- most of them from the JC ranks. At receiver, Charles Dillon and Finas Rabb could figure in, and receiver Greg Walker is a prep holdover who also may earn some turns.

"(J.T.) Diederichs has a little work to do, but Diederichs and (Derrell) Hutsona I think could get some playing time," said Doba.

After playing 12 rookies last year, the Cougs might have fewer push for playing time this season but Doba said if any of the incoming players can make the team better, they're going to play.

"The Kerry Maddox kid is supposed to be a pretty good kid out of Texas -- an excellent athlete," said Doba. "And (Andy) Mattingly, a kid out of Spokane. We'll have to see how they come in."

Maddox is a cornerback and Mattingly most likely will play linebacker.

"We're not trying to redshirt anybody -- we're trying to win," said Doba. "If they're ready to play and they can help us win, then they're going to play."

THE COUGS SIGNED FIVE running backs in Skylar Jessen, Marcus Richmond, Diederichs, Hutsona and Chris Ivory out of Longview, Texas.

Ivory, out of a storied program at Longview High, is a tough-nosed player who'll get his first look at tailback, although he appears to also have the makings of a solid linebacker.

"He's a big strong kid with good speed and great work ethic," said Doba of Ivory. "Yes we expect him to (play tailback). That's what we recruited him for."

"We're pretty solid at running back...and I think we helped ourselves at tight end with Jason Price." Price is a JC transfer who assistant coach Robin Pflugrad tabbed earlier in the day as a leading candidate for instant PT.

THREE RECEIVERS CHECK in at over 6-foot-4 this class in Rabb, Walker and Anthony Houston.

"I think it just kind of worked out that way," Doba said of the tall grabmasters. "First thing you look for in a receiver is speed and these are kids who have good speed.

"But if you're going to sacrifice a little speed, you want to make sure you have some height. You can't put foliage on a stump."

So bottom line, how good is this class?

"Ask me in two years," quipped Doba, echoing the thoughts of coaches Robin Pflugrad and Leon Burtnett earlier today in the CF.C chatroom.

On Hutsona: "His highlight tape's about half an hour long. He's got excellent speed. He was a 25' 6" long jumper in high school. Same school as Reggie Bush and they're good friends."

On Trevor Mooney: "Trevor's an excellent kid. He's got a lot of potential. He's a good blocker with good size. An excellent student who comes from a good solid family. I think Price can help us right away and I think Trevor might take a little longer. But it depends on how big and strong he is when he gets here."

On Toby Turpin: "Toby Turpin is another solid kid at defensive tackle, we're happy to have him -- he's a defensive end/defensive tackle."

On Marcus Richmond: "Marcus Richmond is an excellent athlete, set some records down there. He's a big tall kid."

On Kevin Kooyman: "I think Kevin Kooyman is really a sleeper -- a big, tall kid who can run well."

On not taking a quarterback: "We didn't feel that was a necessity. We have four here on scholarship now -- and they're young."

Doba said the Cougs hope to move Lorenzo Bursey back to wide receiver now that A) they've brought in a couple corners and B) plan to get, at least, one more in Walker by fall camp.

Doba said the staff will need to see how things will play out before determining if there would be any grayshirts. Some signees have academic work to do, with Doba saying it was way too early to speculate on if there would be any issues with kids qualifying.

The Cougs took more junior college players than in recent years -- a trend Doba said will likely continue with the requirements getting "stiffer and stiffer for high school players to qualify" over the next few years.

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