Crimson spotlight shines on Pasadena area RB

THE COUGS HAVE enjoyed considerable success with the so-called 'smaller' RBs -- quick, cut back runners who can get lost between the tackles and employ a little shake & bake to rip off large chunks of yardage. And the Pasadena area has been a recruiting treasure trove for WSU over the years. A prep slasher and dasher near the City of Roses holding a crimson offer is Monrovia's James Davis.

With the Cougars employing more of a group effort this season, star recruiter Mike Walker and Greg Peterson are both involved with Davis, staying in touch with Davis over the summer through text messages. Davis, timed at 4.56 in the 40, picked up the phone not long ago and called the Cougs' recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach.

The 5-9, 188-pound glider drew some early comparisons, high praise indeed, to a Cougar back who galloped his way to 1,900 yards in 2005, tops in the league and second best in the nation -- Jerome Harrison.

"Coach P actually told me that," said Davis. "He's a pretty cool guy -- energetic. And he was telling me about all the money they've spent renovating the stadium. I know about Jerome Harrison because he spent some time in Pasadena. He went up there and he did pretty good."

BESIDES A running style and some physical similarities to "The Ghost", Davis, too, has a sharp sense of humor.

Harrison was a media star during his WSU press conferences, and the personable Davis is cut from the same cloth. Recently weighing in at 188 pounds, he took some time to extol the virtues of something the state of Washington produces 9.4 billion pounds of each year.

"What have I been eating? Oh, I eat a lot of potatoes -- I eat about three potatoes every night, every night, every night. Mmm-mm," he said. "Hey, because a lot of coaches were concerned about my size at running back, how small I was, so I'm trying to gain weight. I hope to get to 200 before or at some time during the season."

Even if he doesn't gain another pound, the senior-to-be will be at the same weight Harrison was for his first collegiate start against Oregon State in 2004.

IN ADDITION TO WSU, Davis holds offers from Colorado and Colorado State. Other schools of interest include Oregon, Oregon State and Texas A&M. Some of the schools recruiting him see him as a defensive back but the Cougs like him coming out of the backfield. Davis said he's looking to take some official visits before making any decision.

"Washington State is right there," said Davis. "I really like Colorado because my friend Cha'pelle Brown committed there this year as a corner. And I talk to coach Hagan a lot."

DAVIS' JUNIOR CAMPAIGN saw him rush for 1,547 yards and 24 touchdowns on 179 carries. He had another 212 receiving yards and two touchdowns on nine catches. Defensively, he logged 40 tackles and three interceptions. For his efforts, Davis was named first team all-league and second team all-valley at running back.

"I have pretty good vision of the field, I like to cut back a lot," said Davis. "I like to cut back on sweeps and I'm really good at the draws and read plays."

There are a whopping 20-plus minutes of highlight tape available on Davis' player page.

James Davis profile and video

Among the noteworthy Pasadena area Cougars over the years, WSU d-line coach Mike Walker and the staff brought running backs Harrison (2004-05) and Jonathan McKenzi (formerly Smith 2002-03) to the Palouse out of Pasadena City College.

Harrison's 1,900 yard rushing total in 2005 was eclipsed by DeAngelo Williams when the Memphis back rushed for a season-high 238 yards in Memphis' bowl game to finish with 1,964 hashes.

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