RECRUITING: Cougs looking to Winn the day

WASHINGTON STATE may be seeing considerable improvement on the defensive line this year as compared to 2005. And the Cougs may be fielding their deepest unit in years. But of the seven top defensive linemen getting turns, five are juniors and seniors. In particular, the tackle spot appears a priority for this year's recruiting class. Billy Winn is among the Cougar targets.

Some schools see Nevada's Winn (6-4, 260) at defensive end but the Cougs and others see the Vegas standout with room to grow and are recruiting him to play inside. Winn's preference is the middle, too, although it's not a sticking point by any means.

Coach Robb Akey is running the point and the Cougars' outgoing and high flying defensive coordinator has struck a chord with Winn.

"I think he's a great coach," said Winn.

In addition to Washington State, Winn holds offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, Fresno State, San Diego State, UNLV and Texas Tech. He does not have any leaders and remains open to all schools, but Oregon State, Washington State and Oregon are among those who have clearly made an early impression.

"Oregon State, I really like them," said Winn. "They play similar to what I like to play, from a very defensive standpoint."

All the offering schools have been calling regularly since Sept. 1, said Winn.

"They've all been recruiting me pretty hard," said Winn.

FROM THE FOOTBALL PERSPECTIVE, Winn said a place where they play physical defense and where he fits in will guide his college decision. But most important will be the academics a school has to offer, with Kinesiology his planned field of study.

"Right now, I'm just trying to go get the best education I can," said Winn.

Winn has not finalized any trip dates but he's getting closer to setting up his official visits. Winn indicated Texas Tech, Oregon, Washington State and SDSU are among the likely candidates, but nothing is set in stone.

A FIRST TEAM all Northeast Division pick and second-team all-league selection as a junior, Winn has seen plenty of double teams and extra attention this year. He has "three or four" sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble among his early season statistics.

Billy Winn profile

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