Cougs kick off official visit weekends

THE PROVERBIAL MEAT and potatoes portion of Washington State's recruiting season begins this weekend with the start of official prospect trips to campus. These visits, which will happen every Cougar home-game weekend the rest of the fall and then on through January, have proven more valuable to WSU than any other school in the Pac-10.

How so? Because the percentage of official trippers who end up signing with WSU if off the charts. Last year, 57 percent of those who visited WSU signed with the Cougars. The year before that it was 59 percent. That's about double the typical success rate at a Divsion I-A school.

At least two prep standouts are known to be coming to Pullman this weekend: Andrew Roxas of La Canada, Calif., and Adi Kunalic of Fort Worth, Texas.

The 6-2, 300-pound Roxas is a fundamentally sound offensive lineman who drew oohs and aahs earlier this summer at WSU, turning heads and finishing blocks out on the Palouse back in July. The St. Francis High hoss dominated the trenches during Washington State's summer youth camp, coming away with an MVP Award.

"Some of the guys there came up to me and told me they hadn't seen someone dominate the line like that in a while," said Roxas.

Shortly after the camp concluded, Roxas was offered by Mike Walker and the Cougar coaching staff.

"(Walker) is a cool guy. With him, he's just straight up with me... He graduated from there so he's told about his experiences there which is pretty cool. I had never even been to the state of Washington before. I loved it up there."

Roxas holds seven offers including the one from Washington State, with Utah, Colorado, UNLV, Baylor, San Diego State and Colorado State among the suitors. Cal has also been showing some interest since Sept. 1 but the Golden Bears have yet to determine if they'll extend an offer.

A first team all-CIF Division III selection as a junior, and with strength numbers that include a power clean of 300 pounds, squat of 500 and bench of 315, Roxas doesn't have a leader pre-visit. He did stress that the family atmosphere at Washington State is a key drawing point for him.

"I had the feeling that the coaching staff and everyone else up there was just like a family -- I love that about it," said Roxas. "I also feel like there weren't that many distractions -- it would let me focus on school and football if I did go there."

ALSO AT WASHINGTON STATE this weekend will be Adi Kunalic (6-0, 180), an old school throwback out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The special teams performers of today are specialists, the vast majority of players putting foot to pigskin are either one or the other, a punter or placekicker. Kunalic, however, may be one of the few with the ability to do both at the D-IA level.

With a cannon for a leg, his forte is certainly as a placekicker and kickoff specialist. At a competition this summer, Kunalic won the kickoff portion and placed second in field goals, but it wasn't exactly apples to apples.

"I won the kickoffs (handily), I had two of my kickoffs go through the uprights and the other two went out of the end zone on the corner so I got the maximum points," said Kunalic. "On field goals, I had a long of 53 off the ground, and I was the only one in the finals who was kicking off the ground. The other guys were using a tee."

As a junior, Kunalic blasted a season high 57-yarder to set the school record at North Crawley. Just as important, he also rendered appx. 55 of 65 kickoffs un-returnable, placing opponents on their own 20 after the touchback.

On nine FG attempts in 2005, three of his seven makes were from 50-plus -- splitting the uprights from 51, 53 and 57 yards.

In the early going this season, North Crawley has had their backup kicker gaining some placekicking experience for when Kunalic moves on. No matter, Kunalic has used the opportunity to sharpen up his punting skills.

"I've been doing a lot of punting this season," said Kunalic. "In my first game, I averaged about 50 yards. In my second game, I had one that went 60-something. I had four or five punts the second game that all went over 50."

In addition to WSU, Kunalic holds offers from Utah and Connecticut. Texas Tech, Colorado State, Florida State and Notre Dame are showing him various shades of recruiting love, and Miami has recently ramped up their recruitment.

Kunalic, who plans on waiting until after the season to make his decision, said Washington State is recruiting the hardest.

"I talk to Washington State a lot, I want to see how it is out there," said Kunalic. "So far, it sounds really good out there and I just want to see what the people are like.

Cougfan Top Stories