VERBAL COMMIT: Cougs land 'explosive' WR

SEVEN WSU COACHES are on the California recruiting trail today but Washington State's latest verbal commitment comes from the Centennial state. Explosive and shifty, his prep coach says, wide receiver Daniel Blackledge (6-1, 175, 4.55) took an official visit to Pullman earlier this month. On Friday, the playmaker with some serious hops became the Cougars' seventh known 2007 class commitment.

Blackledge only had a few minutes to talk late Friday afternoon but related he first told Cougar recruiting coordinator Greg Peterson of the good news through a text message, and then again when he dialed up Pullman and spoke to Peterson on the phone.

"I actually committed to Washington State earlier today," Blackledge said. "I said I wanted to be a Coug -- coach Peterson was really excited."

Blackledge chose Washington State over Colorado State, Cal, ASU, UCLA, Wyoming and Idaho among others. He said the family atmosphere, Cougar coaching staff and a the Cougar Football program won him over.

"I talked to my family, and then friends and a lot of people about it, and I just felt really comfortable with them," said Blackledge. "I'm real excited."

THE BOOK ON Blackledge, out of Colorado Springs' Palmer High, is that he has a pair of soft hands with the ability to make yards in a hurry after the catch.

"He's really explosive, quick, he cuts well," says Palmer coach Rod Baker. "He's a little shifty -- he's a threat deep but also on short balls... He's a very determined competitor."

Blackledge has also shown to be a dangerous punt return man over the course of his prep career.

Despite plenty of double teams, through eight games Blackledge has caught 30 passes for 437 yards. As a situational running back, he's carried the pigskin another 25 times for 96 more hashes. As a junior, Blackledge grabbed 51 receptions for 876 yards and eight TDs, plus another 685 yards and 10 TDs as a rusher.

AN EXEMPLARY STUDENT, Blackledge is also a decorated track and field athlete.

As a junior, he competed in the USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field, placing in the elite meet's top eight in the long and triple jump, with personal bests of 22.7' and 46', respectively. At states last year, Blackledge placed in three events: long jump (fourth), triple jump (fifth) and the 110 hurdles (sixth).

Daniel Blackledge profile

With Blackledge, Washington State has seven known verbal commitments in the 2007 class: DE Tyson Pencer, OL Andrew Roxas, DT B.J. Guerra, LB Tyson Kirksey, QB Kevin Lopina and OL Kevin Freitag. Lopina is enrolled at WSU and practicing with the team but because he is ineligible to play this season after transferring from K-State, he is classified by Scout as part of the '07 class.

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