VERBAL COMMIT: Cougs land All-State hoss

WASHINGTON STATE TODAY secured the 16th verbal commitment -- and fourth offensive lineman -- for its '07 recruiting class. The announcement came moments ago in a press conference at Sehome High, as the nation's No. 33-rated prep guard, Steven Ayers of Bellingham, said he's headed to Pullman. Ayers talks to CF.C about the decision plus the high expectations he has for the Cougar football program.

Ayers (6-4, 275) said he'll be arriving at Washington State this fall with the expectation the Cougs will get back to competing for conference championships, as they did from 2001-2003.

"My feeling going into it is I'm setting the expectations for myself high, and also high for the team. I'm not going into it just to be a player on a team. I'm going there to help this team go to the Rose Bowl and be nationally recognized," said Ayers.

Ayers said one of the main draws for Washington State was the chance to study under line coach George Yarno.

"I'm excited about that," he said. "Coach Yarno, he's obviously a passionate coach and I love that, because I'm a passionate person as well. I know he's going to pour his heart and soul into it, just like I'm going to pour my heart and soul into it...He's an outstanding line coach."

Ayers chose Washington State over offers from Oregon State, Boise State, UNLV and others. He talked to Cougar assistant and area recruiting coach Timm Rosenbach last night to give him the good news.

"He was pretty happy, he told me I really made his day," said Ayers.

The three primary areas Ayers previously said would matter most to him were education, football program and lifestyle and it came down to WSU and UNLV as his two finalists.

"I've always looked at it as it's where God wants me to be," said Ayers. "It just kind of came down to it that it made sense in my head, that Washington State was the school that I needed to be at."

Ayers capped his senior year with multiple honors and accolades, including being named two way first team all league, AP Class 2A all-state, and all classifications, all-state on offense by the Seattle Times.

"I never played high school football just so I could get a college scholarship," said Ayers. I was playing for my teammates especially and wanted them to know how important they were to me...and it will be the same in college, I'm going to be playing for my teammates as much as playing for myself."

Ayers is also a standout track and field athlete and wrestler, and is expected to compete for state honors in both sports. He sports a perfect 5-0 record on the mat headed into tonight's meet.

Ranked among the top 35 o-line prep prospects in the nation by, Ayers is an explosive lineman with strength numbers to match -- He has a power clean best of 340 pounds, a 550-pound squat and a 340-pound bench press.

Steven Ayers profile

Ayers brings to 16 the known members in Washington State's 2007 class: Vaughn Lesuma, TE Devin Frischknecht, CB Byron Davenport, DT Trey Henderson, LB Marshal Pirtz, QB Marshall Lobbestael, S/ATH Cornorris Atkins, RB Logwone Mitz, WR Daniel Blackledge, DE Tyson Pencer, OL Andrew Roxas, DT B.J. Guerra, LB Tyson Kirksey, QB Kevin Lopina and OL Kevin Freitag. Note: Lopina enrolled at WSU this summer and practiced all season with the team but because he was ineligible to play in 2006 after transferring from K-State, he is classified by Scout as part of the '07 class.

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