The Word: Linebacker soft on Cougs

WASHINGTON STATE'S OFFICIAL VISIT to commit ratio has long been impressive and it continues to shine in 2007, with Wazzu landing their sixth known verbal commitment out of a recent group of weekend visitors to the Palouse. The newest Coug is a 240-pound, all-league linebacker with surprising speed (4.49) who led his team in tackles the past two seasons. But is it a solid verbal?

Linebacker Joseph Easter (6-1.5, 240, 4.49) out of St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif., about 20 minutes from L.A., says he is headed to the Palouse.

Coach Bill Doba was in town Thursday morning for a face to face sit down, while recruiting point man Kelly Skipper and Easter have stayed in close contact the last several weeks with in-home visits, phone calls and of course, text messages.

"I just texted coach Skip and gave him my word that I was coming to Washington State," Easter told CF.C a few minutes ago.

There is, however, one more item left on his travel itinerary. He had an official visit scheduled to Nevada for this weekend and because his mom already bought her own plane ticket to come along on the trip, Easter said he would take the trip. So Easter and mom will be visiting Nevada this weekend. classifies verbal commits who go on official visits elsewhere as "soft verbals" and so Easter will be listed as such on the CF.C commit list, although that designation could change to a solid verbal after he returns from Nevada on Sunday night.

A little background is needed at this point. Stay with us:

In addition to Washington State, Easter received offers this recruiting season from Oregon State and Nevada, among others. But it was another Pac-10 school, one that did not offer, that has helped make this a somewhat complex situation.

Cal wanted Easter to come out on a visit for this weekend, telling him they would possibly offer during his trip. After originally agreeing, Easter decided he wouldn't trip unless there was an offer on the table so the Berkely visit was called off. But Nevada then jumped in and set up an official for him this weekend, his mom buying her own plane ticket. Then, he had his in-home with Doba yesterday, and gave his verbal commitment to Skipper this afternoon.

Easter said he had actually told Washington State he was coming to Pullman two weeks ago, while on his official visit to Wazzu. Shortly after returning home, however, Cal began calling, telling Easter they were "excited by what they saw in my tape," so he told WSU he wanted to keep exploring some options.

"I was trying to check everything out because I'm not just committing to the football but also to the academics and everything else," said Easter.

Easter says that process is now concluded, in spite of the fact he's taking a trip this weekend.

"My mom had already bought her own plane ticket. But the people are just really inviting up there at Washington State and I think that's the change I need, going to a small community and to a place where I can really focus.

"I like Pullman, it was calm and that might be the change that I need," said Easter. "I think I could become more wise in going to a school like that, because then I've seen more and experienced more. I think going there could make me more of a complete person rather than just a football player."

Out on the football field, Easter has rare quicks for his size, said St. John Bosco's Kiki Mendoza.

"The thing that's key with Joe is his size and speed," said Mendoza. "He's a real smart kid, very coachable. He has all the attributes you're looking for in a football player."

Easter has a personal best 40 time of 4.49.

"I've run track all my life," said Easter. "I've run the 100, 200, shot-put, discus, I've done the high jump, I've basically done everything."

Easter did just about everything on the football field as well, leading his team in tackles each of the past two seasons. He was a two-time all-league selection on defense, second team All-Dream Team by the Press Telegram and at the St. Bosco banquet held recently, took home the team MVP, Most Inspirational and Scholar Athlete honors.

Joseph Easter profile

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