Signing Day notes, quotes and facts

BASED ON COMMENTS by Cougar recruiting coordinator Greg Peterson in a Chat Room discussion today with CF.C premium subscribers, there's no doubting the 5-star rating of junior college safety Terry Mixon. Peterson said Mixon is "a very talented player!" who will have a chance to make an early mark at WSU. That exclamation point is Coach Peterson's, not ours. He also says Mixon is a great leader.

Mixon, the No. 1-rated JC safety in the nation, plans to arrive in Pullman this summer after securing his AA degree from Grossmont College. He is one of eight members of this recruiting class who are slotted for the secondary. And the Cougars may not be done. Asked by one subscriber if there were anymore secondary signees in the offing, Peterson answered cryptically, "We will see."

Peterson said another defensive back who could be in the mix this fall is DeWayne Patterson, a senior-to-be who sat out last season with academic issues following a stellar rookie campaign for WSU in 2005. "Patterson is working very hard to return to the field next season," he said. Patterson, while ineligible for games this past season, still made a mark in practices, and was voted scout team defensive player of the year.

Asked about the grapevine talk of WSU basketball standout Ivory Clark turning out for football this season, Peterson said Clark, "will continue to help us have an outstanding basketball season. Who knows what next fall will bring."

On a bitter-sweet note, Peterson confirmed that WSU running backs coach Kelly Skipper has just accepted a position with the Oakland Raiders. We'll have more on that later.

A complete summary of Coach Peterson's 80-minute Q&A with Cougfan.com subscribers will be posted on the front page late tonight. A subscription to CF.C will be required to read the full story.

THERE'S NO LACK OF brainpower in Washington State's newest crop of recruits. At least six members of the class are known to have grade point averages of 3.5 or better. Safety Eric Block of Bellevue leads the way with a 3.8. Receiver Daniel Blackledge of Colorado Springs, at 3.75, already has decided he's going to major in international business, while Oak Harbor quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, at 3.7, says he's aiming for a degree in mechanical engineering.

Blackledge, by the way, was a double dipper last season, earning first-team All-State and first-team Academic All-State honors.

FLORIDA MAY BE THE pick as the single-biggest winner of this year's football recruiting wars, but Washington State cornered the market on championship quarterbacks. Three members of WSU new recruiting class – Lobbestael, Block and J.T. Levenseller -- guided their teams to state titles. And Block did it twice.

Lobbestael passed Oak Harbor to the Class 4A title this past season, while Block guided Bellevue to the Class 3A championship this season and as a sophomore in 2004. Levenseller led Pullman High to a 14-0 record and the Class 2A title as a junior in 2005.

Levenseller and Block, by the way, continue the family trend of recent Cougar recruiting classes. Levenseller is the son of WSU offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller and Block is the son of early 80s WSU walk on Scott Block. A year ago, WSU signed Grady Maxwell, first cousin of Marcus Trufant. The year before, Xavier Hicks, nephew of early 90s Cougar back Kevin Hicks, came aboard. And in '03, Husain Abdullah joined his brother Hamza in the WSU secondary.

Levenseller's initials – J.T. – are no accident. They're in honor of his dad's good friend, legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson.

There are other interesting family connections in the new class. Cornerback Tyrone Justin of Van Nuys, Calif., is the nephew of former Seattle Seahawk Kerry Justin and one-time Los Angeles Ram Syndey Justin. In addition, his dad Tyrone, played college ball at Oregon State. Fullback Logwone Mitz of Redmond is the son of former Seahawk Alonzo Mitz. And Cornerback Romeo Pellum of Norwalk, Calif., is the nephew of former Oregon player and current linebackers coach Don Pellum, and former Oregon State player Forrest Pellum.
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