Doba: Low-radar Pirtz, Mitz are real deals

UNTIL WEDNESDAY, BOISE linebacker Marshal Pirtz looked to be the most obscure player among WSU's new crop of recruits. From a remote state and with no major offers besides WSU, he seemed a footnote in a class that includes the nation's top JC safety and three state-champion QBs. But when Bill Doba and Greg Peterson were asked, independently, about Pirtz, there was no containing the enthusiasm.

"I tell you what, he's fun to watch -- takling. jumpin' over piles," gushed Cougar head man Doba, after putting a definitive no on the question of whether Pirtz might be a candidate to grayshirt. "He was below the radar. I don't know how fast he runs, but on tape he runs fast, makes plays. He's aggressive. He's a blue collar guy who wants to drill wells."

Peterson, WSU's recruiting coordinator, said in a lunch-time Chat Room discussion Wednesday with premium subscribers, "Pirtz is a young man who is a very physical player. He also is an oustanding wrestler so it was easy to like him on film as we watched his skills."

Pirtz, who stands 6-foot and weighs 215, is the reigning state wrestling champion in the 189-pound class. Last year he logged 40 pins in 43 matches.

On the gridiron, he was first-team 5A All-State as a junior and senior, helping Centennial High to an 18-3 record over those two seasons. He racked up a collective 196 tackles, including 26 for loss, blocked two field goals, forced four fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown. He was named Southern Idaho Conference Defensive Player of the Year this past season.

Part of the reason Pirtz flew so low on the recruiting radar is because he didn't get highlight tapes in the mail until November. Once they landed, WSU invited him for an offical visit and Texas asked him to walk on. Penn State, Washington, Oregon, Boise State and other expressed interest as well.

During his recruiting trip, Pirtz said all the Cougar coaches commented on his highlight tape and made it clear they don't want him to redshirt, but play on special teams and compete for time on defense. His tapes show a speedy 'backer who likes to hit and drives through ball carriers with excellent mechanics.

DOBA ALSO HAD GOOD things to say about another Northwest prep athlete who didn't get a ton of attention: fullback Logwone Mitz of Redmond. He's the lone running back in the Cougars' new recruiting class. "He has great genes -- his dad (Alonzo) played for the Seahawks and his mom ran track at Oregon," said Doba. "He was a very serious kid in our summer camp. He could play right away. He could be a lead back but has good lateral moves too."

A super athlete and team captain in two sports, Mitz also is an accomplished basketball player and a lead champion discus thrower. He averaged 104 rushing yards per game in 2006 and was on track for a 1,000-yard-year before an ankle sprain shelved him late in the season. He was named first-team all-Kingco Class 4A in 2006 second-team in 2005 after rushing for 588 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's been timed in the 40 at 4.55 seconds.

Dwight Tardy figures to be the Cougars' starting back in 2007, but Doba said he's hopeful DeMaundray Woolridge, now attending community college, can get his grades squared away and be readmitted to WSU in the fall. Doba also said his staff has tried repeatedly over the months to contact J.T. Diederichs, but to no avail. Diederichs, the touted back from Seattle who signed with the Cougars out of high school in 2003, re-signed with WSU a year ago after two seasons of JC ball but failed again to qualify academcially.

ASKED WHAT HE THINKS about this Cougar class' national ranking (No. 53 by, Doba was succinct. "Ask the guy at Notre Dame (early 80s Irish head coach Gerry Faust, who owns one of the worst won-loss records in school history) what he thinks about recruiting rankings. They were No. 1 every year.

"I don't worry about it," he added. "Do they (your recruits) fit your schemes and make plays? Are they our kinds of guys? We want 11 guys in that huddle who want to be Cougars."


"Offensively we needed offensive linemen and we signed four of them (Steven Ayers, Kevin Freitag, Andrew Roxas and Vaughn Lesuma). We needed one junior college offensive tackle and we were able to sign Lesuma. I feel really good about the kids that we signed, we've had them in camp, a couple of them. We know what kind of attitude they have and just how tough they are."

"We needed just a couple receivers (because) we've got a good stable of them. Coach Levenseller would always like about ten more but we cut him to two. (Daniel) Blackledge is a great kid from Colorado and (Jeshua) Anderson is a phenomenal track athlete also. We increased the speed of the receiving corps. We needed tight ends. We signed a really good future tight end, a young kid out of Canada, (Tyson) Pencer, and we signed the junior college kid that we really needed -- Devin Frischknecht is a really good receiver. I'm happy about that. He has great hands, just needs to work on blocking technique and adding some size."

"I am really, really excited about our quarterback, Marshall Lobbestael. I like his attitude and he's a strong kid. In the state championship game he long snapped, he played free safety, and he played quarterback. Against Gonzaga Prep he was 20 out of 25 so he is a very accurate thrower. He hasn't been to camps, hasn't been highly publicized and just the kind of kid Coach Rosenbach can mold into the kind of person he wants. He's a really good, positive kid and an excellent student."

"What I like most about this class, and I've been in everybody's home, I like the people. I like the parents in the homes. They are solid folks. They look you in the eye and talk to you. They are a good bunch of kids and I am excited to get them here."

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