RECRUITING: Cali OL visits the Palouse

WATCHING A RESURGENT defensive effort in the Cougars' final scrimmage of the spring this past weekend from the sidelines were scores of high school ballplayers. Among those at the Cougars' Junior Day was a 6-4, 265-pounder who traveled up from California. Next month, Washington State will travel to his school during May's evaluation period.

"It was really fun, I liked it," said offensive line prospect Jason Heath out of Del Oro High in Loomis, Calif., about 30 minutes northeast of Sacramento.

Cougar assistant George Yarno, one of the Cougs' top recruiters, made an impression on Heath.

"Having lunch with the offensive line coach was pretty awesome. He's a cool guy. He seems pretty hard nosed, played in the NFL and he seems to be a really good coach," said Heath. "He's awesome."

Heath, who has not yet sent his tape to Washington State, left Pullman without an offer, although he said he was made to feel at home and received plenty of attention from the WSU staff.

"I just remember we were all having a meeting, there was a bunch of kids everywhere, (a coach) yelled out my name and told me to stand up and started talking to me. That was really nice, I liked that," said Heath.

AN ALL LEAGUE SELECTION, Heath, who carries a 3.6 GPA, said WSU told him they plan to come down to Del Oro in the middle of May. Schools are allowed 4 of 6 weeks between April 15 and May 31 to visit high school campuses to evaluate prospects.

"He's just a very good athlete. Smart, physical and a team guy," said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor.

Washington State wasn't the only Northwest school Heath visited this spring.

"Over spring break I went up to Oregon, Oregon State and the Huskies. I liked Oregon State a lot just because of the way they treated me, a lot of one on one time with the coaches. I'm going back up with my coach I think, I'm not positive, but I think I'm going back up with coach Taylor maybe to go one of their camp days, one of their half days," said Heath.

Sacramento State is showing increasing interest and could be close to offering. For some of the others, seeing tape of Heath, in person, at their camp or after his first few senior season games might occur before a decision on whether to offer is made.

"(One school) jokingly said 'Don't sign anywhere because we want to talk to you a little bit more,' but they all kind of said 'We're going to be watching you this year.' They've said I'm agile, get off the ball well, they like my footwork and my body frame. They tell me I have potential," said Heath.

HEATH APPEARS to be the top prospect at Del Oro this season but another getting looks is linebacker/running back Hunter Pahl. Fresno State, Oregon, Utah and Air Force are among those who have expressed interest, with Fresno State recruiting the hardest. His junior tape will ship out in the next week or so, Pahl said.

Pahl (6-0, 195) earned his league's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2006, beating Granite Bay's Miles Burris for the honor. Burris signed with San Diego State this past February over offers from Nebraska, Boise State and Nevada. Pahl also earned all-state underclass and all-city recognition following his junior campaign.

Pahl logged 80 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery this past season.

"He's a great player, has a great nose for the ball," said Taylor of Pahl. "I know Fresno State really likes him. He's a great player and I think people need to get on him, but this is the time of year that things start to get going."

Education will be important, said Pahl, and the chance to earn playing time.

"I just want to play ball," he said.

  • Washington State this weekend also has offered and played host to Cameron Meredith, a 6-foot-4.5, 222-pound defensive end from Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif., who tallied 60 tackles and eight sacks as a junior.

  • Taylor lists six more potential D-I prospects from Del Oro:

    Ryan Otten (LB/TE, 6-5, 200), an all-league selection with a 3.0 GPA.
    Jack Reynoso (DE/TE, 6-3, 240), an all league selection with a 3.1 GPA.
    Coleman Saunders (QB, 6-2, 200), who holds a 3.4 GPA.
    Andrew Metter (DB/WR, 6-1, 190), an all league selection with a 3.7 GPA.
    Jeremy Hart (LB/FB, 5-11, 200), an all league selection with a 3.3 GPA.
    Craig Andri (DB, 6-2, 170), an all league selection with a 3.4 GPA.

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