BREAKING NEWS: Cougs land OL w/ familiar name

WASHINGTON STATE had only eight able bodies available for offensive line duty during the final spring scrimmage, speaking to a lack of experienced depth up front. The Cougs have recently filled in the gap with an explosive 6-4, 305-pounder who will be finishing up his AA degree ahead of schedule. When the newest Cougar hoss arrives in Pullman later this summer, he'll see one very familiar face.

Get used to seeing the The Lesuma Boys digging in on the Washington State offensive line.

Reed Lesuma, younger brother of Vaughn Lesuma, arrives in Pullman later this summer with three to play three.

"I signed a scholarship to go up there to Washington State," said Lesuma, who traveled up to the Palouse about three weeks ago to take in the final scrimmage of the spring session. He said he then sent in his signed paperwork about a week and a half ago.

The Cougars return three starters up front but because of a paucity of experienced depth, it is more than likely Lesuma will find himself in George Yarno's 2-deeps on the depth chart upon his arrival.

"I was amazed," said Lesuma. "Vaughn was telling me everything about Washington State and he wasn't lying. It's a great school, great program, great coaches. There's a lot of great things coming up for the program."

THE WINDOW FOR signing a Letter of Intent ended on April 1, so what Lesuma signed is a financial aid agreement. He'll arrive in Pullman in August for fall camp and enroll in classes.

"When coach Yarno and the other coaches (Oregon State, San Diego State) were looking through my transcripts, they saw that I could graduate at the end of the summer semester if I upped some of my classes during the summer. I told him, 'I'm totally fine with that, coach!'"

Yarno ran the recruiting point on Lesuma for the Cougs, with Bill Doba adding a major assist, both in the head coach's recruitment of Reed plus in his recruitment of Vaughn last year.

"I loved how sincere (Doba) was. He wasn't just trying to blow bubbles in our faces. He was sincere in everything that was said, and I saw how they kept their end of the deal with Vaughn keeping his...(Yarno) is one animated guy. You get him in his football mode and this guy can be quite a character. And I love that. I want somebody who is going to be pushing me, driving me. I have a lot of respect for coach Yarno and we've been keeping in touch. He's just one amazing person," said Lesuma.

Talking with Yarno about the potential to earn early playing time was a large selling point while on his trip to Washington State, he says.

"The atmosphere of Pullman was great. And coach Yarno, he would come up to me and say 'I'm not doing this because I'm a good guy, I'm not trying to please you because Vaughn is here. I'm recruiting you because I need you. We need offensive linemen...If you want to be first string, that will depend on how hard you work and how soon you 'get it'."

LESUMA, LIKE HIS brother, is a tackle by trade but with the lack of experienced depth on the offensive line, Lesuma said Yarno has talked about him possibly playing on the inside this coming season. The Lesumas lined up for Mt. San Jacinto at both outside spots last year, Reed at right tackle and brother Vaughn out on the left edge. Might the Cougars one day boast brother bookends on the WSU line?

"That's what he was saying, that it could be pretty interesting," said Lesuma. "But I'm just excited to contribute any way I can, I'm just excited to have even be considered by Washington State.

"I'm very excited to head off to Pullman. One of the best things they say about me is they like my footwork, that I have good footwork for someone as big as I am, and my explosion off the mark. And they like my intensity. I'm like Vaughn, I never really played football before."

Lesuma suited up his senior year in high school after coming over from Fiji but didn't see much playing time. After his Mormon mission, he joined brother Vaughn at Mt. San Jacinto and put together an excellent season.

Both Washington State and Oregon State, two of those who offered Vaughn, took notice and began to recruit Reed for the 2008 class when it became apparent he could become eligible this season.

BUT BECAUSE Reed could not sign a binding Letter of Intent after the April 1 deadline, Oregon State has told Lesuma they will continue to recruit him. Lesuma says Washington State, however, is a done deal.

"They said, 'We (missed out) with your brother, and we can't make the same mistake twice so we can't let you go. They want to try and trip me up. I already told them I signed with Washington State but (an OSU coach) said that letter binds the school to you, you didn't sign a letter of intent so it doesn't bind you to the school'... but I'm not planning on letting it become void. I'm focused on WSU.

"I told coach Yarno the only thing here (in California) is my body -- my mind and my heart are at Wazzu. Coach Yarno said he had good faith in me that I was going to keep my word and I told him, 'Coach, I'm a Cougar already. I'm coming here.' I'm excited to be part of the program, I'm excited to be part of the Washington State family, and I'm excited to help contribute in any way I can."

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