Incoming Cougar class nearly all make it

WHILE EVERY COLLEGE COACH in America hopes for 100 percent of a recruiting class to qualify, reality is such that a lesser number make it in. In the incoming ‘07 WSU class, long known as a solid academic group, several rookies enrolled earlier this summer. More have been streaming in over recent days. So how did Washington State's 2007 class fare on meeting NCAA academic requirements? Read on.

Experience has proven you can never take anything for granted until an incoming recruit takes the practice field in fall camp. And there are almost always a few who have to initially wait on the sidelines in street clothes during the fall camp's early going while a transcript or paperwork issue gets straightened out; Jerome Harrison, B.T. Walker and Marcus Richmond are but a few examples. Or Washington State's academic advisory board could choose to flag an incoming rookie -- who is NCAA-qualified -- and hold a hearing to decide if they will be admitted to Washington State.

The Cougs' list of non-qualifiers from the 2007 class, however, looks to be a decidedly short one with two players, both junior college transfers, who did not meet NCAA academic requirements.

Oga Faumui, a 6-3, 290 pound DT/DE out of Garden City College in Kansas, and Wyman Alexander, a 6-2, 245-pound linebacker out of Coffeyville JC, also in Kansas, did not meet NCAA academic qualification standards, has confirmed with Bill Doba and will not be in Pullman when Washington State opens fall camp next week.

The Cougs, however, also added a trio of players after Signing Day, with one of those players a JC linebacker coming on board in May. Ken Dunn, a 5-11, 230-pounder, was a starter on the No. 1 ranked defense in the NJCAA this past season, as national champion Blinn CC (Hearne, Texas) allowed just 129 yards of offense per game.

Faumui could have been a nice addition to WSU's front, providing versatile depth up and down the line. At the same time, d-tackle and d-end weren't among the more immediate numbers needs for the class or '07 season as were other positions.

D-tackle boasts starters Fevaea'i Ahmu (Jr.) and Ropati Pitoitua (Sr.), plus depth and experience in the form of uber-experienced Aaron Johnson (Sr.), as well as Bryan Tarkington (Sr.) and Matt Eichelberger (Jr.). Toby Turpin (RS-Fr.) is also waiting in the wings, while incoming freshman B.J. Guerra embarks on his Cougar career next week.

At end, the Cougs have a pair of seniors in Matt Mullennix and Lance Broadus, an improved junior-to-be this spring in Mike Graise, and rising true sophomore Kevin Kooyman. Preston Brooks and Asly Jean-Jacques both redshirted last season and will embark on their second year with the Cougs next week. Broadus is expected to miss the opener as he heals from a shoulder injury, with Graise listed as the starter on the pre-fall camp depth chart.

Another defensive end to watch for this season is the heretofore unheralded Jesse Feagin, a 6-3, 255-pound defensive end junior college transfer. Offered by Oregon out of high school, Feagin is a CF.C pick to outperform recruiting service expectations over the course of his WSU career. He has three to play two for the Cougs.

THE OTHER TWO May crimson additions were designated on other areas of need, offensive lineman Reed Lesuma and cornerback Alfonso Jackson.

Several members of the incoming class are already on campus, others are expected to arrive over the next few days.

Among the players who enrolled early at Washington State this summer were CB Chima Nwachukwu, CB Devin Giles, LB Hallston Higgins and WR Daniel Blackledge. All have been participating in voluntary summer workouts though Giles has had a class conflict with some of the skelly sessions.

Nwachukwu and Giles are expected to challenge for playing time at the position Bill Doba identified as most in need of improvement heading into fall camp -- cornerback.

Other '07 class members already in Pullman include S Terry Mixon, a heralded 5-star defensive back. WR Jeshua Anderson, a national record holder in track and field, is competing in the Junior Olympics and will depart for the Palouse in a few days. LB Dunn has also arrived at Washington State. CB Romeo Pellum arrived in Pullman earlier this month and immediately joined the team in the Cougs' voluntary summer workout program.

Rookies report on Aug. 3. The veterans report on Aug. 4, with the first practice of fall camp kicking off on Aug. 5.

  • This is the first of 5 new articles that are scheduled to go live on CF.C today.

  • Doba has said this recruiting class is his best since becoming head coach of Washington State in January of 2003.

  • News on Ahmu (foot) and Johnson (back) continues to be encouraging. Ahmu is running and making progress. Johnson, beat out by Ahmu in last year's fall camp before A'I suffered the stress fracture, boasts senior leadership and experience -- 26 starts and 31 games played at WSU. AJ had back surgery this offseason but word out of Pullman have the d-tackle saying he's "feeling great." While it would not be a surprise to see the staff hold Ahmu and AJ out of a good portion of the contact in fall drills, it would also appear they are on pace to play this season, something that earlier this offseason looked more questionable. D-line coach Mike Walker told CF.C last month he expects Johnson and Ahmu to be recovered and crackin' pads when the Cougs open the season at Wisconsin on Sept. 1.

  • To purchase tickets for WSU's Cougar Gridiron Classic and also for season tickets, call 1-800-GO-COUGS or go online at Prices range from $7 to $50 for the Sept. 8 game at Qwest.

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