Pair of Texas tackling machines w/ WSU offers

WASHINGTON STATE has extensive recruiting ties to Texas through coaches Greg Peterson and Leon Burtnett. One Lone Star State representative with a Cougar offer is a 'backer who racked up a ridiculous 156 tackles last year. Another is a defensive end who makes plays all over the field. Two old friends are vying for both -- Bill Doba and Mike Price.

While California and the Northwest will always be Washington State's recruiting bread and butter, Texas is teeming with D-IA talent and Washington State has diligently worked to further establish their presence in the state every year since 2003. This year's crop in the crimson orbit includes LB Marcus McGraw (5-11.5, 210) and DE Mohammed Usman (6-1, 235, 4.71), both from Arlington's Bowie High.

McGraw holds several offers. It is Washington State and UTEP who are recruiting him the hardest, he said.

"I just got the paperwork from Washington State for my scholarship offer, and UTEP also just called me.

"Washington State is in a good conference, it seems like it would be a pretty good place to go...UTEP is looking towards (offering), they haven't quite got there yet. It's just those two that I'm hearing from mainly," said McGraw.

McGraw said distance could be a factor, and staying closer to home could weigh into his decision.

Official and unofficial visits are in the process of being finalized, with no set dates yet.

THIS SEASON, McGraw is actually ahead of the torrid pace he set his junior season, when he logged 156 tackles in 11 games.

Though three games in '07, McGraw already has 50 tackles. That's an average of nearly 17 sticks each Friday night.

"He's played like a wild man," said prep coach Kenny Perry. "He's so mature for his age and he plays with such speed. He's a wrestler, and wrestler's have kind of a different mind set, and he plays like that on every play."

USMAN, SAYS PERRY, has a little giddy-up in his trunk, too. He, like McGraw, is a grappler for Bowie, too.

"He makes plays all over the place. He's a good pass rusher," said Perry.

Usman holds offers from Washington State, UTEP, Rice and Fresno State. Since Sept. 1, since schools could initiate phone contact with a prospect, Usman has received calls from WSU, the rest of his offering schools, along with plenty more, including TCU and Utah.

RECENTLY, USMAN SAYS he's heard from UTEP and Price the most. Usman has one official visit scheduled, to El Paso on Oct. 13. Other trips could be scheduled in the near future, as Usman said he doesn't have set timetable and that he'd make a verbal commitment when it feels right -- be that during the season or after.

"I've been talking to a lot of different people," said Usman.

He said distance won't be the key to his decision.

"A school that has the right education plan, a good environment and good people is what I'm looking for," said Usman. "Distance, not really. It won't be much of a factor."

"Washington State, I'm interested," said Usman, although he added he'd like to hear more from the Cougs. "They have a nice school, a nice environment."

SCHOOLS ARE SPLIT as to where they see him at the next level. Most like him at defensive end but UTEP and Washington State have told him they see him as either a defensive end or linebacker. All things being equal, Usman said he would like to play with his hand down at the next level.

Through three games for the Volunteers in '07, Usman has logged 27 tackles with three sacks.

Bowie, 3-0 and ranked No. 7 in the Dallas Morning News' area 5A poll, takes on the defending state champion in Cedar Hill this week.

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