Defenseman has new leader in Cougs

FOLLOWING HIS OFFICIAL visit to Washington State this past weekend, a 6-1, 235-pound defenseman came away glowing over all things Washington State. There's one more item that remains on the family checklist, however, before he's ready to make a decision about where he'll be playing his college ball.

Distance from home can often play a large role in recruiting -- for both parents and prospects alike -- but for Mohammed Usman out of Bowie High in Arlington, Texas, about the only thing left to do before he makes his decision official is for dad to sign off on 'ol Wazzu.

"I already like it. If it was up to me right now, I'm ready to commit to them. And I told the coach that," said Usman. "My dad said he just wants to go check it out and make sure it's the kind of environment he wants me in.

"But I think he's going to really like it -- when he goes up there and checks it out, he's going to commit."

Usman (6-1, 235, 4.71) said he plans on traveling back up to the Palouse with his dad probably in early December.

Meanwhile, Washington State played host to Usman this past weekend and he said the trip could not have gone any better.

"It was a very good trip, I liked it a lot," said Usman. "How the players reacted to the coaches, how the coaches coached their players, I know I'll fit into that system really good. No downside to it at all, I liked everything about it, the whole trip."

His Bowie High (Arlington) teammate and close friend Marcus McGraw tripped up to Washington State a few weeks ago and had similarly rave reviews on the Cougs, said Bowie coach Kenny Perry. (And look for a CF.C update story on McGraw later this evening.)

UTEP, Rice and Fresno State have all offered Usman, with Texas A&M, SMU and Tulsa among the schools who have shown interest. Of that group, UTEP and Mike Price is the one he's hearing from the most.

THE ALWAYS UPBEAT Usman plays with his hand down on Bowie's defensive line -- but he would also make a fine college linebacker.

"They're (Washington State) looking at me at both defensive end and linebacker," said Usman. "I like defensive end but I'll play both, that's no problem at all for me. To play defensive end you just have to be aggressive, use your hands and be active."

Up-to-the-minute season stats were unavailable at press time but Usman is a difference maker on defense, according to Bowie's head man.

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

"Tackling-wise, it's been a real good season for me," added Usman. "And we're doing really good this year as a team."

Usman and McGraw key an Bowie (9-1) defense that has held seven opponents to 14 points or less. They dispatched their first nine opponents by an average of 28 points before a 24-23 loss last week, their first on the season.

Bowie, rated No. 3 in Texas' 5A class, opens the playoffs this week against L.D. Hull.

Mohammed Usman profile


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