FIRST-YEAR WASHINGTON STATE coach Paul Wulff has landed one of the biggest "gets" of the recruiting season. Brandon Gibson, the Apple Cup hero and first-team All-Pac-10 receiver from Puyallup, phoned Monday evening with the news that he has decided to return for his senior season rather than declare early for the NFL draft.

Gibson wouldn't say where NFL scouts pegged him to go in the April draft if he made himself available, but said "it wasn't low, it wasn't high and it wasn't what I liked." In recent weeks he said would make the move if targeted for the third round or higher.

He said he informed Wulff and receivers coach Mike Levenseller of the decision "a couple of days ago." He said Wulff was excited and Levenseller was classic Levenseller. "He's a workaholic -- he told me I had a lot more work to do," Gibson said.

"I'm glad I get to work with Coach Levy another year and perfect my craft," he added.

He said the no-huddle offense Wulff is bringing to WSU is attractive and the more he heard about it from friends who play at EWU, the more excited he became about returning.

"Looking at the stats from Eastern, the quarterback and receivers do well," he said.

Gibson consulted with an array of people before making his decision, including Jason Hill, Devard Darling, Husain Abdullah and Bill Doba.

"I talked with Coach Doba a lot," Gibson said. "He told me to go back to school." He said Abdullah's advice was fairly succinct: "You've got another year in you (at WSU)."

Hill tested the early-out waters two years ago and decided to stay for his senior season at WSU after NFL scouts suggested he would be a fourth-round selection. Now with the San Francisco 49ers, Hill went in the third round last spring. Darling left WSU after his junior season and was taken in the third round by Baltimore in 2004.

Gibson led the Pac-10 in receiving yards (1,180) and yards per catch (17.6) in 2007. He was fourth in total catches, with 67, and second in receiving TDs, with nine. Two of those scoring receptions came in the waning moments of the Cougars' nailbiting Apple Cup victory at Washington.

He is among the top 10 receivers in WSU history, both in terms of total catches and yardage. His 1,180 yards this past season was a school record.

Looking to 2008, Gibson said his goals are straight forward: "I just want to help us win games, do what's best for my team."

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