BREAKING: Cougs land Northwest safety

THE FOURTH VERBAL commitment from the recruiting weekend -- and No. 14 overall in the WSU class of 2008 -- called up the Cougar coaches Monday morning and pledged crimson. The free safety out of Lake Oswego, Ore. had seen interest ramp up this month from a trio of Pac-10 schools and thought he'd decide close to Signing Day. That all changed after his trip to Wazzu. CF.C talks to the newest Cougar.

Jay Matthews is headed to the Palouse. The 6-1, 198-pounder called coaches Paul Wulff and Rich Rasmussen Monday morning to tell them he was wanted to be a Cougar.

"They offered the first night I was down there. And just this morning, I gave my verbal commitment to them," said Matthews. "It stood out to me right away that the coaches were great people and they were looking to change things and get back to winning. And big things are happening in Pullman.

"You can feel it when you're down there. As soon as you step into town, you can feel it. They're on the upswing."

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MATTHEWS WILL PLAY free safety at Wazzu -- he earned second team all-state honors on defense this past season.

"When they were talking scheme-wise, it was everything that I believe verbatim -- all their ideas fit right in with how I play the game," said Matthews.

THAT WAS NOT the only crimson connection Matthews said he felt with the coaching staff.

"Their ideas fit in exactly with how I handle myself off the field, too. That stood out to me. And as far as the players, the ones that I met were all great could tell down there that there's a lot of character," said Matthews.

MATTHEWS SAID all other planned visits have been called off and any additional interest from other schools, while flattering, wouldn't be reciprocated because he's now a Coug.

"Coach Wulff, Coach Rasmussen, as well as all the rest of the staff -- and coach (Mike) Levenseller, who was the guy (recruiting me) before with the previous staff, they're all great people," he said.

Oregon State, UCLA, Boise State, Stanford, Portland State and Northern Arizona were all showing varying shades of interest prior to Matthews' visit to Pullman, with Oregon State and Boise State making in-school or in-home visits last week, though neither school had yet offered. There had also been recent interest coming from the Bruins under new coach Rick Neuheisel, Matthews said.

Matthews told CF.C prior to his trip to WSU strong academics, a strong football program, and good character people would all be paramount to his decision. Monday morning, he told CF.C those are the things he found, plus more, out on the Palouse.

"It's going to be a good stretch of years coming up under this new staff, I'm sure of it...Go Cougs!" said Matthews.

There are four senior highlight reels on Matthews, plus one from his junior campaign that are available to CF.C subscribers.

Jay Matthews profile and video

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