VERBAL: After push and pull, hoss goes Wazzu

HE RETURNED HOME from his official visit to Washington State high on the Cougs and a strong crimson lean. But then others began to weigh in: "Stay in California ... Go to this school instead." And things began to get complicated. In the end, Zack Williams pledged crimson and the question remaining is this: Will the 6-3 1/2, 285-pound JC lineman benefit from a redshirt season at WSU?

The push and pull of recruiting can get tough for recruits. For Zack Williams, he went back and forth between WSU and San Diego State in the days after his Jan. 11 official trip to Pullman.

"When I came back from Washington State, that was someplace I really wanted to go. But then other people started to tell me about my decision and what to do," said Williams.

Williams called Cougar assistant coach Steve Broussard earlier this week, and then met with Wazzu head man Paul Wulff and offensive line coach Harold Etheridge on Tuesday.

"I just finally told myself to do what I wanted to do, and that meant Washington State," said Williams. "It has always been my dream to play in the Wulff and coach Etheridge, I told them when they were over at the house two days ago...they were excited, grabbed me and gave me a hug."

MANY JUNIOR COLLEGE players dismiss the idea of redshirting, even if there's a possibility their overall career may be the better for it. Williams, however, may go that route if circumstances dictate in fall camp.

Williams is a center by trade and the Cougs have two-year starter Kenny Alfred at that spot. The Cougs could insert Williams off Alfred's shoulder at the left guard spot -- if a need should so exist there as Wazzu gets into their fall camp.

Or, Williams could redshirt and be that much more prepared to succeed in the trenches in '09.

"They were looking at me to come in and play at that left guard spot but Paul Wulff, he was saying it (might be best) for me to use my redshirt year. So basically I'm probably going to end up using my redshirt year and learn the program -- because I'm going to be missing spring ball (this year), which is key... And I'll be in a good D-I lifting program so I'm going to get big and faster and that's good," said Williams.

Wulff can also speak to the value to an offensive lineman using a redshirt season -- after redshirting in 1985 as a player at WSU, Wulff went on to be a four-year starter at center for the Cougars from 1986-89, under three different coaches, and was an All-America honoree his senior season.

Redshirting could also make sense considering Williams, who graduated from Pasadena High, just turned 19 years old.

"I have a friend at Washington State, Andrew Roxas -- He's a week older than me. So a redshirt year (could help in that) I want to get the full advantage out of my career and play to the best of my ability," said Williams.

WILLIAMS EARNED Region III All-America honors from the CCCFCA following the '07 season. He's also a two-time, first team all-Western States Conference honoree the past two years at center for Glendale, and was named honorable mention JC Grid-Wire All-America.

Washington State, he told CF.C earlier, likes his ability to get out and run, his footwork and strength.

"They said they really like the way I get off the ball and how I'm always downfield," says Williams.

Williams' coach at Glendale says he's an o-lineman who has more of a defensive mentality.

"I have a little bit of a nasty streak to me," said Williams.

He becomes the 22nd known verbal commitment in the 2008 Washington State class.

Zack Williams profile

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