WSU offers Cougar legacy

DESMOND TRUFANT, whose CouGreat brother Marcus is now an All-Pro NFL corner, has been offered a scholarship by Washington State. And there's another connection between the Trufants and new Wazzu head man Paul Wulff. WSU was first to offer but another Pac-10 school has followed suit and also put a ride on the table. The youngest Trufant talks Wazzu and recruiting, and his prep coach also weighs in.

Desmond Trufant (6.0, 167, 4.5) out of Tacoma's Wilson High, picked up a crimson offer from Wulff and the Cougars about two weeks ago. Assistant Mike Levenseller is running the recruiting point for Wazzu.

"I've always liked the Cougars. I like the coaches, and it's a nice place over there," said Trufant, who is a little bigger than his famous brother was at this stage.

Marcus was the Tacoma News Tribune Player of the Year but Washington State was his only Pac-10 offer. That won't be the case with Desmond and in part because of what Marcus did at Washington State and later, in the NFL.

Wazzu has offered the younger Trufant at cornerback like his brother, though he also has the athleticism and skills to play on offense at the next level.

"Wazzu said I could also play receiver or safety or cornerback. They know I'm a cornerback first, but they said I could easily play safety or a receiver. And I'll play anywhere, but corner is my favorite position. If it comes down to it, I'd play offense," said Trufant, who had eight interceptions his junior campaign and was named first team all-conference at corner.

"I just like the challenge of it, going against another guy who can easily beat you because one mistake at corner and it's a touchdown...And I like to hit people, get interceptions," said Trufant.

IN ADDITION TO Marcus, who starred at Washington State (1999-2002) before becoming the No. 11 overall pick in the NFL Draft for the Seahawks, Wulff and crew have another Trufant connection.

The middle son, Isaiah Trufant, was a standout CB for Eastern Washington under Wulff, earning first team all-conference and Big Sky Conference All-Academic Team honors. Now in the Arena League, Isaiah led the Kansas City Brigade with 19 pass breakups last season and is now with the Arizona Rattlers.

Don Clegg, who has coached all three Trufants at Wilson, says there are similarities and subtle differences between Desmond and his two older brothers.

"Marcus was quiet, unsung. Des is probably a little bit more outspoken," said Clegg. "...Both of them have really good feet, really good change of direction, and this uncanny knack of anticipating the ball. He has a knack, just like his brothers, of making a play when it's space, he's very, very good.

"Desmond is always competing to try and do better than his brothers...and Des has had a little more success in basketball. All of them are good students, and mom and dad make sure of that. Des is also quiet but also has that little (edge) about him. He's not a guy who talks on the field...but he wants to know how his brother did, there's some rivalry there."

There's also a lot of studying going on.

"I think I'm similar to (Marcus). I watched him for years and years and I'm trying to do what he does," said the youngest Trufant.

SHORTLY AFTER Washington State offered, the other program in the Evergreen State also jumped in, with the UW offering Trufant a scholie. Oregon has also been filling up his mailbox with recruiting letters.

"Same thing on the UW, they have good coaches. I'm just keeping an open mind on all the schools and keep all my options open," said Trufant.

Trufant said one of the biggest things he's looking for is the right fit, a school that feels like it's "a second home".

"I can't say one (stands out), I like all the schools," he said. "I want to give every school a chance and I just really need to find a home, one where I feel welcome. Location (college town or big city) doesn't really matter, as long as I'm on the team, playing and having fun."

A THREE SPORT STANDOUT, Trufant was the sole letterwinner returning to the Wilson hoops team this season and is averaging about 12 points a game. He's also an accomplished track and field athlete, one who is expected to challenge for the state title in the triple jump as a junior.

"He (tied for fifth) in the state last year in the triple jump as a sophomore. He has great vertical explosion and great anticipation on the ball. And he is very much like Marcus in his ability to take no play and make it into a big play on offense," said Clegg.

Trufant's personal bests include 45-1 in the triple jump, and 20-11 in the long jump.

Clegg has been coaching for 37 years, the last 21 at Wilson. Marcus presented him with a "Heroes in the Classroom" Award in 2005.

Clegg said he was surprised on Signing Day when one of his seniors didn't land a scholie. "One of the guys I will say got overlooked was my linebacker/running back/fullback...Tomasi Unga (5-11, 220). I'm still hoping Boise State, Fresno State or even SMU will come through and give him a full ride because he's a legitimate (D-IA)."

Cougfan Top Stories