With WSU vantage, Pencer morphing into giant

TYSON PENCER is large. He first surfaced on the crimson radar back in '06 -- he was then a 230 pound prep TE/DE out of Canada. He spent the past month-plus in Pullman, enrolling in WSU's early entry program, completing his first college courses and taking part in the Cougs' voluntary workout program. Post Wazzu-summer workouts, he now checks in at 6-foot-7 and a solid 274 pounds.

Where the British Columbian will line up for the Cougars probably won't be decided until WSU gets into fall camp but Pencer's best position in college might just be found on the offensive line.

He was a heck of a defensive end at Sands Jr. Secondary but that was a couple inches and 40-plus pounds ago. And it was high school.

D-tackle or tight end remain a possibility, he has surprising athleticism for his size. But 275 pounds is a lot of weight to move deftly down the field on pass patterns and cuts no matter how athletic the player, and his skills set might play out best on the offensive side of the line rather than on defense.

And Pencer probably isn't done growing. There remains room to pack on more bulk and muscle to his frame.

LIKE MANY COUGS when the summer's voluntary workouts came to an end last week, Pencer returned home on Friday for a final few days with family before the big push begins. Pencer will return to the Palouse on Sunday, prior to the start of WSU's fall camp on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

As for the voluntary workouts, Pencer had prepared long and hard on his own before getting to Washington State but like most every rookie the first time around, he was in for a surprise.

"I thought I was in pretty good shape," laughed Pencer. "But it's a whole different level of training."

The majority of the incoming class arrived early to WSU this summer, getting a valuable head start on both academics and conditioning prior to fall camp. Pencer said the experience was invaluable.

"I'm glad I went down there early," he said. "That month and a half or so really helped out. I'm feeling good."

PENCER WAS SET to start his Washington State career last fall. Signing his LOI in February of '07, he was pre-cleared by the NCAA's academic clearinghouse and good to go in the eyes of WSU itself. He was even actually in Pullman last year for August workouts when the NCAA suddenly switched gears and said he wasn't eligible.

The hangup was one class -- Pencer received a high enough mark in Canada but that the NCAA, in apparently looking at the differences between the educational systems in Canada and the U.S., adjusted his mark downward so that he fell 0.07 below the cut-off line.

After seeing no progress on an appeal, Pencer retook two high school classes and for good measure, also retook the ACT, bringing his score up significantly so there would be no question as to his exceeding NCAA qualification standards.

Since Pencer never enrolled at WSU last fall, he retains full eligibility, with five years to play four for the Cougs.

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