Atofau a strong crimson lean post-WSU trip

JAMAL ATOFAU, THE fleet-footed, hard-hitting safety prospect from the Seattle area, says his unofficial visit this past weekend to Washington State could not have gone any better. "Things went real good. I almost committed," said the 5-10, 188-pounder out of storied Bellevue High. How close is close? And how about more details on the weekend and what's the plan going forward? Read on.

Does Jamal Atofau see himself making a verbal pledge to WSU in the near future?

"It's looking like that right now," Atofau told

Asked how close he was to verbally committing this weekend to Wazzu and the reason he decided to wait, the picture becomes clearer.

"My finger was on it, but my head coach, (Bellevue's) Butch Goncharoff, told me to wait for a little while, just until the next week. Then for sure I'll pull the trigger. He just said to wait for a little bit for SAT classes to be over and stuff like that," said Atofau.

ATOFAU SAID SEEING the culture change at Washington State play out under first year head man Paul Wulff is one of the big draws in his mind.

"It was the atmosphere and it seems like Washington State has a good head on their shoulders," said Atofau. "They are really turning everything around. The facilities are looking good. They are really serious. Coach (Chris) Ball is really looking good as the position coach. Everything is looking good."

Atofau also had high praise for Wulff, and said the two former Bellevue players on the WSU roster feel exactly the same.

"From what I've been seeing, he's doing real good," said Atofau. "Eric Block and "Keith Parr Jr. (formerly Rosenberg) are there and I stayed at their house. I talk to them a lot and they said that he's the real deal. From the scrimmage that I saw and the talks I've had with him, he's excellent.

"They said that it's been up and down with one coach leaving, but now they are really liking it and both are on the verge of starting."

ATOFAU SAID SATURDAY's scrimmage was the highlight of his weekend. The Cougs are playing a more amped-up, physical brand of defense under co-defensive coordinators Ball and Jody Sears and Atofau said it's a style close to his heart.

"They really showed that they have some dog in them. They banged a lot and got pumped up there," said Atofau.

WASHINGTON STATE LIKE him as a hard-hitting safety, Atofau said. But before he begins his collegiate career in '09, Atofau said Bellevue plans on making some big noise on the field in '08.

"The team is shaping up to be real good this year. We're going to be pretty green, starting a lot of juniors - but we're starting to build up a little swagger," said Atofau.

Chris Fetters contributed to this report.

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