Cougs hungry for DL help, eye 6-5 steakeater

PAUL WULFF has said, though it can't be stated enough that the numbers and needs can and do change all the way up until Signing Day, that he's looking to load up on defensive linemen in this class. One such prospect in the Cougar orbit fits the bill nicely at 6-5 and 245 pounds, and has both agility and speed. In other words, what Paul Wulff looks for in his steakeaters.

The Cougs' recruiting bread and butter will always be Washington and California but that also doesn't mean WSU will not go after a guy like Justin Juckem, out of Chilton, Wisconsin.

Indeed, the Washington State staff hit the recruiting road hard during the spring evaluation period and their air miles were not confined to the Northwest and Cali.

"They seem great," said Justin of Wazzu, who offered him earlier this year. "For them to come out to my school and fly all that way was a great (way) for them to show that they have interest in me. They're a Pac-10 school and you can't help (but like that)."

JUCKEM HAS BEEN in contact with several members of the Washington State staff, particularly since coaches were allowed to start calling prospects beginning Sep. 1, with Rich Rasmussen running the recruiting point.

"The coach is really nice. It's always nice to talk to (Rasmussen) because he seems like he's on the same playing field and really wants me as a person and not just as a football player...I really enjoy every it every time I talk to him," said Juckem.

"They all call, there's four different coaches from there that have called so far."

Justin has not set up his official visit dates soon but plans to soon.

ACADEMICS WILL BE of key importance to his choice, said Juckem, who is eyeing an Engineering degree. From a football standpoint, the culture and a school's facilities will be among the things he'll be looking at.

Distance could play a small role but Justin also emphasized he's leaving all options open at this time and can see himself playing anywhere.

Senior season tape was sent out recently to several schools that had requested it, plus another round of taped highlights will go out shortly. Juckem said Boston College was among the schools that has been showing increasing interest.

JUSTIN SAID HE's enjoying, immensely, talking to the coaches who are recruiting him and looks forward to each phone call he gets from college coaches. But talking about himself and his recruitment is something of a different story. He said he'd rather remain humble, out of the limelight, and focus more on it after the season.

"It's so hectic...I'm focusing on this year as a high school player and being a team player. That's basically my whole scenario. People are interviewing me and doing all this great stuff, which is great, but I want people to know that basically I'm still in high school and I'd like it to be that way right now, and we'll focus on things after the season," said Juckem.

THE BOOK ON Juckem -- a high motor defensive lineman with speed and agility. He could end up at defensive end or possibly d-tackle at the next level depending on how he physically matures after getting into a college weight program and training table.

Justin Juckem profile

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