Future Cougar Simone talks WSU, recruiting

RECRUITING ISN'T EVER just about getting verbal commitments, it's about keeping them all the way through Signing Day in February because nothing is ever for certain until the day recruits put pen to paper. WR Gino Simone, future Cougar and No. 1 ranked prep prospect in the state regardless of position, talks Cougs, other schools recruiting him, and more.

WR Gino Simone (6-0, 175, 4.6), Skyline HS, Issaquah, WA  
Verbal commitment: Washington State

Contact level with WSU
"It's been good. They just used the call on me for this week and my dad talked to coach Wulff for quite a bit the other day and my dad had nothing but good things to say about it," said Simone.

Current season influence
"With the Cougs' record, that kind of stuff concerns my dad but it's not such a big deal for me. For him it's about getting in and getting wins and he wants what's best for me. He said to me that after talking with coach Wulff he feels a lot more confident -- that they had a chance to have a good talk and I think that really helped him out a lot," said Simone.

Continuing interest level from other schools
"Our defensive coordinator, coach (Chad) Barrett played for coach (Jay) Locey at Linfield and he's now the receivers coach at Oregon State. I'm expecting to hear a little bit more from him, coach Barrett has told me he's been wanting to call me and just chitchat a little bit. Same with the guys at Boise State, they call and check in every once in a while. But other than that, not too much. Most schools have been pretty good about honoring that commitment," said Simone.

Official visit to WSU
Dec. 12

Official visits to schools other than WSU?
"I've talked to my dad about it quite a bit and he's really been urging me quite a bit to take a couple other visits, just to see. My plan right now is to take my official visit to Washington State and then make a decision on whether I want to take a couple visits after that...We've got to take care of business now, and then after that I can take care of my recruitment..I am committed to Washington State and that's not changed. But it's tough not to listen to your dad a little bit (laughs) especially since he's been through the process (Arizona State)..I'm just going to take mine to Washington State and we'll see what happens," said Simone.

Recruiting focus vs. on-field focus
"Right now, I'm really trying to (put on the back burner) the whole recruitment thing and just really finish out strong (at Skyline), we've still got a few games left hopefully on our way to another state championship," said Simone.

Being ranked the top overall prospect in the state by Scout.com
It's a tremendous honor...It's in part (due to) the kind of talent that is on our team right now. I definitely think that ranking is in direct correlation to the kind of athletes we have on this team...It's tremendous recognition, it's an honor and I'm happy to have received it," said Simone.

Numbers and stats
Simone through 10 games has 34 receptions for 670 yards (19.7 average) with 11 touchdowns for No. 1 ranked Skyline (10-0). In the regular season (nine games), he also had 149 yards rushing, 167 punt returns yards, 170 yards on kickoff returns plus 26 tackles from his defensive back position with a sack and an interception.

Playing time on an undefeated No. 1 ranked team not playing many close games
Through the early regular season for the starting group, it was tough because we didn't have an opportunity to play a full game up until not too long ago. We haven't had to throw too much because teams have really worked on taking our passing game away from us so we've just had to run the ball but that's what's good about Skyline, if you work so hard to take away our pass we'll just run it," said Simone.

Blocking and final thoughts
One of the most important skills for a WR that gets precious little play -- blocking. "I've really worked on that this offseason. We always go back and forth between the receivers on who's best at what (laughs) and every once in a while coach (Mat) Taylor will tell us 'you do this best, you do that best'...he had gotten kinda angry at us the week before because as a group of receivers, we didn't block real well. We really worked on it hard and after last week's game, he 'officially' told me I'm the best blocking receiver on our team (laughs) Jake Knecht has won the fastest, Kasen Williams has probably won strongest after first contact -- but I got blocking," said Simone.

For more on Simone, click to here.

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