'Cream of the crop' bond on trip to Pullman

NOLAN WASHINGTON, the top-rated cornerback prospect in Washington, is well aware of the chatter about UW coming after him and other prepsters who've committed to play ball for Paul Wulff. He's a solid Coug, Washington told CF.C after tripping to Pullman over the weekend. Not only that, but he and two other local standouts who were there as well have latched onto a nickname for themselves.

You get the sense Cougar fans are going to like Burien's Nolan Washington -- as a player and for what he does in the locker room.

Washington, a national top 50 corner from Kennedy High, said the WSU coaching staff told him this weekend that he and a number of other Cougar commits are the state's best, the cream of the crop. With Washington the state's top rated corner on Scout.com, Gino Simone the top rated receiver and Jamal Atofau the top rated safety, the trio didn't have any problem at all running with the theme all weekend long.

"We were all three just kind of feeling it -- 'Ah! Cream.. of.. the.. CROP! Bring it home!' That's what we call ourselves and that's what they were calling us. I'm serious, that's our name now. Ask Gino and ask Jamal, they'll tell you," said Washington.

It sounds like more than a few people around Pullman might be aware of it now as well, said Washington, with as many times as he said he mentioned it over the weekend.

"The whole town knows now," Washington laughed. "And I'm ready to go right now."

WASHINGTON SAID THE weekend's official visit to Washington State could not have gone any better.

"It was great, it just solidified my commitment and made it even more solid. It was a great, great weekend...from the academic side to the sports side, it was just ALL impressive. I'm just ready to get up there," he said.

With Washington's athleticism, Cougar head man Paul Wulff told him he can play early at Washington State, Washington said. The 5-11, 175-pound cornerback also knows he needs to get stronger in the weight room between now and then, but the opportunity is there. He projects at corner for WSU, but he's not ruling out playing receiver for the crimson and gray, either.

"On Saturday, coach Wulff pulled me aside and we had a one-on-one talk and that went really well," said Washington. "He told me again about why they offered me and what they look to do with me so that really just made me feel it even more...I have to lift and get ready now of course, I can't wait until I get there.

"With my potential and my knowledge as a DB, he said the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator are fighting over me a little, whether it will be corner or receiver, so they really don't know yet. But coach Wulff is just anxious to get me up there, he was saying, 'Man I can't wait to coach you!' and I said, 'Coach, I'm even more excited.'"

AN ARTICLE LAST week on Scout.com had the headline; 'Huskies still pursuing Washington', but the two-way star from Kennedy said post-visit, he's set with Wazzu.

"I'm solid with what I have. We all, the Cream of the Crop, we all had a talk about that...If they did offer me, it would be 'okay, they offered' but I won't do anything like, 'okay, I might as well go there now and go commit to them now'. Un-unh. I'm a Coug. "

Washington is also aware that Simone will be going on other trips, and Atofau was quoted in a recent article as being open to visiting other schools as well. But Washington said after the three of them sat down by themselves this weekend and talked about all things recruiting, he's of the belief the trio will ultimately sign with the same school.

"The cream of the crop is sticking together -- we're Cougs," said Washington. "We all had a good sit down talk this weekend. We talked about our trip and then we all talked about if we say this, then we're all going to do it. We're all going to turn this program around.... And we're all going to be Cougs when Signing Day comes.

"(WSU's) already got me but if those two suddenly say, 'Oh I'm going to sign with this other school' and they mess up the Cream of the Crop, oh, they're going to be hearing from me. They can't do that. The cream of the crop is staying in Pullman."

Washington said he and Simone plan on rooming together when they get to Washington State.

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