Cougar football: DT help arrives in January

ONE AREA OF need this recruiting class for Washington State resides at defensive tackle. And with the Cougars losing to graduation the two senior d-tackles who gained most of the '08 starts inside, a need exists for at least some guys who can play now. One such candidate arrives in Pullman in a little over two weeks. And he says he's ready to make up for lost time.

Josh Luapo, a member of the '08 recruiting class who needed to finish up his final coursework this past fall, will arrive at Washington State a few days prior to classes beginning on Jan. 12. In addition to earning his Associates degree from LA Harbor College, he spent the past fall hitting the gym.

"I kept working out and kept hitting the field," said Luapo. "In a way it was a blessing in disguise because I was a little banged up playing ball so it gave me time to rest my body and think about life's curve balls and how you just have to run with it."

Perhaps also a blessing is the situation he'll find himself in a few weeks time.

Had Luapo been on board in '08 with three to play two, the Cougars almost certainly would have plugged him inside this season given how the year shook out, and he'd now have one year of eligibility left.

Instead, he'll enroll at WSU in a few weeks, go through winter workouts with the team, follow that up with the all-important spring ball session and then take part in the the voluntary summer workouts before his first fall camp at WSU. And he has two years of eligibility remaining.

LUAPO IS NOT a huge d-tackle at 6-0, 290. Because of that, he's had to earn success through proper leverage, pad level, quicks and technique. And there's one other thing.

"I think it's just that I want it more," said Luapo. "I love playing the game, I have fun doing it and I love busting my butt in the weight room and on the field. When I step on that field, I want it more than anyone else.

"I just like playing ball, setting up my teammates (for tackles) and getting the win."

Luapo says he and Cougar assistant Steve Broussard have stayed in touch over the course of the fall and having completed his AA coursework, the only thing left is for his paperwork to make it's way from L.A. Harbor College to Washington State.

"We've mostly been talking about taking care of business and making sure my classes were straight. I finished up a couple weeks ago. After my transcripts transfer, that's that," said Luapo.

LUAPO SAID A few other schools including San Jose State put out feelers this fall but he wasn't interested.

"They wanted me to trip out but I thought about my commitment to Wazzu, and a commitment is a commitment. So I didn't really want to talk to anybody else.

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