Cougs beat name schools this time around

A YEAR AGO, NEW Cougar head coach Paul Wulff received high marks for pulling together a highly athletic class of recruits on short notice. Of the 25 kids he signed, though, only three had offers from other BCS-conference schools. Not so in the 2009 class of crimson talent that was unveiled today.

The list of schools WSU beat out for players this time around will put a smile on every Cougar fan's face.

Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota and even mighty LSU were among those the Cougs went head-to-head with -- and defeated -- in this talent cycle. There were also the Boise States and Fresno States of the world.

But there were no Cal Polys or UC-Davis' or Montanas as there were a year ago. Indeed, aside from Cory MacKay (Washington), Kevin Frank (Nebraska) and Bernard Wolfgramm (Kansas State), the Cougars' biggest 2008 recruiting competitors tended to be Portland State and the rest of the Big Sky. It was understandable. When Wulff came on board in mid-December of '07, WSU had only three verbal commitments and too few inroads elsewhere.


This year was an entirely different story. The Cougs beat out Oregon, Arizona and Washington for Bellevue's Jamal Atofau, and LSU, Louisville and North Carolina State for JC All-American Brandon Rankin. They outdistanced Washington and Oregon State for Gino Simone. They edged Nebraska, Arizona and Oregon State for Anthony Carpenter, and Colorado for running back Carl Winston.

For Nolan Washington, WSU nipped Arizona State, Minnesota and others. They topped Oregon State for both Quayshawn Buckley and Travis Long, and Washington for Casey Locker. For Asi Hosea, the Cougars out-sold suitors ranging from Kansas State and Washington to BYU and Hawaii.

"This class stacks up very well with the others in the Pac-10, especially considering the season WSU just finished having," says's West Coast recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman. "Players are seeing the opportunity to play early and make a big contribution and want to help build on that."

Huffman said WSU recruited the Northwest region better than any team in the Pac-10, "getting Washington's top player in Simone, who had a lot of Pac-10 attention, getting Darren Markle out of Boise and so on."

One player the Cougars lured out of California -- 6-4, 230-pound linebacker/end Sekope Kaufusi -- didn't receive any other Pac-10 offers, picking WSU over San Jose State. But he is a most intriguing prospect.

"This is a guy who came on strong but not until his senior year season, so a number of schools didn't realize he was there or were already full by the time they got to him," said CF.C recruiting analyst Barry Bolton. "Dick Tomey, at San Jose State, had him right in his own backyard and went hard to get him. Remember, this is the same Dick Tomey who built some of the greatest defensive teams in Pac-10 history when he was at Arizona. Tomey knows defensive talent."

Redmond High quarterback David Gilbertson, a second-team All-KingCo 4A selection this past season, will be walking on at Washington State this fall, the Seattle Times reports. He completed 143 of 251 passes (58.13 percent) for 1,790 yards and 13 TDs in 2008. He is the son of former Idaho, Cal and Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson.

CF.C began tracking the 2009 recruiting class in earnest one year ago. In that time, our recruiting guru, Barry Bolton, logged hundreds of hours talking with high school and junior college coaches and players. We brought many of their stories to the pages of CF.C. Some 25 of them committed to the Cougars. And a bunch of others didn't. Of those who didn't, there were a handful who we got to know a bit. Here's where they are believed to be committing today ...

- Kevin Greene, DE, Sacred Heart/San Francisco (USC)
- Geoff Meinken, DE, Lynnwood (Stanford)
- Desmond Trufant, CB, Wilson/Tacoma (Washington)
- Isi Sofele, RB, Cottonwood/Salt Lake City (Cal)
- Evan Finkenberg, DT, Tesoro.Las Flores, Calif. (Arizona State)
- Kirby Moore, WR, Prosser (Boise State)
- Johnny Millard, WR/DB, Pleasanton, Calif. (invited to walk on at WSU; committed to Cal Poly with full ride)

Be sure to check back with CF.C early and often this week for wall-to-wall recruiting coverage.

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