Cougar spring ball: Six guys to watch

SURE, BASKETBALL IS all the buzz right now. But there's no denying the calendar: Spring football practices at Washington State begin just 20 days from now. And the intrigue will abound because 15 members of the 2008 recruiting class who redshirted this past season will now be gunning for prime time. So will four players who transferred in last August and another two who just arrived in January.

At least six of these players look to be on a fast track for instant impact. They are:

  • Defensive lineman Bernard Wolfgramm, a four-star JC transfer whose high motor and work ethic on the scout team impressed Cougar coaches last fall.

  • Offensive lineman Zack Williams, another scout team standout last fall with a blue collar mentality.

  • Middle linebacker Alex Ellis-Hoffman, a highly athletic JC transfer who joined the team just 10 days before last year's season opener and now looks like a solid, though raw, heir apparent to Greg Trent.

  • Receiver Jeffrey Solomon, a transfer from Eastern Washington who will help fill the void left by of his childhood pal Brandon Gibson.

  • Cornerback Brandon Jones, an O'Dea High grad who played on special teams as a true freshman at Cal in 2007.

  • Running back James Montgomery, also a transfer from Cal, was the Cougars' scout team offensive player of the year for 2008. He was a Parade Magazine All-American coming out of Rancho Cordova High in 2006.

    Wolfgramm and Solomon are coming off back injuries so their spring participation level could be modified.

    TWO JANUARY ENROLLEES, receiver Johnny Forzani and defensive tackle Josh Luapo, also look to make a mark this spring. Luapo was a three-star member of WSU's '08 recruiting class but didn't arrive in the fall because he needed to finish up JC coursework. Forzani was a standout basketball player in high school, but didn't play football until joining the Calgary Stampeders' junior team, where he caught 37 passes for 702 yards last season. He has major speed, posting a personal best time in the 40 of 4.37 seconds. His dad, Tom, was a Hall of Fame receiver for the Stampeders.

    NOTABLE: Defensive backs LeAndre Daniels and Jay Matthews, redshirt freshmen last season, are said to have had big off-seasons in the weight room …Two other redshirt freshmen, Skylar Stormo and Andrei Lintz, are in prime position for PT at tight end given the Cougars' lack of depth behind Tony ThompsonCory Mackay, one of the most touted members of the 2008 recruiting class, also could get a look at tight end but at this point appears set at OLB, where he practiced last season, or perhaps defensive end … Yet two other members of the '08 class drew praise from coaches last fall for their work at DE: Dan Spitz and Adam Coerper. In fact, Coerper was named scout team defensive player of the year … Spring practices begin on March 26 and conclude April 25.

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