Football recruiting hits overdrive this month

SPRING BALL MAY be done but the Washington State coaches are busier than ever. If the past is prologue, the next four weeks will be a recruiting road trip extraordinaire as each Cougar coach will visit about 150 schools -- or roughly seven per day. For college recruiters, the NCAA's May Evaluation Period is truly when the rubber meets the road.

The May Evaluation Period is a bit of a misnomer. It actually started on April 15 and runs six weeks. Each college is allowed four weeks out of the six, excluding Memorial Day and Sundays, to visit high schools and evaluate prep football prospects.

The NCAA allows a maximum of seven coaches on the road at any one time so the nine WSU assistants will rotate in, and each of the nine will spend about three weeks total on the road.

A rules change enacted last year keeps Paul Wulff and every other head coach home during the period, so it's up to the assistants to canvas the recruiting hot spots.

WSU HAS AREAS of need across the board at the varying positions but some stand out more than others. After a 2009 class light on offensive linemen, the Cougars are expected to take more of the big bodies in their 2010 class.

WSU has a nice pool of young hosses on the interior parts of the OL, the projection from this chair is that the '10 focus be will on the tackles. All told, CF.C projects Wazzu to take at least three hosses in the next class.

The Cougars already have secured a verbal commitment from one player who fits the mold: North Mason's John Fullington. Another commit, Shadle Park's Jake Rodgers, is expected to come to WSU as a tight end but Rodgers, at 6-7 and with long arms, might wind up best suited at offensive tackle as well when it's all said and done.

Defensive line is a position of even greater need. The Cougs could take as many as four steak eaters in this class. There's probably more of a need for tackles than ends but this may be an area where the Cougs take the best player available regardless of whether he's an inside or outside guy. And some of those who are d-ends now might well develop into a d-tackles down the road.

After not taking a tight end the 2009 class (Travis Long and Jordan Pu'u-Robinson are ticketed for the defensive line), the Cougars have already secured a verbal commitment from one for 2010: Mead's Aaron Dunn. And the Cougs may still go after more TE/DE types.

CF.C is projecting that WSU also will sign a couple of receivers, a running back and a quarterback in the 2010 crop.

On defense, look for the Cougs to take two linebackers (with the possible emphasis on the outside), a couple of cornerbacks and a couple of safeties. The Cougs also like those safety types that either a) have the versatility to play corner or b) have the body type to develop into a linebacker.

The final number of players to be signed in a class tyically fluctuates all the way up until Signing Day but the early CF.C projection is for the Cougars to take between and 19 and 21 come February. That may mean a kicker or punter would have to be very special to earn a scholarship in '10.

The Cougars could also oversign, a process where they sign more than they have spots for, the player grayshirts that first fall and then joins the team the following January.

DURING THE MAY Evaluation Period, colleges are allowed one evaluation per prospect to assess athletic ability, and another evaluation to assess the prospect's academic qualifications.

Additionally, schools are allowed to place one phone call to a prospect during the period. Most schools will backload the process in order to be fresher in a prospect's mind than if they were to call at the start, and Washington State is expected to do the same.

For a few years, schools used to be able to text message without restriction and ask a prospect to give them a call at any time. Now that text messages are no longer allowed, that single phone call schools can place during the May Evaluation Period is more important than ever.

Among those Washington State has already offered scholies include QB Jesse Scroggins, OL Colin Porter, CB Joshua Shaw, RB Trajuan Briggs and dozens more. And the number of crimson full rides offered is expected to increase significantly after the May Evaluation Period and continuing into June, when the Cougars hold their summer youth camp.

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