VERBAL: Cougs land uber-athlete

THE SEASON OPENER SHOWED that while Washington State has improved, the Cougars need to infuse the program with more athleticism to reach their goals. A verbal commitment by one of the official visitors in Pullman over the weekend was a good sized step in that direction.

Asante Cleveland is Pullman-bound.

"It was just the whole vibe there," said Cleveland. "The atmosphere during the game, everyone was just so pumped up. Those fans are passionate about the Cougars. And I want to be a part of that.

Cleveland becomes the 9th known verbal commitment in the 2010 WSU class. The others are WR Blair Bomber, athlete Brandon Golden, QB Connor Halliday, TE Aaron Dunn, DE/OL Jake Rodgers, OT John Fullington, cornerback Matt Simmons and DB Damante Horton.

Cleveland (6-5, 235, 4.7) out of Sacramento's Christian Brothers High, said spending time with the WSU coaching staff was a key consideration for him in making the call.

Paul Wulff said last year one of his recruiting focuses is to go back and re-mine the Sacramento area because the Cougs had ignored it for far too long. The verbal commitment of Cleveland is evidence of the renewed crimson push.

Cleveland's parents accompanied him on the trip to Pullman.

"They liked it from the beginning, back during my unofficial visit over the summer. They were already sold on Washington State," said Cleveland.

Prior to his trip to Washington State, Cleveland had said he might want to continue to look around after making a decision. That's no longer the case.

"I'm sold. Washington State is where I want to be. Washington State is the best program for me and I don't need to go anywhere else and look around because I've already found what I want, " said Cleveland.

CLEVELAND IS A versatile, very athletic tight end prospect. He's rated the No. 62 TE in the nation by and two stars.

His athleticism is such that he could even be flexed out wide at the next level, getting a match-up on a smaller DB. Some schools were also talking to him about using that speed and athleticism on the defensive line.

CLEVELAND WAS NAMED all-conference after his junior season, with 21 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

He also showed good blocking skills in the trenches last season. Playing part-time on defense in '08, he logged two sacks and a deflected pass at defensive end.

A three sport athlete who stars in basketball and track for Christian Brothers, he's also got quite a football gene pool. His father, Allen, played football at Arizona State.

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