What they're saying

WITH THE DUST settled on the 2003 recruiting season, we asked several people in the know to put their assessments on the newest class of Crimson Soldiers.

From former Cougar All-American Paul Sorensen who moonlights as a pundit on Fox Sports Northwest, as a columnist for CF.C and as secondary coach at Lewis & Clark High in Spokane:
   "This is the classic Cougar class. There are some big-time kids intermixed with athletic guys like Paul Stevens, Scott Selby, Ropati Pitoitua and Jon Conlin who passed under the radar of most of the Pac-10. I really like what they did with the offensive line --- it could be the best group in the nation --- and think Keola Loo could step right in as a starting center this season. I also like the fact most every kid who committed to WSU before Mike Price left for 'Bama stayed with the Cougars -- that's a testament to their character and to the powerful draw that the Cougar program is becoming. I love Christian Bass at DB, and can't help but think Alex Brink is going to prove to be manna from heaven --- that kid has what it takes to be a big-time QB in this conference."

From Jack Evans, Cougfan.com recruiting coordinator:
"This class is fast and athletic at DB/WR, tall, big and agile in the trenches. And there appears to be only a couple of question marks on the academic front. As always at WSU, this group won't draw any national praise, but I think Bill Doba and his staff should be quite pleased with the kids they brought in."

From Greg Biggins, recruiting guru at PacWestFootball.com:
   "I like the players the Cougars have brought in and think the class of offensive linemen is especially strong."

From Chris Fetters, Northwest recruiting coordinator for TheInsiders.com:
   "The Cougs suffered a little bit because of the transition from Price to Doba -- they weren't able to capitalize on the early momentum they had after getting verbal commits from studs like Christian Bass, Bobby Byrd, Russell Foster and Aaron Johnson. But Doba was able to get things righted really well, getting late commits from a solid QB in Alex Brink, a super DT in Tolifili (Andre) Liufau and Chris Bruhn, a JC bounceback that could be the next great WSU tailback.
"As far as stacking up against the rest of the Pac-10, they are in the lower third, but that has to do with the Price-Doba transition and the phenomenal years USC, Cal, ASU and Washington had. The Cougs filled some needs, picked up a fantastic offensive line class and also got an impact skill guy in Bruhn."

What Mike Price would say if he were still head coach of the Cougars ( we know, because Mike said the same thing every year on LOI day):
   "This class has the chance to be as good as any we've had in my time at WSU."

From Pat Mitchell, Cougfan.com's cuddly curmudgeon:
    "Ask me in four years, then I'll give you some insights that actually mean something."


  • Of the 16 prep and JC players expected to sign letters of intent with the Cougars, only two had yet to come in when we posted this story: OL Keola Loo and DT Tolifili Liufau (though they are expected in by day's end). Another member of the class, QB/Punter Kyle Kendrick of Mt. Vernon is coming to Pullman on a baseball scholarship so wasn't expect to sign an LOI today.

  • Aaron Wagner, a member of the Cougars' 2000 recruiting class, doesn't have to sign another LOI because he's simply been away on a Mormon mission. He'll be back in Pullman in August.

  • Three Cougar signees from a year ago who grayshirted this past season -- Wes Rainwater, Aaron Ware and Matt Mullenix -- count toward current class of recruits. All three are already enrolled at WSU.

  • Division I schools are allowed to have 85 players on scholarship and can dole out no more than 25 in a single year.

  • People in the know from Pullman and Kent, Carl Bonnell's hometown, say that the one-time Cougar grayshirt QB decided to transfer to Washington after watching Chris Hurd (a sophomore in 2003) and Josh Swogger (a second-year freshman in '03) spend most of last fall turning heads with their outstanding play behind center. Bottom line, said one observer, "Carl is no dummy. He saw himself stuck on the bench for four years when he can contend for the Huskies' starting job in 2004 after Cody Pickett's gone."

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