AS SIGNING DAY surprises go, this one ranks right up there with Michael Bumpus going crimson in 2004 when most of the Western world though he was USC-bound. WSU pulled another shocker today with the signing of C.J. Mizell, the No. 5 strongside linebacker in the nation a year ago who turned down Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier in order to sign with Bobby Bowden.

Now, through one of the most circuitous routes you'll ever find, the Tallahassee Kid is headed to Pullman.

C.J. Mizell, who was forecast to see immediate playing time for the Seminoles this past season, ran into academic hurdles and didn't make it into school. He sat out 2009 to get academic needs taken care of, and as of press time there is no word on whether that work is fully completed or not.

At any rate, he was under the proverbial radar all fall. And then when Bowden was forced out at FSU, Mizell effectively became a free agent on no one's radar.

So when WSU staff put feelers out to friends around the country who might have some new leads on linebacking prospects for the Cougs, the unlikely union of Ol' Wazzu and the 4-star prospect from the heart of SEC country was underway.

One thing led to another -- including some reconassiance work by CouGreat (and Florida native) Devard Darling. And now Mizell has signed on the dotted line with WSU.

"Mizell has good size at 6-3 and 215 pounds. It is not just his build that makes him a great player, but the athletic ability and football prowess that he adds to it. Mizell has great speed for his position," writes Richie Barnes of "While his time in the 40 yard dash is not the best (4.68 during junior year in high school), he has very good lateral movement and is ‘football fast'. He also has a knack for finding the ball carrier and bringing him down, an attribute that is necessary for all collegiate linebackers.

As a prep senior at Leon High in Talhassee in 2008, Mizell recorded 113 total tackles (87 solo) with 26 of them tackles for loss and 12.5 of them sacks. He was honored with 4A first-team All-State honors and was a finalist for the first high school Butkus Award. He did not play ball his junior season for unspecified off-field problems at his previous high school in Georgia.

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