A Leafian forecast for Connor Halliday?

THE DUST HAS settled on the 2010 recruiting cycle, but there's a little unfinished business to wrap up. It's the business of prognosticating. Sure, nothing can bite you quicker than a forecast gone wrong, but when you get right down to it, predicting the future is really what recruiting is all about. So as I look at the five in-state kids Paul Wulff signed last week my first reaction is this:

Connor Halliday could put up Ryan Leaf-type numbers by the time his Cougar career is done.

You read it here first.

There's a reason Halliday shot up from one of the top 50 prep QB prospects in the nation to No. 25. He has the frame, the arm, the confidence and athleticism to shine in the Pac-10.

Halliday compares nicely to Leaf or a less physical version of Drew Bledsoe. He threw for more than 5,000 yards and 46 touchdowns in his final two seasons aat Ferris High, so he knows how to get the ball out of his hand in a spread offense. That's what makes this match such a great fit for the Cougars. Halliday has been operating in a similar spread concept that Washington State uses, so there should be no immediate issues in making the adjustment from high school to college - other than the speed of the game.

Halliday is also a quality basketball player, so even though he loves to do his damage in the pocket he also shows some escapability under pressure. He's also very confident, which will typically lead to mistakes early as he settles into his role at WSU, but it wouldn't surprise me if he came up with Leaf-sized numbers when he's all done. He could compete right away for playing time, but his career at WSU would be enhanced greatly by a redshirt year to get settled.

Here are some thoughts on the rest of WSU's in-state signees:

Definitely looks to be the most physical of the big athletes Washington State has recruited. At 6-6-plus and 250 pounds, I expect his future will be on either the offensive or defensive lines, as he has a frame that will add pounds. My guess right now is as an interior lineman on the offensive line because he's already strong enough to be an effective blocker at the high school level, and he'll only get bigger and stronger in college. Not sure if his feet are quick enough to play on the edge, but he's nasty enough to be a very effective interior player.

Unlike Rodgers, Dunn is a more athletic 6-foot-6 player, and will rely on his feet and speed to do damage as a tight end or perhaps a defensive end. He's a very good basketball player, which says a lot about his athleticism and coordination. He's not the most physical player yet, so he'll need to work on his strength in order to avoid jams and create separation while running routes. But if he can get a hand on the ball, expect Dunn to catch it. He's also an intriguing option in the fade game down in the red zone. I suspect Dunn could be a player that does something right away, perhaps as a big WR option in the Cougars' spread game.

A prolific pass catcher, Bomber has dominated the Northwest League the past two years, and his calling card has been speed. At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Bomber will need to work on his strength to be able to avoid jams at the line of scrimmage. He didn't see a ton of speed in the league he was in, so adjusting to playing the game at a much faster clip could present a challenge. But if his past production is any indicator of future work, there is no doubt Bomber knows what to do with the ball in his hands when he gets some room to operate.

Another small-school catch, Fullington's biggest obstacle in college will simply be the speed and the power he'll be dealing with in the trenches. But if there's anyone who has the chance in this class to eventually match-up and even surpass those issues, it's him. At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Fullington is perfect as an interior offensive lineman. He moves well for a big man, but probably doesn't possess the flat-out speed and quickness to be counted on at tackle. What he does have is a nasty streak and the desire to get bigger, faster and stronger. And that can take him a long ways, especially if he's given the correct time to develop and grow as a player.

AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE subject of last week's Signing Day, if you missed Mel Kiper's national breakdown on ESPN Radio you missed out. Kiper, the long-time talent guru, gushed about the work Paul Wulff did in this recruiting class.

"I think the great story (of Signing Day) is Washington State wasn't tenth in the Pac-10 ... let's give Paul Wulff credit here. He's got a young football team. His best players are the freshmen and the guys he's redshirting," Kiper noted. "He's going to get Washington State back up there. Washington State -- the Cougars out in Pullman -- that's always been an outstanding program, a solid program, exciting football, stars in the NFL .... Overall, to see Washington State ranked, I think, sixth in the Pac-10, that's a story right there."

To listen to his complete rundown, CLICK HERE. The WSU portion of the conversation starts at about the 2:30 mark.

Cougfan Top Stories