Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 2/10

YOU HAVE TO HAND it to Paul Wulff. When it comes to discipline, he gives guys second chances, but if those are squandered he doesn't hesitate to do the right thing. No matter the cost. On a team hungry for wins, it would be tempting to look the other way when a starter steps in it. Not Wulff. Earlier this week he dismissed 11-game starting corner Brandon Jones from the team. He's not the first.

At least four other prime-time contributors left the program under a cloud in the last year-plus. Jones' departure is softened somewhat by the news that Daniel Simmons, who broke his leg this past season, is now 100 percent. He was dubbed the best corner on the team last year before his injury.

Another bit of great news on the injury front is that quarterback Jeff Tuel, who went down with a knee late in the season, is also 100 percent. For the promising sophomore-to-be, an off-season of serious lifting -- coupled with the mountain of reps he'll get in spring ball -- is nothing less than invaluable.

Speaking of Wulff, some message boarders have taken issue with the news that he gave Woodinville lineman Maxx Forde a deadline by which to decide whether he wanted to accept WSU's scholarship offer. Forde subsequently verbaled with the Cougs, but then called WSU the night before LOIs were to be signed to announce that he was heading to Idaho instead. The ensuing criticism of Wulff is way off base.

Why? Because WSU had been recruiting Forde for months and months and they needed to move on through their target list if he wasn't going to commit.

It's not like Forde hadn't been telling recruiting services since way back in March he was about ready to commit to the Cougs. Yet here he was just before Christmas, still having not made up his mind.

Mind you, Forde is not an Erick Dargan type of prospect. For Dargan, you wait and work as long as needed. But those types of recruits are the exception, not the rule. Forde has the feet, frame and genes to make him intriguing, but he's not the type of clear-cut talent you cross your fingers on. He's more of a long-term project.

Pac-10 schools can't and don't let long-term projects string them along because time is simply too short. That's why Wulff finally gave Forde a deadline in December -- December, mind you, not September or October.

It's early in the 2011 recruiting process, but right now it looks like Bishop Sankey, the star running back from Gonzaga Prep who already has committed verbally to WSU, could be one of the highest-rated WSU recruits in years. just came out with its initial top 150 for 2011 and Sankey is rated the 138th overall prospect in the nation. He's already been accorded 4 stars and is pegged the 20th best running back prospect in the land.

In the just-signed WSU recruiting class, Aaron Dunn was rated the 200th overall national prospect and No. 9 among tight ends. Memories fade, but Michael Bumpus is believed to be the most-touted Cougar signee in the last decade. In 2004 he was a first-team "Best in the West" selection and rated among the 15 top receiver prospects in the nation. He initially verballed with Pete Carroll and USC but switched directions when the Trojans asked him to grayshirt after they had nabbed Dwayne Jarrett, the No. 1 wideout prospect in the nation that year.

With only three weeks to put a recruiting class together, brand new Montana head coach Robin Pflugrad did something smart: He stuck with what and who he knew. The one-time WSU assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator and former Oregon assistant signed seven players from the state of Washington; a transfer from Oregon (DT Tonio Celotto); Troy Bienemann's cousin Alex Bienemann of Denver (Plfugard was Troy's position coach at WSU); and quarterback Jordan Johnson of Eugene's Sheldon High (the same school that Pflugrad's son Aaron hraduated from.)

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