Cougs offer 4 from same Calif. high school

THINK WASHINGTON STATE is intent on maintaining, and furthering, their strong recruiting presence in the Sacramento area under Paul Wulff? The Cougars' head man didn't quite match former coach Mike Price, who once offered seven Long Beach Poly players, but Wulff in a single day earlier this month extended offers to four -- count 'em, four -- prospects at a one Sacramento-area high school.

CF.C talked to coaching icon Mike Alberghini, who has enjoyed tremendous success at Grant for 41 years, for insight. The four Grant High players who received scholie offers from WSU earlier this month are:

WSU brings renewed recruiting focus to Sacramento area under Wulff
WASHINGTON STATE HAS throughout its gridiron history mined the Sacramento region for football talent. In recent years, however, WSU did not canvas Grant and the Sacramento area with quite the same brush strokes, said Alberghini.

Since arriving at WSU, Wulff has made the region, along with the Bay Area, one of his California recruiting centerpieces. Wulff is from the area, having starred at Davis High during his prep days, and Alberghini has known Wulff for more than 25 years.

"I knew of him back when he was at Davis," said Alberghini. "At one time, when I first started, we had kids who had gone through the Washington State program but somehow, that just kind of slid away. But now we're coming back to that and I think that's good.

"Washington State, it's a good area for kids to grow in and if some of the kids decide to go there, I think they're going to be great additions to their team."

The list of notable Grant alums includes WR Donte Stallworth, RB Onterrio Smith, LB Worrell Williams, CB Syd-Quan Thompson and DT Christian Tupou (DT). Alberghini said WSU 2010 class signee and running back Devontae Butler-Booker, if he works hard, has a chance to make a good-sized impact at Washington State. Might he be only the beginning of a WSU-Grant pipeline?

"I think Devontae is a great start for them," said Alberghini. "He could be a great addition to their team. And I think they've looked at the kids in our program, saw the success of the kids who have left over the last 4-5 years."

DE Faigame Lopa (6-2.5, 250) -- "He can run extremely very well. He was the area leader in sacks (in '09) and is a guy who plays with a really big motor. He's probably the meanest of the group. He plays really, really hard. They all play well, but he's the one with the motor." (Goes by "Puka")

DT Viliami Moala, (6-3.5, 330) -- "He was the California junior player of the year. He's a 450-pound bench presser and a great athlete."

LB Darryl Paulo (6-3, 240) -- "He played as a sophomore on the varsity team (as did Moala and Lopa), some defense and mostly offense. Last year they were all two way starters. Darryl's about a 340-pound bench presser, runs about a (legit) 4.8. He had never played linebacker before but he was a really good inside linebacker by the end of the year."

FS James Sample, (6-3, 190) -- "He's a three sport athlete -- football, basketball and track. Last year as a sophomore he ran a 10.9 in the 100 meters...He's starting to get stronger in the weight room and because (he plays three sports) it's the first time in his life he's really started to invest time in weights. He's starting to show remarkable changes."

All four are likely to project on defense at the next level, said Alberghini.

"Each is a little bit different. They all were All-City, All-Northern California, All-Section. Our players are all going to be qualifiers. They're a good package of kids and we're very happy to have them," said Alberghini.

THE GRANT FOURSOME watched Wulff sign their teammate Butler-Booker, who rushed for 45 TDs and nearly 3,000 yards as a senior, after everyone else had passed. (The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month his academic outlook has much improved as he's "worked tirelessly to improve his academic standing after a rocky freshman season.")

And offering the four seniors-to-be in the 2011 class on the same day has also made an impression on the quartet, said Alberghini.

"I think the uniqueness of four kids from one team, who are really good friends, offered by the same school, I think that may have some merit down the way," he said.

Grant traveled up to Seattle this past year and shut out state powerhouse Bellevue, 14-0. Butler-Booker rushed for 132 yards in the win.

Keep an eye out for Shaquille Thompson, a 6-1.5, 190-pound sophomore who will be part of the 2012 class and could develop into a national-type recruit. The brother of Syd-Quan Thompson, Shaquille ran a 10.9 in the 100-m as a freshman. "We're expecting really big things out of him," said Alberghini. Shaquille ably played RB, WR, LB and CB this past season and may be Grant's QB for 2010.

The Cougs offered QB Cody Kessler out of Bakersfield this past week. Kessler, (6-2, 205) is scheduled to compete next month at the Badger/New Level 7-on-7 Camp in Las Vegas.

Cougfan Top Stories