A look at Cougar QB recruiting

A LOOK INSIDE Washington State's quarterback recruiting in this 2011 cycle shows that the Cougars have turned their focus toward Jimmy Laughrea, a Californian who tells us there's not a whole lot of difference between him and the Golden State's golden prospect, Cody Kessler.

Speaking of the 6-2, 225-pound Kessler, Wazzu was the first Pac-10 school to offer him back in February. Since then, six more Pac-10 schools have followed their lead, he's now approaching nearly 20 offers overall. The 6-2, 187-pound Laughrea, meanwhile, emerged late this spring following an injury and the Cougars became the first Pac-10 school to offer him as well.

"Their first QB offer was to Cody Kessler and then they went to their 1A quarterback, which was me. Hey, even me, as a coach, I would go for the bigger kid, obviously. So I wouldn't be dogging on them for going first after the bigger kid, not at all," laughed Laughrea about Washington State.

But although he gives away some thickness here in his junior year, that doesn't mean Laughrea, out of Rocklin, Calif., thinks he takes a back seat to Kessler out on the field, nor to any other Class of '11 quarterback in California for that matter.

"The main difference between me and Cody Kessler is weight -- he weighs a good 30-40 pounds heavier than me," said Laughrea. "...And I definitely think I have just as good of arm strength as Cody Kessler and Kyle Boehm. Those are the two kids that have all the offers in California.

"But at the Elite 11 and the Stanford thing, in my opinion, I was definitely hanging with them."

AT THE Stanford NIKE camp, Laughrea competed alongside Boehm, (who just committed to Cal yesterday), out of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), as well as others. And it was Laughrea who took home the MVP award from that NIKE camp. As for intangibles, he said WSU offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy mentioned to him the WSU offer was in good part due to his competitiveness.

"And they like that I also have really good grades, that too helps at a D-I college. Both my parents are teachers so I've been brought up--there were times when B's were considered bad grades," said Laughrea.

HIS SHOWING AT the NIKE event and the May Evaluation visits by college coaches to Rocklin High has resulted in more schools turning his way. In addition to the WSU offer he holds others from Wyoming and Utah State while Boise State, Arizona and Washington have recently begun "talking seriously" with him, as was Cal before Boehm's verbal yesterday.

BSU signed 2010 TE Holden Huff out of Rocklin this past February and Laughrea said he may attend their summer camp, and that the idea of playing with his tight end in college is an intriguing notion. Rocklin is about 25 minutes outside of Sacramento, but it's not historically been a high traffic path for college recruiters. That's changed this year, with Laughrea saying every Pac-10 school has already stopped by.

"They're looking for a guy who is also a mobile quarterback," Laughrea said of Washington State. "I see myself as a guy who passes first but I can also definitely run the ball when it comes down to it...If I did go there, I would be competing for a starting spot my redshirt freshman year with how the quarterbacks (classes) shape up. You can't get better than that, that would be awesome."

LAUGHREA AS A junior was 157 of 287 passing for 2,635 yards, with 22 TDS against nine interceptions. he had 43 carries for 383 yards, an average of nearly nine years a pop.

Laughrea was injured towards the end of last season, breaking his left, non-throwing arm in the fourth quarter of the win in SJS D-II title game (and missed the CIF Division II state championship bowl game, a 33-30 loss) and is only now starting to be able to work out without limitation. As his NIKE MVP performance illustrates, he's making up for lost time.

Jimmy Laughrea profile

WSU has also offered Trent McKinney, a 6-0, 192-pounder out of Mililani, Hawaii. McKinney is a highly versatile player, and could likely play any number of positions at the next level, including quarterback.

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