Class of ’05 is now signed

Looks like it’s pretty much over now. 20 signees now reported, and with the 3 holdovers from last year (Michael Willis, Cole Morgan and Benny Ward), that puts us at 23, which is what we were expecting.

No huge shocks, more a sense of relief that these kids put pen to paper. Other than the DB, Marlon Wood, no real last-second “turncoats” either (but Wood was always a shaky, soft verbal as they say.).

The two headliners, of course, would be Ahmu, the monster D-tackle, and Hall at QB. Here’s a few mug shots of the newest headliners. Nice to put a face with a name:

Hall Ahmu Trent Alfred Danzy Willis

There were some rumors the last 2 days that Ahmu was wavering in his commitment and Oklahoma supposedly came hard after him in the last few weeks, but he said no thanks.

Here’s a link to the list:

http://wsucougars.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020205aaa.html

Interesting in that ESPN.com updated their QB rankings, and guess who’s in the top 10 now??

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/news/story?id=1825708

That’s right, Arkelon Hall is now 7th in the nation as a QB prospect, which is pretty damn impressive. For what it’s worth, the only other QB we recruited that rated as highly?? Try Mark Rypien in the early-80’s from Shadle Park! Even Bledsoe and Leaf weren’t this high (but they were very close, both around #10). Rypien was the #5 guy when he signed.

A few days ago Michael wrote that in another year, the Cougs should think long and hard about playing Hall over Brink. At first I scoffed at the idea, given the massive improvement Brink showed at the end of the year (winning at UCLA and beating UW is never easy, and he played great in those games), but man, a top-10 talent like Hall, if he shows he has the brains to go with the ability we’ve seen on video, well, we could be looking at one hell of a player. I know this, though, with Swogger, Brink, Hall and Cole Morgan, we are stacked at QB for the next several years!

The other thing on Hall? Those video clips are actually from his JUNIOR season, and it’s been said he’s gotten even stronger and better this year. That WR from the videos, #4, is a UCLA signee named Breazell. He was a senior last year. The buzz on Hall was that he didn’t quite have the arm strength for the big time, but this last year at all the camps he “blew the field away” with his arm strength! The sharks came out of the woodwork to recruit him, but in a now-famous interview last year at the EA Sports Elite 11 QB camp, where he was MVP, he donned a WSU hat and WSU workout shirt. When asked if he was opening himself up to other schools even though he had committed to WSU, he said “Do you see my hat? Do you see my shirt? I’m a Cougar and a man of my word.” So there you go!

On another front, looks like that WR USC signee, Derrick Jones, is off the board now. He was the guy who was scheduled to visit Pullman this weekend, but today he signed with Oregon. Oh well, you win some (Bumpus), you lose some.

One more thing to consider – as everyone hangs their hats on “star” ratings for prospects, the more you hear about them, the more they are pretty much bogus. The reality on stars, as I read from Chris Fetters at Dawgman, is very inaccurate. The problem is these analysts/guru’s, as diligent as they are, just do NOT have a chance to scout and/or watch quality video on a lot of these guys. The vast majority of the time they are either guessing based on stories they hear from coaches and people who have watched the kids play plus look at their stats, but it’s really difficult for them to form a strong opinion to tell who’s a player and who’s not.

Now, that’s not to say the stars are worthless. They are usually spot-on when it comes to the super-high echelon of talent, like Reggie Williams, Reggie Bush, etc. I mean these guys usually know the amazing talent when they see it. But, take for example, a 2-star kid? I found out that doesn’t mean a middle-of-the-road player. That usually means that they just haven’t evaluated the kid enough. Once the kids either verbal or sign with a Pac-10 school, they will do more homework on them and adjust their rating accordingly.

But, it seems they are more famous on guys that they missed on huge (Long, Trufant, Coleman, Derting, etc). So, when the WSU class is ranked in the low-40’s this week based on “star power”, don’t worry about it! Like Michael has said, this is the fastest class in school history, and with our staff, you know they’ll get “coached up”. You can’t coach speed! Give that staff some of the raw ability that’s coming, and look out!

Another thing I like about this class? The number of freshman that were recruited. You always build programs by getting the frosh enrolled and redshirted, and then when they are ready to play they get out there with a lot of eligibility. I’m a little down on the JC route unless they must have a quick fix, such as a guy like Donnie Jackson a few years ago when the middle was in dire need of a player. I’m especially happy to see that we didn’t go the JC route for running back! We’ve done that just too much lately, and the results are mixed at best. Jermaine Green was fabulous for about 1/2 of 1 season, 2002, but was injury plagued and basically a bad seed. Chris Bruhn had his moments, but he was a stiff towards the end of this year when so much was expected. I love Jerome Harrison, but it took him what, 4 or 5 games before he really got going? Once he did, look out, but now he’s only got 1 year left to play and he’s gone. So to get some talented, fast, physical players like Woolridge and Tardy right out of the high school level, that’s a nice change for us and maybe we’ll have the luxury of depth in the near future at a position we always seem so thin??

Finally, yes, Jonathan Stewart signed with Oregon today. No surprise. BUT, there are a couple of major websites floating a rumor today about a “prominent west coast team that created an actual contract with a high-profile running back with a promise of number of touches and guarantees about playing time as a true freshman.” Both CBS Sportsline and ESPN had their recruiting guys mention it in either an article or a chat. Hmmmm…..Stewart was waxing on and on about the number of touches he was told he’ll get at Oregon right before he committed…..makes you wonder about the real character of that kid, IF true?? Seriously though, I don’t care how good he is, you can’t do that with a frosh RB! What kind of a message does that send? More mess than it’s worth. No thanks.