How exactly did we win last year??

This just in – Vince Young is AMAZING. I don’t know if you watched much of that Rose Bowl, but this guy is scary. Did you know he nearly ran for 1,000 yards starting only 6 games last year? I guess our Coug D was really special in 2003, because when you watch that game from last year, we had him confused and scared. I think the biggest difference between last year’s bowl game and this year’s Rose Bowl is that Vince Young can actually throw the ball down the field too! Not great, mind you, but just enough to keep the D honest. All that said, this guy is a 6-5, 250lb Michael Vick, pure and simple. The 16-for-28 with a TD and 180 yards passing is good enough with a power-running team like Texas, but man, 200 yards rushing and 4 TD’s on the ground???? Unbelievable. Even when Michigan knew it was coming, they had no answer. He is strange to watch, kind of, based on his size, because he just doesn’t look like he’s all that fast in the open field. Then you see him blowing right by defenders that go from having the angle on him to suddenly being 3-4 yards behind him, and it’s a sight to be seen. What a player!

Not a whole lot new on our Cougs. The Cali-Florida all-star game was over the weekend, and 4-star DT WSU recruit Fevaea’i Ahma was REALLY good. 6-1, 300 lb whirling dervish is the way one described him watching the game. One scout’s take:

“Looks to be 6’1 and about 300….is very low to the ground and very quick. Is in on most run plays and is a real threat for QB sacks. At times he can destroy blocking schemes with quickness and strength. Great looking attitude. Very coachable and loves the game.”

How can you not like that?? 100 tackles and 12 sacks from the D-tackle position his senior year, with at least one sack in 7 out of 10 games. At the Nike camp at UCLA last summer, the quote was “Honestly, no one looked better than AhMu who was as hard to block as his name is to pronounce.”

Cougs are also in on another Texas linebacker, KJ Ellis. Looks to be a solid kid (here’s the article, although it might have been free last week?):

THE LINEBACKER SPOT is a position of emphasis for the Cougs this recruiting season, one of the top needs numbers-wise for the 2005 class. One who might very well fit the bill is K.J. Ellis, a Texas ‘backer who sheds would-be blockers, defends the run extremely well and has a nose for the football on special teams.

K.J. Ellis has not yet been offered by the Cougs. However, he has oft-mentioned his interest in the Washington State program. That interest looks to be mutual.

Washington State will head down to Texas and visit with Ellis next week after his school returns from the Christmas break. New Mexico, Colorado and SMU have offered the 6-2, 200-pound linebacker this recruiting season.

Depending on what takes place when WSU comes for the in-home, Ellis could have a new leader by the time the visit wraps. Or if the Cougar visit should come with an offer.

“The situation might change drastically should that be the case,” laughed Ellis. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Colorado recently postponed Ellis’ scheduled official trip after receiving a verbal commitment from a wide receiver, telling Ellis they needed to now focus on offensive linemen as their class is filling up. However, Colorado still remains an option — that WR has since de-committed from Colorado and verballed to Kansas.

“I’m just waiting on the situation with Colorado to see what they might do,” said Ellis, who on his official trip to New Mexico, measured in at 6-2, 200-pounds. Actually, 198-pounds to be precise.

“I fluctuate right around the area of 200,” he laughed.

The visit to New Mexico itself went well with the Arlington, Texas, native just wanting to wait and see what might be in store from Washington State and Colorado.

“It was nice. The football team had great chemistry. You could tell everybody was real close…I had fun overall. I just really want to make sure what all the other situations are before I make my decision.”

LINEBACKERS ARE the key to any good special teams unit, an area WSU will be looking to improve upon in ’05.

Scott Davis, Pat Bennett and Steve Dildine, to name but a few, are linebackers who starred on special teams on their way to earning starting positions. Ellis could be a player who follows in that role.

Ellis, a true student of the game, had an opportunity on a previous in-home with Washington State to meet with coaches Bill Doba and Leon Burtnett and break down some of his game film.

“I’ve already met with coach Doba. My recruiting coach is coach Burtnett, the linebackers coach — real nice guy. I got a chance (last time) to actually sit down and watch film with them. That was great, I love watching film…They’re real smart guys and just “football guys” and that’s what I like. I’m just somebody who loves football, period. I love to play the game and I love to watch it so we had a great time talking.”

AS A JUNIOR, Ellis racked up 75 tackles on his way to earning first team All-District honors. In his senior season, also a first team-All District campaign, he eclipsed that mark by Week 9, finishing with 101 sticks during the ’04 year.

Ellis showed versatility during his senior season, playing three defensive positions for Lamar — strong side linebacker, strong safety and weak side rover.

As is the case with many good athletes, Ellis grew up playing quarterback before shifting to defense — it’s served him well when reading an offense. More than that, Ellis just has great instincts out on the gridiron. He has an innate ability to shed the block and knife through to the ballcarrier. And it might not necessarily show up on a forty time, but Ellis plays fast on the football field — he has “football speed”, with a very good burst and closing speed.

Ellis is aggressive out on the gridiron, one of those guys that really packs a punch — one that belies his current 200-pounds. And he still has some room to fill out on his 6-foot-2 frame.

Notes:

K.J. stands for KaJean Jackson.

K.J.’s dad, Kelly Jackson, was a running back at the Air Force Academy.

Ellis was a two-time All District first team selection on defense.

A team captain for Lamar, Ellis carries a 3.0 core GPA and scored an 1170 on the SAT.