Who would have thought it was possible, but the rumblings are now true.
First, some background. In late 2003 – early 2004, there was a fierce recruiting battle waged between UW and WSU regarding 4 tremendous players from Ballard High School. QB Cole Morgan, OL Tyler Ashby, running back J.T. Diederichs and finally, the best of them all, Parade All-American safety Keauntea Bankhead. The Cougs and Dawgs split them right down the middle, with Morgan and Diederichs signing with the Cougs, while Ashby and Bankhead going with UW. Bankhead was really torn, and only in the very end did he commit to UW, some have said mainly because his parents really wanted him there, and his sister was a soccer player at UW.
In the signing day analysis, UW was said to have come out in better shape as not only was Ashby the #2 or #3 lineman in the state, along with Aaron Klovas (Oregon) and Andy Roof (WSU), but Bankhead was widely considered the #1 prospect in the state. Great size at 5-11, 210, speed (4.5) and hits like a truck, Parade all-american, basically every honor you can get, along with Matt Tuiasosopo.
Well, funny how things change. If you recall, Bankhead and Diederichs both failed to qualify, while Morgan grey-shirted and Ashby red-shirted at UW. So, both kids went to Dixie JC in Utah. When Willingham took over, Bankhead tried to call him to chat with the new coach and talk about the future, as he was still 100% committed and excited about the change. The problem?? Willingham wouldn’t return his calls! This had been rumored for a while, the last month at least, that Willingham was abandoning almost all kids that hadn’t qualified in the past and has a real thing about only getting kids that are qualified immediately. It was floated at Dawgman.com and Cougfan.com by the writers that there was real fire to the story.
Finally, today, the P-I caught up with Bankhead in Utah. What did he say?? It should bring a smile to your face to know that not only with J.T. Diederichs be coming to Pullman in one more year, but SO WILL BANKHEAD! What a great get this is. The headline says it all: “Ballard star DUMPS UW for WSU”. Check it out: