First, a really quick stadium update from the source.
1) The plan is nearly official at this point. The biggest change cosmetically will be the building upon the student side of the field, basically they will build up and behind that side, creating more seats and in a move that follows the Beavs, a “donors club” type facility. All students will be moved down and spread out over the entire side, leaving the upper sections open to season tickets. This new seating will happen NEXT year, by the way, opening up another $900K of additional revenue per year. They have no doubt that they will sell the extra seats made available by the move. Other improvements will of course be to the facilities, such as bathrooms, concessions, etc.
2) The “silent” phase is well under-way in fund-raising. It has gone EXTREMELY – I repeast – EXTREMELY well! Better than they thought. However, they will NOT go public with fund-raising efforts until $30 million is raised privately, leaving another $27 million to the rest of the donors.
3) V Lane did in fact stand up and say at a big meeting a few weeks ago, “our academics have been reviewed and we are first-class. Our research has been reviewed and we are first-class. Our facilities have been reviewed, and we are NOT first-class. We MUST get this stadium upgrade done, period, or else the odds increase every day that we will no longer be a member of the Pac-10.” The mandate has come down from the Pac-10, get that stadium improved, or else.
4) Paul Allen was in Pullman last weekend. He brought a group of 25 to the game, and was very nice, very approachable to all. He even hung out at the Page on Friday night, throwing down some beer. He has officially said no to the stadium fund-raising, by the way. Too bad.
We’re still years away from the upgrades. Probably will all take place after the 2008 season, with everything done by kickoff of 2009. If the fund-raising goes as better than hoped, it’s at least possible they could break ground after 2007 in time for the 2008 season, but it’s doutful right now.
Now, on recruiting the first few years of the new millenium. I just thought it was interesting to look back and see the players and the thoughts of these players coming in. What’s most interesting is how many “misses” there were in ’01, yet in ’02, they recruited several starters on today’s team. I guess it’s true, if you are winning, you’ll get quality kids. If you are losing? Well, the odds are you’ll keep losing!
Check it out:
Class of 2001 (following the 4-7 2000 season):
QB: Chris Hurd: QB; 6’3, 185; Deer Valley, CA (Deer Valley); 1772yds and 28 touchdowns (23 passing & 5 rushing) against 3 interceptions in season slowed by knee injury; considered top QB prospect in Northern California; mobile with strong arm; Long Beach Press Telegram 2 votes out of 10 Best in the West; TNT Western 100; SuperPrep Farwest
CougZone Says: Hurd style-wise is like a slightly taller Jason Gesser – a mobile guy who can throw the ball. Hurd was slowed by a knee injury during his senior season which led to a lot of schools backing off him while WSU stayed tight. Hurd recovered from the knee, and went on to have an outstanding season. The fact that Hurd was considered one of the best QB prospects in the west says a lot considering the strength of the western QBs in 2000. Hurd will certainly redshirt and then get a chance to crack the depth as a redshirt freshman. GRADE: A
RB: CougZone Says: Well, geez. The Cougs signed Jimmy Wilson, Roger Smith, and Dwayne Wright in this class. Smith never showed. Wright didn’t make grades, went to JC, and is scheduled to enroll in August 2003. Wilson enrolled, ran into a depth logjam, was asked to move positions and decided to leave. Considering that as of January 2003, the sum total of this class is zero, the grade ain’t gonna be good. GRADE: F
WR: Trandon Harvey: WR; 6′, 175, 4.4 forty; National City, CA (Sweetwater); intelligent prospect looking to major in sports medicine; 1999 – league MVP, all-state, all-CIF, 77 catches for 1789yds and 19 TDs; played most of his senior season out of position at RB due to team injuries; considered one of the top WR prospects in California; Prepstar all-region; SuperPrep Farwest; all league, all area, all state; 49 catches, 1000+ yds, 13 TDs despite splitting time at RB
Marty Martin: WR; 5’11, 170; 4.5 forty; Puyallup, WA (Puyallup); good speed in state prospect; 1999 – 24 catches, 446yds (18.6 avg), 4 TDs in 9 games played. Martin attended the WSU football camp over summer and impressed the coaches with his hands as well as his developing speed, recording a 4.4 forty; named Seattle Times preseason all-state; all league and all area by the TNT after finishing up the season with close to 800yds receiving on 39 catches with 13 TDs.; honorable mention AP all-state 4A; Tacoma News Tribune Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; Team MVP; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest
Tyjuan Mayfield: WR; 6′, 180; San Bernadino, CA (Eisenhower; San Bernadino CC); 2000 – 11th of California JC WRs in yards per game, avgd 6.1 receptions per game, all conference and conference’s leading receiver
Thomas Ostrander: WR; 6’2, 185; 4.6 forty; Yakima, WA (East Valley); good sized WR who creates well after the catch; considered rising sleeper among Washington state prospects; reportedly clocked a forty time as high as 4.4, named AP all-state 2A; 2000 – 43 catches, 768yds (17.9yd avg), 14 TDs; Prepstar all west; league co-offensive player of the year; all league on both sides of the ball; SuperPrep Farwest; Seattle Times Red Chip
CougZone Says: Trandon Harvey is potentially big time. Harvey can be a go-to target, has speed, and can break the big play. The Cougars might look to use him in 2001 especially if Milton Wynn is not granted another year of eligibility and no clear successor to Wynn emerges in spring. A lot will be up to Harvey come fall camp. Mayfield can probably expect to get a chance to get into the mix right away. Ostrander and Martin will probably redshirt. Martin received more attention from playing in Pierce County, but Ostrander was on the other side of the mountains quietly having a big season. Both are productive receivers who can find the endzone. All told, the Cougs addressed the position well, but no one guy stands out as an odds-on instant contributor. The Cougs may really need and miss that kind of guy if Wynn isn’t back and the existing guys don’t step up in spring. GRADE: B
TE/OL/DL: Brian Boyer: DL; 6’4, 230; Lapwai, ID (Lapwai) outstanding citizen and very impressive rising prospect; 4.0 student who hasn’t had a B since 4th grade; great attitude and work ethic and great motor on the field; considered the best prospect in the state of Idaho and is extremely athletic on the field; all league on both sides of the ball; TNT Western 100
Riley Fitt-Chappell: TE/Ath; 6’7, 240; 5.0 forty; Eagle River, AK (Chugiak); prospect from same high school as current Cougar Phil Locker; athletic prospect; Tacoma News Tribune Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; SuperPrep Farwest; all league on both sides of the ball; SuperPrep Farwest
Bryan Olson: DE/OL; 6’4, 250; Covington, WA (Kentlake); athletic and versatile player who could play on either side of the line but is being looked at primarily for defense; playing LB in high school; Olson was all league this season and also SPSL Lineman of the Year. He’s got good movement and footwork and will get his first look at DE. Depending on how he matures physically, Olson could end up on the interior line on either side of the ball; has timed a 4.8 forty; TNT, AP all state and all area; 144 tackles with 10 TFL, 5 sacks; league top D-lineman; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest; Team’s “Mr. Defense”
Adam West: TE/OL/DL; 6’6, 225; Venice, CA (Venice); all league at TE; 28 catches, 600+yds, 9 TDs CougZone Says: Around his first years at WSU, Coach Price talked about his recruiting philosophy of going after the “Top Ten Tight Ends.” Price’s theory was that big rangy guys who play TE in HS can project to play TE, O-line, DT, or DE in college depending on how they fill out and their skills. The approach goes more after athletes than guys who are necessarily going to be in one spot. WSU somehow got away from that for a couple years, but went back with a vengeance this class. West, from California, has receiving numbers that are impressive – he could be a sleeper at the TE position.
Fitt-Chappell is one of the best big athletes out of Alaska this year. Boyer and Olson will both go on the line, but it’s an open question as to where. Both can move well. Olson at 250 might project more on the O-line or at DT, while Boyer will probably get his first look at DE. All of these guys will almost certainly redshirt and have the time to hit the weights, the training table, and develop a bit. A real strong group overall: GRADE: B+
PK/P: Adam Holiday: PK; 6’3, 230; Moorpark CC, CA; JC prospect with two years to play; Holiday will likely be a kickoff only specialist for WSU as he didn’t do FGs in JC. Holiday has a strong leg and is able to get the ball into the endzone for touchbacks and also get a good hangtime
Graham Siderius: PK/P/QB; 6’2, 195; 4.6 forty; Reno, NV (McQueen); one of best placekickers and punters in the nation, but also is team’s starting QB; very athletic prospect and also a baseball standout; PrepStar All American; 1999 – as PK, all state, all conference, all area, long of 47yds and hit 8 of 11 attempts, 75% of kickoffs were touchbacks; 1200 SAT; Siderius is more than just a kicker, the guy’s an athlete as shown by his part in leading his team to the state title at QB; On the year, he was 11 of 15 on FG attempts with a long of 54yds. 82% of his kickoffs were touchbacks, and he even put one kickoff through the uprights. He could also punt for the Cougs, and averaged 42.3yds per kick.
CougZone Says: In 2000, the lack of a consistent placekicking game was one of the biggest factors in the Cougars losing three overtime games and ending up 4-7. Siderius was a vital signee to this class and will probably have the inside lane to take the starting placekicking job when he arrives in fall. As one of the best HS kickers in the nation, the Cougs will want to use him on the field right away. Holiday will very likely handle only kickoffs, and could be awarded a scholarship based on performance. Holiday has a reputation for kicking deep and getting touchbacks, and the Cougs can use that kind of leg as kickoffs last season typically fell around the opponent’s ten or fifteen yard line, setting up good returns and favorable field position. This was a big need for WSU and the need was answered. GRADE: A
DT: Norvell Holmes: DT; 6’3, 285; 5.1 forty; Bellflower, CA (St. John Bosco); first team all league junior and senior years; 1999 – team captain and co-MVP, 47 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 Int, 2 fumbles recovered; PrepStar All Far West and SuperPrep All Far West; Holmes was a Cougar signee for the class of 2000, but an academics snafu kept him from enrolling; Holmes enrolled at WSU in January and will participate in spring football
Nate Mallory: DE/DT; 6’3, 275; Kent, WA (Kentridge; City College of San Francisco); Mallory originally committed to WSU in 1997 and was on the roster for the Rose Bowl team. Grades gave Mallory trouble, and he had to transfer out. Mallory ended up playing at CCSF, starting on CCSF’s champion team; Mallory enrolled at WSU in January and will participate in spring football
CougZone Says: DT was not necessarily a position needing immediate help for WSU. For the first time in a while, the Cougs return depth and experience at DT and will want to see players already on the roster step up. Holmes was a high school standout who will get a chance to participate in spring football after grayshirting due to some academics holdups. He will likely redshirt and get a chance to break into the depth next year. Age and experience make Mallory a good prospect to compete to get on the field in fall, and spring practice will help Mallory adjust to being a Cougar again. Depending on WSU’s needs, Mallory could project either inside at DT – especially if he can mount a penetrating pass rush – or outside at DE. If Mallory becomes a sudden impact guy for WSU, it will be gravy for the Cougs. Eventually, one of the TE contenders and possibly Bryan Olson, Brian Boyer, Jason Holmes, or others could find their way to this position. GRADE: B+
DE: Charles Harris: OL/DL; 6’6, 250; Spokane, WA (Mead); Seattle Times Red Chip; athletic line prospect who could play on either side of the ball and will probably get a first look at DE; Late signee due to family’s move to Oklahoma
CougZone Says: During his press conference on Letter of Intent Day, Coach Price mentioned how much he liked the idea of Harris rushing the passer with his arms up. Harris has to be considered a player the Cougs view as someone they can develop. Due to LDS missions deferring enrollment, and players not showing, this group is thin. Consider that Harris seems destined for the O-line, and this position is downright empty. GRADE: F
LB: Patrick Bennett: LB; 6’1, 215; Forks, WA; three year starter at both RB and LB; very bright young man with a 4.0 GPA; all league 1999 and 2000; 2000 – league MVP, 1100yds rushing, 15 TDs on offense, 78 tackles and 2 sacks on defense; Bennett was named all-state by the TNT after finishing the season with 2448yds and 30 TDs on offense, and 148 tackles on defense. Bennett was also named by the TNT as their Washington Player of the Year; Bennett was named AP all-state 2A, and was also the AP 2A Player of the Year.; Bennett was named a TNT Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; SuperPrep farwest; Prepstar all west; Seattle Times Red Chip
Will Derting: LB; 6′, 205; 4.7 forty; Okanagan, WA (Okanagan); 1999 – all state at both LB and RB for single A and undefeated (13-0) state champ Okanagan, 1400yds rushing on offense, 70 solo tackles on defense; athletic player fitting into size mold of Cougar linebackers; Derting was named AP all-state 1A. Game observers have said Derting is a major sleeper who has excellent movement and is a sideline to sideline player; Prepstar All region; all league; Seattle Times Red Chip
CougZone Says: The Cougs are lucky that Bennett has Cougar blood. Bennett could be the biggest sleeper prospect of this class. He is a tough, versatile athlete who dominated his league. Bennett looks to have the tools to be another James Darling type LB for WSU. Derting probably projects as an outside ‘backer at WSU. Derting’s another small town guy who by all accounts can lay the wood and get around the field to do it. Both of these players didn’t get the high-profile recruiting attention – although Bennett started to and stuck with the Cougs – but both are very good and athletic signees who physically are exactly what WSU likes to see at linebacker. GRADE: A
DB: Jeremy Bohannon: DB/WR; 5’11, 175; 4.5; Richland, WA (Richland); very athletic prospect who could play on both sides of the ball but may project as a cornerback in college; 2000 – league co-MVP, 6 picks on defense with two going for TDs, 31 catches for 755yds and 11 TDs on offense; academically qualified; AP 4A all-state; TNT Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; on offense has 31 catches for 755yds (24.4 avg), 11 TDs; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest
Aaron Joseph: Athlete/DB; 6’2, 190; 4.5 forty; Tacoma, WA (Franklin Pierce); excellent all around athlete who also is a hoops and track standout; has played QB, DB, and WR for Franklin Pierce but likely projects as a college safety; 3.56 GPA; recruited by all Northwest schools and received some national attention; all league, all area, TNT defensive player of the year; Prepstar all west; Seattle Times Red Chip
Jevon Miller: DB; 6’1, 185; Anchorage, AK (East); Extremely athletic player who projects as a safety for WSU; standout player in his league; all league on both sides of the ball; second team all-state on both sides of the ball; hoops standout
Wes Patterson-Aumya: WR/DB; 5’11, 190; 4.4 forty; Bellflower, CA (Bellflower); regarded by the Long Beach Press Telegram as one of the best DB prospects in California; 35″ vertical leap; all-league 1998 and 1999; projects as a college safety; LBPT dream team CB; LBPT preseason Elite 18; 63 tackles, 11 passes broken up, 2 Ints
Alex Teems: DB; 5’11, 180; Carson, CA (San Pedro); all league as both CB and RB, but projects as a college cornerback; team MVP; SuperPrep Farwest
Alan Thompson: DB/RB; 5’10, 190; Sweetwater, CA (Sweetwater); Teammate of Cougar WR commit Trandon Harvey; projects as college safety; league player of the year; all league as RB; team offensive back of the year with 1400+yds, 14 TDs
CougZone Says: A look at the Cougar roster shows some building depth concerns at DB, so it was important for WSU to sign a number of cornerback and safety prospects in this class. The Cougars did just that, and really addressed the need although WSU may need to develop some of the signees over time. Bohannon is thought to be very much a sleeper prospect with the tools to be an impact player. The same goes for Joseph – a pure athlete who was dominant in his league despite playing a number of positions. Patterson-Aumya is probably the most heralded of the bunch and has great speed for a safety prospect. It’s possible that if Dwayne Wright doesn’t get a qualifying test score, Thompson could get a look at RB, the position where he drew most of his recognition in HS. Miller’s an athletic sleeper the Cougs noticed while scouting other prospects. WSU’s been pretty successful in the past with Alaska players, so… GRADE: B
In hindsight, the 2001 class produced what, 4 starters!??! Derting, Harris, Teems, and Riley Fitt-Chappell. The rest were either backups or failed to ever play a down. I had forgotten about how much hype Hurd had coming in, and how great he was on the scout team until his knee injury.
The 2002 class was much better, and when you consider that was coming off the 2001 Sun Bowl win, this might be a good indication that we were on the rise.
Joshua Swogger: QB; 6’5, 242; 4.9 forty; Youngstown, OH (Ursuline); 1999 – all league, all state with 1800yds and 15 TDs passing, 483yds and 8 TDs rushing; Swogger had a very impressive senior season and was recently named first team Ohio 4-A and Ohio 4-A Offensive Player of the Year; CBS Sports AA; 2000 – 2300+ yds, 25 TDs in leading team to state title; grayshirted and enrolled in January 2002
CougZone Says: The QB who will join with the class of 2002 is Swogger. Swogger was all-Ohio everything at QB his senior year. Recruited in the same class as equally highly touted Cougar QB Chris Hurd, Swogger greyshirted in 2001. CZ Grade: A
RB Lionel Arnold: RB; 6’1, 205; 4.5 forty; (Contra Costa CC); big, physical back averaging over 5yds per carry and 139yds per game; 2001 – 1251yds on the season with 14 TDs with defenses keying on him; 2772yds and 29 TDs in his JC career; three years of eligibility to play two Steve Dildine: RB/LB; 6’1, 205; 4.5 forty; Spanaway, WA (Bethel); very much a rising prospect playing his first season of football since the 8th grade; returning to football after racing BMX bikes competitively; can project on either side of the ball and will get a first look at RB in college; knocked out of the playoffs in the semifinals by Carl Bonnell’s Kentwood Conquerors; finished the season with 2265yds and a state record 45 TDs, 41 of them rushing.; named all area and all state by the TNT; TNT Player of the Year; named all state by the Seattle Times; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named an honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT
Jermaine Green: RB; 6’2, 225; 4.5 forty; Daytona Beach, FL (Spruce Creek; Butler CC); strong, big, fast, and physical JC prospect from Florida by way of very strong 10-2 Butler CC program in Kansas; 2001 – 1010yds (5.3yd per carry average) and 10 rushing TDs, 11 catches for 197 yds (17.9yd avg) with 2 TDs; enrolled in January
Jonathan Smith: RB; 5’9, 180; Pasadena, CA (Narbonne; Pasadena CC); smaller but fast JC RB rated the 74th JC player prospect nationally by JCFootball.com; had a huge season in helping lead PCC to a 10-1 record; set a national JC record with 2589 all purpose yards, with 2053yds rushing (over 10yds per carry average) and the rest receiving out of the backfield; named a 1st team all American JC, and was also all conference and the league offensive Player of the Year; rewrote the PCC record books, setting records for yards in a game, touchdowns in a game, total TDs, etc, etc.; In high school at Narbonne, Smith was all Los Angeles city and league MVP with 1679yds rushing (11.5yd per carry avg) and 22 TDs; all JC California
CougZone Says: Oh, my! The Cougs had an immediate impact need at RB. Graduation of David Minnich and the ugly departure of Deon Burnett in 2000 left a big hole in the lineup for 2002. Through injury or otherwise, no current Cougar back locked a claim to the job(s) in 2001. To help fill the need, the Cougs added three impressive JC backs to the mix. Jermaine Green is already enrolled and comes from JC power Butler after having a standout Florida high school career. Smith was arguably the best JC RB in the nation after the season he had in 2001. Arnold is the sleeper of the bunch. Arnold is physical and drew a lot of attention from defenses his sophomore year following an impressive freshman season. Dildine had a monster of a senior season for Bethel and has plenty of upside. He’ll probably get a first look on offense, but based on how he fills out he could grow into playing LB.
CZ Grade: A
TE Cody Boyd: TE; 6’8, 220; 4.7 forty; Ferndale, WA (Ferndale); rangy TE prospect; extremely athletic and a strong receiver with good hands; hoops standout who will have opportunity to play hoops at WSU; PacWest Football considers Boyd the #3 TE prospect in the west; pre-season all state by the Seattle Times; named all-state by the Seattle Times; named one of three Blue Chip recruits by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; named to the TNT Western 100 list; 5 votes in the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West list
Eddie Robinson: TE; 6’3, 240; Venice, CA (Venice; Tulane; Compton CC); very heavily recruited prospect out of high school as a mobile, receiving TE; was the subject of a huge recruiting war between Virginia and Tulane before signing with Tommy Bowden’s Green Wave; played one season at Tulane before transferring back to Compton CC and the west coast where he did not play; played DE and TE in high school for 11-1 Venice team and named all CIF as TE and to the SuperPrep all west team
Jesse Taylor: TE; 6’4, 238; 4.7 forty; West Hills, CA (Chaminade); Prepstar preseason All American; total package TE prospect with good speed, size, blocking skills, and hands; PacWest Football has Taylor as the #2 TE prospect in the west; named to the TNT Western 100; three votes in the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West list; all league as both TE and LB in both 2000 and 2001; father played for UCLA
CougZone Says: As far as ratings, Body, Taylor, and Robinson make this group as good or better than any group in the nation. Taylor is considered a complete package of skills while Boyd has great hands and will fill out into a very large receiving target. Robinson was a very hot prospect out of high school and will come in August to compete for the job immediately. If depth is still unclear after spring practice, Robinson’s chances of breaking into the lineup will be very good.
CZ Grade: A
WR Robert Franklin: WR; 6’3, 190; Gainesville, TX (Gainesville); big play receiver with great size and good speed who played on a running team; 2001 – led conference with 17 catches for 328yds (19.3yd avg), league co-offensive MVP; Pac-10 caliber long jumper who will probably compete in track at WSU
Sammy Moore: WR/Returns; 5’11, 175; 4.5 forty; Mesa, AZ (Bakersfield CC); highly regarded JC WR and return specialist rated #44 JC prospect overall nationally and #6 JC WR prospect nationally by JCFootball; first team all conference as freshman in 2000 and second team in 2001; highly recruited out of high school and originally signed with ASU; expected to contribute immediately as punt and kick returner
Chris Jordan: WR/DB; 6’1, 185; 4.5 forty; Kent, WA (Kentlake); standout athlete who can play on either side of the ball and also return kicks; named pre-season all state by the Seattle Times; hoops standout; received offer at WSU summer camp; named all state by the TNT; named all area by the Seattle Times; named all state by the Seattle Times; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times
CougZone Says: Sammy Moore is an impact guy by virtue of his ability to break the big play. He can do it receiving passes, punts, or kicks, which makes him potentially explosive from anywhere you can get him the ball. Franklin is a major sleeper. He has all the physical tools, but played in a league where they didn’t throw so much. Jordan’s a good combination of skills and will probably get a first look at receiver. This is a solid group, and the expected impact of Moore will help.
CZ Grade: B-
Line Troy Bienemann: DL/OL; 6’5, 260; 4.9 forty; Mountain View, CA (St. Francis); big and athletic prospect; league co-MVP as DE, 72 tackles, 1 sack; 27 catches for 313yds, 1 TD; Prepstar #5 TE on West Coast; TNT Western 100; several all-area teams; SuperPrep all west; grayshirted after suffering knee injury in late summer 2001 and joined the team in January 2002
Adam Braidwood: DE; 6’5, 225; 4.6 forty; North Delta, British Columbia, Canada (Seaquam); rising Canadian prospect who plays American rules football; named top DE at Oregon Nike Camp and attended WSU football camp where he was camp Defensive MVP; considered one of the top D-line prospects in the west with a great combination of strength, speed, and attitude; may have chance to play as a true freshman; all conference and all BC; all BC defensive MVP
Charles Harris: OL/DL; 6’6, 270; Spokane, WA (Mead); Seattle Times Red Chip; athletic line prospect who could play on either side of the ball; may get a first look on defense; greyshirted and joined the team in January 2002
Spencer Hollison: OL; 6’6, 265; 4.9 forty; Santa Margarita, CA; good sized line prospect with good technique and feet; all league in 2000; holds school record in career “de-cleaters” with 67; all league as senior; projects as tackle and protected three D-1 QB signees during high school career
Nick Milhauser: OL; 6’4, 265; Arroyo Grande, CA (Arroyo Grande); good sized line prospect named all conference as junior; as senior, named all league and all area; league lineman of the year; area lineman of the year; region lineman of the year
Matt Mullinex: LB/DE; 6’4, 235; 4.6 forty; Twisp, WA (Liberty); sleeper D-line prospect who impressed at the summer football camp with attitude, motor, and work ethic; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; all league on both sides of the ball (RB, LB); Will likely greyshirt and enroll in January 2003
Aaron Ware: DL/OL; 6’5, 230; 5.0 forty; Lacey, WA (Timberlane); two way starter at OL and DE; good pass rusher and will likely get first look on defense in college; 2000 – all league on both sides of the ball; all region; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; all league on defense as a senior with 105 tackles
CougZone Says: With this class, it seemed that Coach Price went back to his old adage of the “top ten tight ends.” Price likes to recruit the big framed athlete who can develop into any one of a number of positions. The Cougs like their O-linemen a little slender coming out of high school and like to get guys who are athletic and can move, but are still filling out. WSU got a real good player in Milhauser who has a great combination of skills. Hollison was sought after because of his ability to move and lay a big block. He also brings the experience of working with passing offenses. Mullinex will greyshirt while Harris is joining the team after greyshirting in 2001. Before he greyshirted, Harris was expected to get a first look on defense. Bienemann was impressing before a late injury prompted his greyshirt. Braidwood could get a chance to play right away. Braidwood was dominant in his league, has good skills, is quick and big enough to play now – something the Cougs may need to help depth at DE. Ware will get a good look at defense, but could transition to offense. All around, a bunch of very promising players to develop plus some possible immediate depth. Nice job recruiting to the line, an annual need.
CZ Grade: B+
LB Scott Davis: LB/RB; 6′, 205; 4.5 forty; Kennewick, WA (Kamiakin); Seattle Times preseason all state as LB; named all state by the Seattle Times; league co-defensive MVP and all league at both LB and RB; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; team and league MVP as sophomore; all league and league co-MVP as junior; team 25-7 over his three years playing
Brian Hall: LB/DE; 6’3, 220; 4.65 forty; Walla Walla, WA (DeSales); athletic and versatile prospect from strong football program; has played LB, TE, and RB in HS and could project as college LB, DE, or TE; All league in 2000 as both LB and TE; Attended WSU camp and received an offer; helped lead DeSales to the state title game; named all-state by the TNT who described Hall as a big talent in a small school; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; Washington Prep Report B-11 Player of the Year; named all area and all league
Donnie Jackson: LB; 6’1, 218; 4.7 forty; Natchez, MS (Grossmont CC); Mississippi born JC prospect by way of Grossmont CC; hard hitting, speedy and athletic LB who likely projects outside for WSU; helped lead Grossmont to 9-1 record before loss in CC bowl game to Cougar commit Johnathan Smith’s Pasadena CC team; 2001 – all conference, all state CC, 3rd team JC all American
Kevin Sperry: LB; 6’2, 225; 4.6 forty; Los Angeles, CA (North Torrance; Los Angeles Harbor CC); good sized, hard hitting player with speed rated 75th best JC player nationally overall and the 14th best LB prospect by JCFootball.com; three years of eligibility; 2001 – 12 sacks, 17 TFL, and set team record with 17 tackles in one game; all conference in 2001; named a second team JC all American, all JC California, and all league; enrolled in January
CougZone Says: Along with RB, the Cougs were looking at an immediate need at LB for 2002. Graduations leave holes, and the existing roster was looking too young and thin. The Cougs hit the need with Sperry and Jackson who will be expected to compete immediately for substantial playing time or starts. Both players are highly regarded and mobile. Physically and athletically they both fit the mold for Cougar LBs. Sperry is on campus and will make a strong claim to the start at MLB, while Jackson will come in August to lay a claim to one of the outside spots. For the future, Hall looks like a heady player who projects at MLB. Davis was a huge factor in his team’s success over the years and has a motor. If Steve Dildine ultimately makes the switch to LB from RB, this group puts some nice players in the pipeline and plugs the immediate needs.
CZ Grade: B+
DB Eric Frampton: DB; 6′, 177; 4.6 forty; San Jose, CA (Oak Grove); sleeper prospect whose senior year ended after three games due to a broken collarbone; all league as junior; projects at either safety or cornerback; named to the TNT Western 100 list
Wes Rainwater: DB/RB; 5’11, 180; 4.5 forty; Kent, WA (Kentridge); rising prospect who impressed as one of top DBs at WSU camp; considered a good cover DB and likely projects as a cornerback; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; all league and league special teams MVP
Don Turner: DB/WR; 6′, 170; 4.5 forty; Spokane, WA (University); standout player on both sides of the ball for U-High with 2 Ints on the year and a 15yd per catch receiving average; track standout who projects as a college safety; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; all league as DB
CougZone Says: Rainwater was a playmaker in high school and has good cover skills and speed. Frampton is probably the most highly regarded despite missing most of his senior year – something that makes him a mystery. Turner has good tools and speed. A solid group, but all will need some time and work to develop. The Cougs need to build long and short term in the defensive secondary. This group will help, but there’s not much margin for error if the Cougs want to avoid the need for JC help down the road.
CZ Grade: C+
Athlete Mkristo Bruce: Athlete; 6’5, 210; 4.7 forty; Issaquah, WA (Liberty); all league on defense at LB and second team all league as a QB; Projects as college LB or TE; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; attended summer WSU football camp and earned offer based on attitude and athleticism
Odell Howard: TE/Athlete; 6’4, 235; 4.6 forty; Pomona, CA; big prospect athletic enough to play WR in high school; projects at any number of positions in college, but will get a first look on offense; hoops standout averaging close to 20 points per game and 15 boards; league and region player of the year
Flamingo Malone: DB/Athlete; 6’5, 205; 4.7 forty; Wilmington, CA (Banning); athletic and heavily recruited player; played WR, LB, Safety, and DE in high school; could play on either side of the ball in college and position projects more on how his frame fills out; standout small forward for hoops team; named all region at LB; all CIF in both 2000 and 2001 as a DB
CougZone Says: When the man is named Flamingo, you know he’s gonna be tough. Malone was a dominant athlete and DB in high school, but could easily fill out physically and grow into a completely different position in college. If he ends up at DB, he could make a fearsome strong safety. Malone probably projects on defense and will bring a lot to whatever spot he plays. Bruce could find a niche and emerge. He has an excellent work and team ethic. Bruce will likely need a year or two to fill out and find a position. Howard is something of a question. At times a huge receiver in high school – and a great small forward – where Howard ultimately ends up will depend on how he fills out. It could be almost anywhere except DB, RB, and QB.
CZ Grade: B+
By the way, the 2002 class also coincided with the arrival of Robin Pflugrad.