Visiting LB talks WSU commitment level

IVAN McLENNAN

IVAN McLENNAN COMES to town this weekend. When the JUCO linebacker committed to WSU in mid-June, he said his recruitment wasn't closed. So the question begs, just how strongly is the El Camino standout committed to Washington State? Is he planning on taking other official visits? For an answer, CF.C spoke with the 6-3, 220-pounder – and he had news for Cougar Nation.

Ivan McLennan sure sounds a lot surer of things these days when it comes to WSU and recruiting.

"I don't have any other visits scheduled at this time," McLennan said. "My commitment is solid to the Cougars and the coaching staff. Washington State was my first college offer and they've been with me through thick and thin.

"Ever since I was able to be recruited during my first year in JC football, they were the first ones to contact and offer me. It meant a lot to me and my family and I have a lot of love for them."

When McLennan committed over the summer, he told CF.C that he would take other official visits and see what else was out there. In the nearly five months since, the defensive standout has added offers from Texas A&M, Minnesota and others in addition to full rides this recruiting cycle from WSU, Oregon and Arkansas. But he said he is already looking forward to his playing days out on the Palouse.

"I'm excited to get up in the sky and see what Pullman is all about," an excited McLennan said. "I can't wait to see the college environment and the campus life. I'm excited to see the classroom sizes and the students. I just want to see if I can be comfortable living there for the next 2-3 years."

McLennan still remembers the day in early June when Washington State offered. He almost committed to the Cougars when the offer was put on the table, but decided to wait on pulling the trigger. Oregon offered shortly after, as did Arkansas, but their lure didn't match the connection he felt with the Washington State coaches.

It was the deciding factor why he committed, he says, and the reason why he isn't planning on taking any other official visits, despite the fact that when he gets on an airplane and leaves the state of California for WSU, it will be the first time in his life he's left the Golden State.

RUNNING THE POINT for WSU in McLennan's recruiting is outside wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons. The two have been in constant communication this fall, McLennan said.

"He told me he's excited to have me experience Washington State football," McLennan said of Simmons. "I've been talking with him a lot this week and he's looking forward to me taking my official visit up there. He's a down-to-earth person and he keeps it real with me. He's told me that he has my back and I believe him. Our relationship is really strong."

In addition to Simmons, McLennan said he's been in touch with head man Mike Leach, outside linebackers coach Paul Valero and defensive coordinator Mike Breske.

SO WHAT DO the coaches expect of McLennan in his first year in crimson next season?

"They want me to come in to be a playmaker and be a defensive leader in a WSU uniform," McLennan said. "I want to be a leader for this team no doubt. We want to win the Pac-12 and like Coach Leach said, when we get the players we need in Pullman, we'll be able to compete at a higher level."

On the season for El Camino, McLennan has 79 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble for the Warriors. As a freshman in 2011, he had 77 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception and three fumble recoveries en route to earning All-Conference honors.

The coaches have been talking with McLennan about possibly lining up at the BUCK linebacker spot. He said he knows senior Travis Long will be graduating after this season and that with a lot of hard work and determination, he would have the opportunity to compete for that opening starting spot.

"I'm an emotional player and I play with a lot of speed." McLennan said. "I love making big plays man. I'm a ball hog. Wherever you see the ball on the field, that's where I'm going to be. That's the kind of player I am."

As for this weekend, McLennan said he can't wait to touch down in Pullman and experience Martin Stadium. The Cougs host UCLA (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) and he said he's excited to see how the Cougs come out in front of the hometown fans.

WSU enters Saturday's contest with a 2-7 record, but recruits see win-loss records differently than do fans -- McLennan said it doesn't bother him in the slightest and it motivates him to see the numbers in the win column change in the coming years.

"It's a rebuilding process," McLennan said. "Coach Leach is in his first year and he needs some time to bring in his recruits that fit his system. Leach is a winner. This first year might be a bump in the road, but in the coming years when he gets the guys he wants to Pullman, I think we'll be able to compete for Rose Bowls."

NOTABLE NOTE:
McLennan said he hopes to graduate in time to be a mid-year transfer and join WSU in January and for spring ball. If not, he would arrive on a more standard time frame, in the summer and in advance of fall camp in August.

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