HODGDON: Just rub a little dirt on it
COUGARS OF ALL KINDS -- past, present and future -- are in the headlines as the calendar pauses before a turn into 2008. Here's a smattering of recent sound bites from around the nation, with topics ranging from injuries to bowl games. In the spirit of "just rub a little dirt on it," you'll like what you hear about the toughness of an incoming Cougar hoss.
Tesoro High this year directed 75 percent of their run plays to future Cougar Tim Hodgdon's side. As a result, Tesoro won the South Coast League championship and the 6-3.5, 287-pound hoss was named first team all-county offensive lineman by the Orange County Register.
Tesoro coach Brian Barnes said that Hodgdon, "blew defenders off the ball, making it really easy for running backs".
Also named first-team all league, Hodgdon played half the season with an injured shoulder --- but he didn't miss a single snap.
"Just a tough, tough kid", Barnes said.
Hodgdon has been invited to play in the Southern California Bowl, which pits Orange, San Diego and Imperial County against Riverside and San Bernardino.
Meanwhile, future Cougs Jared Karstetter (WR), Dan Spitz (TE/DE) and Skylar Stormo (TE/DE) have also come in for post season recognition. Among the honors and accolades: Karstetter earned first team AP al-state honors while Dan Spitz was named honorable mention for his work on the defensive line. Stormo was previously announced for first team all-league honors on defense and second team honors on offense.
THE FRACTURED THUMB of Cougar forward Daven Harmeling will not require surgery. The redshirt junior, who suffered the injury in practice Friday, Dec. 21, will be out for at least two more weeks, when he will have more X-rays.
Washington State (11-0) wraps up their non-conference slate tonight against North Carolina A&T. Conference play opens on Jan. 5 against the Huskies.
The loss of Harmeling impacts an already short supply of crimson big men with center Fabian Boeke's status for this season still left unresolved by the NCAA. Members of Boeke's club team in Germany, not including Boeke, received stipends the NCAA determined were above actual and necessary expenses and the Ehingen team was deemed a professional organization by the NCAA. The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee has not yet ruled on Washington State's appeal.
With Harmeling out indefinitely, the minutes of both Caleb Forrest and Nikola Koprivica, the other two non-starting members of the Cougs' eight-man rotation, are expected to increase. Harmeling, one of the first Cougs off the bench this season, has averaged 22 minutes a game this season, connecting on 24-of-58 field goals and pulling down 3.3 rebounds per game.
The Cougs are No. 4 in the nation in both polls, the program's highest ever ranking.
SENIOR TIGHT END Jed Collins has been named to the roster of the 83rd annual East-West Shrine game. The game will be held at the University of Houston on Jan. 19. It is the seventh consecutive season in which a Cougar has been selected.
Despite very brief appearances and no receptions in the Cougs' final two games due to a leg injury, Collins set the single-season record for Cougar tight ends with 52 receptions in 2007. A six-catch outing by USC's Fred Davis was needed in the Trojans finale to pass Collins for the Pac-10 lead amongst tight ends.
Collins finished with 512 yards and three touchdowns this season and was named second team All-Pacific-10 Conference. The tight end was also presented with the Cougar Inspiration Award, known as the Fred Bohler Award, at Washington State's season-ending banquet.
Alex Brink, whose last pass as a Cougar was the winning touchdown in this year's thrilling Apple Cup, will play in the Hula Bowl. Other Division I All-Star games include Senior Bowl and the North-South All America Game. The inaugural Silver & Gold Gridiron Classic will kick off following next season.
Roster information for the Senior Bowl will be announced on Jan. 20, while the North-South roster will be released on Jan. 7.