THIS RECRUITING SEASON, LIKE most, finds no shortage of football prospects with blood-line connections to Wazzu. Chief among them are Marcus Trufant's brother Desmond and Chima Nwachukwu's brother Uzoma. But there are others, including a California wideout whose dad made a lasting impression --- on and off the field -- while in Pullman.
Receiver/defensive back Johnny Millard's dad, Keith, was an all-Pac-10 performer at WSU in the early 1980s. He was known to be a bit of a wild man during his college days.
The elder Millard is now an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders, and Johnny attends the same school, Pleasanton's Foothill High, where Jim Walden unearthed Keith -- an underweight tight end -- and turned him into a sack-happy defensive end who would go on to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors while with the Minnesota Vikings.
Foothill High is one of the best programs in the Bay Area. Johnny, this past weekend, was at the UnderArmour/Scout.com Combine in Oakland and is drawing interest from Washington State, Stanford, UCLA and others. Foothill ran the ball most of his junior year, so he didn’t have big stats, but the bloodlines are there.
IN ADDITION, INCOMING WSU freshman offensive lineman Tim Hodgdon's younger brother Tanner Hodgdon is a college prospect for the 2009 recruiting cycle. And so is Inglemoor High linebacker Paul Ena, whose father Tali, was a standout running back for the Cougars in the late 1970s.
Ena is an intriguing prospect with good size and great wheels -- he starred this spring on the top prep relay team in King County. Like Hodgdon, he hasn't attracted an offer to this point, but appears to be on he radar of all four of the Northwest schools.
Desmond Trufant's two primary suitors to this point are Washington State and Washington. Uzoma Nwachukwu looks to favor Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Oklahoma at this stage.
LEGACIES HAVE BEEN part of Cougar football pretty much since the program was launched 114 years ago.
The Ellingsens, the McWashingtons, the Busches, the Lynches, the Abdullahs, the Hendersons, the Shavies'. The list goes on.
On the 2008 Cougar roster, there are six players with blood connections to former Crimson Soldiers: Tony Thompson (father Jack), Xavier Hicks (uncle Kevin), Reid Forrest (father Jim), Eric Block (father Scott), J.T. Levenseller (father Mike) and incoming freshman Kevin Frank (uncle Rick Reynolds).
In addition, the Cougs feature two sets of brothers: Vaughn and Reed Lesuma, and Darrin and Scott Friberg.
The list of Cougar legacies who got away over the years includes Drew Bledsoe's brother Adam (Colorado), Rien Long's brother Devan (Oregon), Ryan Leaf's brother Brady (Oregon), Joe Danelo's son Mario (USC) and J.R. Hasty's son J.R. (Washington).
There are two legacies at Pac-10 schools who figure to start this coming year that the Cougars didn't offer: Matt Elisara's son Cameron (Washington) and Dave Pritchard's son Tavita (Stanford). T.J. Poe, the son of early 1970s Cougar standout Tom Poe, also is at Washington.