IN SECURING TWO MORE verbal commitments two weekends ago, Washington State is out to its fastest start ever on the recruiting front. The Cougars’ 2010 class now numbers 10, putting it well ahead of the pace of most crimson crops and nearly a full month ahead of WSU’s previous “quickest-to-10” class.
Safety Deone Bucannon and tight end Asante Cleveland, a pair of high-upside Californians, sent the Cougs’ upcoming class into double digits following the Stanford game. In the process, they pushed WSU to a new record, albeit an unofficial one.
For perspective on how rapid the formation of this 2010 talent has come, consider that the 2009 class didn’t number 10 until Nov. 23; the 2008 class -- hamstrung by the coaching switch -- until Jan. 21; and the 2007 class until Dec. 18.
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Until now, WSU's 2004 class was the quickest from zero to 10. Following three straight 10-wins seasons, that group was at nine members by mid-August and verbal No. 10 came on Oct. 3. Of course, that class, as dissected HERE in a CF.C story last season, proved to be one of the biggest busts in school history. A significant portion of that meltdown was due to academic troubles.
While injuries and other factors can erode a recruiting class, the 2010 bunch that WSU has assembled so far appears to be solid academically.
The numbers can and do change significantly but as of this writing, WSU figures to take less than the maximum 25 players when 2010 letters of intent are signed in early February. The early CF.C projection is pegging the number at 21, not including any grayshirt signees.
WITH THE ADDITION OF CLEVELAND to the 2010 class, Cougar head coach Paul Wulff appears to be putting an exclamation point on his affinity for players with good height and feet.
In the 2009 class, eight of his 23 signees were 6-4 or taller. Of the 10 kids in the 2010 class so far, five of them are 6-5 or taller: Cleveland (6-5, 235), Aaron Dunn (6-6 ½, 235), Jake Rodgers (6-7, 245), John Fullington (6-6, 270), and quarterback Connor Halliday (6-5, 184).
Dunn (8th), Rodgers (31st) and Cleveland (62nd) are all rated among the top prep tight end prospects in the nation. So the question begs: Is there enough playing time to go around?
For two reasons, the answer looks to be yes. First, Wulff is a big fan of two tight end sets and he’s never been shy -- at WSU or EWU -- about putting the ball in the hands of his TEs. In addition, like Mike Price and Jim Walden before him, Wulff targets big-framed kids because there’s so much versatility in what positions they can play. Rodgers, for instance, is also a defensive end and he has a huge wingspan that could evolve him into a first-rate Pac-10 offensive tackle.
The complete list of WSU’s 2010 recruiting class can be found HERE.
Halliday, the No. 2-rated QB in the Northwest, was 30-for-41 with 393 yards passing with two TD's in a 38-35 losing effort against Gonzaga Prep in a game likely to have far-reaching implications in the Greater Spokane League championship race. He opened the season completing 10 of 11 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns last Thursday in Ferris High’s 59-0 season-opening win over North Central.
Blair Bomber, the speed demon and WSU verbal from Lynden High, caught four passes and scored two touchdowns in a 42-17 win over Squalicum on Friday. The week previous, he caught two passes -- both for touchdowns -- in his 2009 season debut at the Kickoff Classic at Qwest Field. Lynden fell to Archbishop Murphy 34-20. Bomber and quarterback Jordan Hastings teamed up for a 39-yard scoring aerial in the second quarter and then a 21-yard scoring strike in the fourth.