You know how you know you're getting presents for Christmas, and most of the time you have a general idea what you're going to be getting? And then the day comes, and most of what you get is what you expected.
But you know that really cool thing -- the one thing you really wanted? You've opened all your gifts, and you didn't get it. While you're incredibly thankful for what you did get, you're having a hard time concealing your modest disappointment.
Then, all of a sudden, your parent/wife/significant other says, "Actually, I have one more gift for you." And when you open it, it's way cooler than the thing you thought you wanted? I mean, in a perfect world, you'd have both, but since you can't have both, you're pretty damn excited about the thing that you did get because given a choice between the two things, you'd choose the thing you actually got?
Yeah, that's how I feel right now.
In all, the Cougs picked up 22 letters of intent today. Two guys backed out, but all the other verbal commits, including one enormous surprise, ended up putting their names on the dotted line. It's a class that Paul Wulff called one of the best -- if not the best -- to come through here in the last 25 years.
Sure, losing Asante Cleveland to Miami hurt -- of all the positions on the field, tight end is undoubtedly the most talent depleted of them all. But picking up C.J. Mizell likely will prove to be bigger in the long run. Athletic, pass catching tight ends are nice, but you can scheme around it if you have enough talented receivers, and we seemed to pick up a bunch today.
But a difference-making linebacker? He can have a dramatic impact on just about every play. And that's exactly what Mizell is.
"CJ has a lot of range, plays with a bit of a mean streak," defensive coordinator Chris Ball said. "He has nature instincts and a good football IQ. He will bring a lot of athleticism and toughness to our team."
Said Wulff: "He is talented and one of those players that makes everyone around him better."
Of course, Mizell's arrival was a circuitous one. He originally committed to Florida State last year, but couldn't qualify academically. He also had a couple of "incidents." But Wulff says he checks out just fine and has his academics in order. He should be on campus for summer term -- this is not another Brandon Rankin case where we're going to have to patiently wait.
In the end, Scout.com ranked the class as the 39th best in the country, beating last year's 43rd ranking. It's the highest Scout.com ranking since 2004, when the Cougs were 21st. This class doesn't have as many top end talents (Michael Bumpus, Jerome Harrison, etc.) as that one did, but the balance in this class is incredible. If three or four of these guys end up beating their projections and most of the rest simply live up to expectations, this class should have no trouble outperforming that 2004 class (on the whole).
There's not a lot of freely available commentary out there on the class, but Cougfan.com did have a premium article that was teased with their West Coast analyst Brandon Huffman saying, "With his second chance at a full recruiting class, Paul Wulff has put together one of the best Washington State has seen."
If you're curious where the class ranks with the other services, Rivals has them at 89th. EIGHTY NINTH. I'm no recruiting expert, but that seems awfully absurd. In two years of tracking this stuff pretty closely, I've learned that Rivals is really only worth a crap if you're in Texas or SEC country. They seem to be woefully under-researched, and I place little stock in their class rankings because there are always so many guys they haven't even evaluated or ranked.
For whatever reason, ESPN doesn't do team rankings past their top 25.
Wulff said he expects to add at least one more player to the class -- a JC wide receiver whose paper work wasn't quite in order. He sounded pretty excited about him. Additionally, he said they'd like to add another defensive lineman. However, for those of you with visions of Julious Moore dancing in your head, it sounded like he wanted to add another JC kid.
With that, here are other places where you can get more information on the class:
- The official release from the WSU sports information department, complete with player bios and coach comments.
Grippi's story for the Spokeman-Review, complete with web-only notes. This is a must-read. (If yo u like generic, lame stories, you can find the AP's here.)
- Sean Hawkins at WSU Football Blog transcribed virtually all of Wulff's press conference today, which is nothing short of an awesome effort. I've requested the audio from the SID, but haven't heard back on it yet. I think you can watch a replay of it here -- just click on the "Free Events" tab. I think you have to register first.
- Recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen conducted a chat, the transcript of which you can find here.
And don't forget -- we'll have a signing day podcast and Grady's second annual Elite Eight coming your way tomorrow. There's a pretty big basketball game, too ...