HOT COUGAR ACTION: Is The 2010 Signing Class Already The Best In WSU History?

PALO ALTO CA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Paul Wulff of the Washington State Cougars walks out of the tunnel with John Fullington #77 and CJ Mizell #12 for their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 23 2010 in Palo Alto California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

When Paul Wulff announced the 2010 signing class he said the class was, "probably as good a class that has come here." After one full season and two games, I'm convinced there is no probably about it. The 2010 WSU signing class is the best signing class in school history. If you think I'm crazy, take a look for yourself.

Starters

Marquess Wilson - A freshman All-American a year ago, Wilson has already proven to be one of the best receivers in the Pac-12. If he continues at his current pace, he will go down as the best wide receiver in school history.

Rickey Galvin - It's dangerous to be too high on a player after 13 career carries, but man, those have been 13 impressive carries. Galvin looks like the best RB since Jerome Harrison and could be an all-conference type of player if he stays healthy.

C.J. Mizell - Mizell proved he had the talent to play at this level last season, but now he has apparently made significant strides in his preparation and attitude. If Mizell keeps his head on straight, he has the ability to be one of the best linebackers in the conference.

Deone Bucannon - Led the team in tackles as a freshman. He's likely a four-year starter who will contend for all-conference accolades.

Kalafitoni Pole - Missed last season with an injury, but if the first two games of this season are any indication, Pole could be a really good player. He's versatile and is already making plays.

John Fullington - Started six games at right and left tackle last season. He's now starting at left guard this season. An above average player who starts four years along the offensive line? Yes, please.

David Gonzalez - Started seven games at left tackle last season before injuring his arm. He's healthy and starting again in 2011. Getting 19-20 starts from a junior college recruit is close to best-case scenario.

Wade Jacobson - Another junior college offensive lineman and another two-year starter. Started 11 games at left guard last year and is now starting at right tackle. Very solid contributor.

Isiah Barton - Barton didn't make much of a contribution at receiver last season, but he's off to a hot start in 2011. He already has 103 yards and two touchdowns this season as the starting slot receiver.

Significant Contributors (Players in the two-deep)

Damante Horton - Horton has started at times as a freshman and this season. He is currently the number three cornerback. He's shown flashes of being a very good player and will likely regain a starting role down the road.

Kristoff Williams - Williams is getting his first chance to play and has already made a few plays including a 57-yard touchdown against UNLV. He's been praised at length by the coaching staff and will likely slide into a starting role next season.

Bobby Ratliff - Remember two seasons ago when wide receiver depth was a serious concern? Then Wilson, Barton, Williams and Ratliff arrived on campus and now depth is a strength. Ratliff is another guy who has shown a lot of promise and will likely move into a more significant role as his career goes on. Five catches for 78 yards isn't a bad way to start.

Tracy Clark - Currently the number four cornerback and backup to Nolan Washington at left corner. 

Jake Rodgers - The backup right tackle a year after converting from tight end. Rodgers will likely contend for a starting position next season and could be a three-year starter.

Aaron Dunn - One of the more highly touted members of this class, Dunn is currently the backup tight end which means he rarely sees the field. He's struggled with injuries so far, so the verdict is still out.

Role Players

Connor Halliday - Currently the backup quarterback, but legitimately the third quarterback when Jeff Tuel is healthy. Halliday will likely slide into the backup role next season then is the odds on favorite to replace Tuel in 2013.

Eric Oertel - Saw time at linebacker last season, has now switched to running back. He's proven to be a special teams ace, whether he contributes at running back is to be determined.

Tyrone Duckett - Redshirted last season, Duckett has contributed on special teams so far. 

Brandon Golden - Another cornerback who is now contributing after sitting out last season. Between Golden, Clark and Horton, this class has greatly improved the cornerback depth.

Matthew Simmons - Has moved to safety where he is currently buried on the depth chart. As with the other guys in the category, it's tough to determine much with many only two games into their redshirt freshman season.

Non-Contributors

Blair Bomber - Bomber will miss the 2011 season with a torn ACL. He still as plenty of time to factor into the wide receiver equation and as a return man.

Xavier Cooper - Cooper failed to qualify initially, but enrolled in January and is currently on the roster although he is ineligible this season due to NCAA rules. He could move up a category or two as early as next season.

Robert Jiles - Jiles didn't qualify out of high school and enrolled at a junior college. With the current depth at WR, I would be surprised to see Jiles ever make it to Pullman.

Devontae Butler-Booker - DBB also failed to qualify then after a brief recruitment period last winter, he ended up signing with Fresno State. 

So there you have it. Nine starters, including a couple of potential elite players. Six other players already in the two-deeps. Overall, 22 of the 24 signees are on the roster and 20 have contributed. This class solidified depth along the offensive line, wide receiver and in the secondary. If I asked you to name the 10 best players on the roster, I'm guessing at least five are from this group.

This group has already surpassed the contributions of more than one previous signing class and they've only played 14 games. I haven't researched every WSU signing class since they became official in 1964, but in terms of depth, instant impact and potential it would be hard to top 2010.

WSU football

WSU begins prep for SDSU - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Sept. 12, 2011
The Cougars are off the practice field after their first day of prep for San Diego State. It was a day of teaching. We have some notes, so read on.

First Look: WSU at San Diego State - Spokesman.com - Sept. 12, 2011
What it means for WSU: Respect. Though the Cougars are undefeated after the first two games for the first time since 2005, every bit of praise has come with a caveat.

Week Two Expectations And Reality: Pac-12 - Football Study Hall
Exceeded Expectations Washington State (Proj. Scoring Margin: +20.0 | Actual Scoring Margin: +52 | Diff: +32.0) Don't look now, but Washington State is looking like a real team.

Marshall Lobbestael keeping things in perspective - WSU Blog articles - MyNorthwest.com
After two weeks, the list of the county's highest scoring offenses is topped by an unlikely name. The Washington State Cougars have averaged 61.5 points in wins over Idaho State and UNLV. Perhaps just as unlikely as a team that was 2-10 a year ago leading the nation in scoring is the fact that its offense is being led by a backup quarterback.

San Diego State Up Next for Cougar Football - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site
SATURDAY'S GAME: The Washington State University football team looks to start its season with three straight wins for the first time since 2005 when it travels to San Diego State to face the Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 17. Gametime is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by The Mtn. and can be heard across the IMG College Sports Radio Network.

Quick look at Week 3 games - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Washington State at San Diego State, 6:30 p.m. Mountain West Network: The Cougars can get halfway to bowl eligibility with a victory on the road. Both teams are 2-0. Quarterback Ryan Lindley and running back Ronnie Hillman will test what looks to be a vastly improved Cougar defense. And can WSU quarterback Marshall Lobbestael keep up his torrid pace?

Pac-12 Confidential | Heat check: Who's hot, and who's not | Seattle Times Newspaper

Washington State (2-0) - Nobody's going to enshrine either of WSU's first two opponents in the college hall of fame, but the Cougars have looked more than capable, even flashy. Timing should help them with their next two games; San Diego State has Michigan and old coach Brady Hoke next week after playing WSU, and the Cougars catch Colorado between Buffs' games with Ohio State and Stanford. Status: Percolating.

2-0 for Huskies, Cougars sure beats 2-23 from ’08 - Sports - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington news, weather and sports

Those third-and-long situations are still bewildering the Huskies’ defense, and rolling up a combined 123 points on the outclassed likes of Idaho State and UNLV should not be seen as evidence of a revival in Pullman.

Pac-12 Conference News and Notes - latimes.com

WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars' starting quarterback Jeff Tuel suffered an injury last week, but that did not stop the WSU offense from scoring 59 points this past weekend in a win over UNLV. Marshall Lobbestael took over under center and threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns. Jared Karstetter hauled in two of those touchdown passes, while Marquess Wilson added 102 yards and one score on five catches. The Cougars will hit the road for the first time in their next game when they travel to San Diego State to take on the Aztecs.

 A Cougar baseball link in September? Sure why not.

Cougar Duo Named Top Summer Prospects - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site
DURHAM, N.C. - Washington State outfielder Jason Monda and infielder Adam Nelubowich were each recognized by Baseball America as top prospects in 2011 summer collegiate leagues. Monda was ranked 14th in the Cape Cod League after finishing fourth in the circuit with a .333 batting average and tying for seventh with 13 stolen bases while playing for the Brewster Whitecaps.

WSU plays of the week via WSU Athletics

Cougar Plays Of The Week 9-12-11 (via WSUCougarAthletics)

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