Spring semester is officially underway in Pullman, which means a few new faces on the football team have arrived. WSU added six early enrollees with Markell Sanders, Marcellus Pippins, Dylan Hanser, Nick Begg, Calvin Green and Sean Krepsz all on campus, according to Britton Ransford of Wazzu Watch.
WSU will likely announce the additions soon, possibly today. I'll update the post with the press release from the school and some quotes from Mike Leach when that happens. Update: the school officially announced the early signees.
If you aren't familiar, an early enrollee is a player who enrolls in school for spring semester instead of joining the team in the summer or fall. Usually, it's a junior college player or a grayshirt, but in this case, Green and Krepsz are both high school seniors who graduated early. Early enrollees are a huge boost for a program for two reasons. First, they can be categorized as an "initial counter" in either the upcoming signing class, or the previous one assuming spots are open. Teams are limited to 25 initial counters annually and WSU took at least 21 last season, depending on how the 2013 early enrollees were categorized. All six won't be able to count in 2013, but for the sake of simplicity, let's say three will. That would open three spots in the 2014 class and allow WSU to hit the max and receive 28 letters of intent in 2014.
Although they are on the roster, their eligibility clocks don't start until the next season, so they essentially get five free months in the program. It's similar to a half-redshirt season. The players will join workouts, assimilate to life in Pullman and be able to participate in spring football. That's significant, especially for those with a chance to make an impact next season.
So who exactly are the 2014 six? Let's take a look.
Calvin Green, RB/WR, Sacramento, Calif.
It shouldn't be a surprise Green got to campus quick, speed is his game. He took advantage of a new NCAA rule and signed a financial aid agreement with WSU in November. Back to my original point, Green is ridiculously fast. There is a reason his nickname is "flash" He's a consensus 3-star recruit, with the various services listing him as a running back and wide receiver. There is a good chance he winds up as an inside receiver for WSU. Here is what Brian Anderson had to say after watching some video:
"Great one-cut bursts ... gets on the edge and gets upfield in a hurry. He reaches top-end speed quickly with near effortless acceleration, has great hands and route running to flat. Could easily project well to an H."
Sean Krepsz, OT, Riverside, Calif.
Getting any player to enroll early is nice, but it's even better when it's an offensive linemen. That extra offseason in a college weight program should pay off for Krepsz down the line, not to mention the spring football reps. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Krepsz is a consensus 3-star recruit. There were reports Fresno State was pushing hard to flip his commitment, but that obviously didn't happen.
You can watch Krepsz dish out pancakes like he's working at Denny's in his Hudl highlights.
Nick Begg, OT/TE/DE. Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Begg is an interesting story. He committed to Arizona State during the 2013 recruiting cycle and was expected to grayshirt for the Sun Devils. Along the way, he decided to take a detour to Pullman. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he could land at a few positions. The early word is he's coming to Pullman as a tight end with the idea that he'll eventually grow into an offensive lineman. If the plan is to hit the weight room and the dining hall to add size, enrolling early will definitely help.
He was high school teammates with River Cracraft and Riley Sorenson, keeping the Santa Margarita to Pullman pipeline flowing. There are some highlights of him playing defensive end and wide receiver on Hudl.
Markell Sanders, CB/S, Bellevue, Wash.
Sanders committed to WSU last year, but did not sign a letter of intent. He missed most of his senior season due to a shoulder injury, but should be fully healthy now after grayshirting. At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Sanders has great size for a potential cornerback. He has long arms, a lanky frame and runs well. There is a chance he will stick at corner, but it wouldn't be a shock if he wound up at safety. He's a very sure tackler in highlights and hits like a ton of bricks, two things that bode well for a potential position change.
The more guys who can run and cover the better, it doesn't really matter where they play. It will be very interesting to see where Sanders gets reps during spring football. The coaching staff moved Anthony Carpenter between safety and corner and could potentially use Sanders in similar fashion.
Marcellus Pippins, CB, El Cerrito, Calif.
Pippins chose WSU over Utah on signing day last year, but the plan from the start was to have him grayshirt and enroll this year. He was a consensus 3-star recruit last season. He originally committed to Utah, but the Utes pulled his offer after he took an official visit to WSU. Both the Cougars and Utes offered him the chance to grayshirt and he chose the Cougars.
The 5-foot-11 Pippins played running back and cornerback in high school while also returning kicks. He reportedly runs in the mid 4.4-second range. WSU is in desperate need of depth at corner back so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Pippins or Sanders compete for immediate playing time. A good spring and one of them might just play their way into the two-deep heading into fall camp.
Dylan Hanser, LB, Billings, Mont.
Like Pippins, Hanser committed to WSU late in the 2013 recruiting cycle with the intention of taking a grayshirt year and enrolling in January. He played tight end and outside linebacker in high school. According to Britton Ransford, Hanser checks in at 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds. He isn't lacking athleticism, as evidenced by the Mutumbo block he dishes out and the pair of dunks in the video to the right (he's No. 33).
What position he plays still remains somewhat of a question. The initial thought was he'd be a BUCK linebacker prospect and that may prove to be true. He'd need to add some weight, but has the athleticism to be a factor both as a rusher and dropping into pass coverage. Like Krepsz, he should really benefit from the extra time in the program. Hanser's Hudl highlights can be found here.