WSU football recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Rich Rasmussen just wrapped up his chat at the WSU Athletics site. With the letters of intent now in hand, this is the first time the coaches can comment on specifics of this class.
You can find the complete transcript here, but these are the highlights:
- Casey Locker probably will redshirt this year because he's just not big enough, but he said you never know -- just look at Louis Bland.
- Spring ball should be interesting, as guys who redshirted such as Tyson Pencer and Zach Williams should "make a big impact up front." He also expects Marshall Loebbestael and Kevin Lopina to battle for the starting QB job in the fall, noting Loebbestael's rehab is going well.
- He thinks there is help on the way for the defense, too. Grayshirted lineman Josh Luapo is in the fold, and they expect redshirted Bernard Wolfgram to make an immediate impact. Jesse Feagin an academic casualty last year, could be a sleeper.
- As we suspected, the guys who signed with WSU "saw this as an opportunity to be part of something special and wanted to be part of the foundation as we take Cougar Football back to the top of the Pac-10," and the record of this past season wasn't a major factor.
- He cautioned against believing too much about the recruiting services, saying that they do their homework -- implying their homework is a bit more extensive -- and find fits based on their projections. He said he expects Travis Long, Justin Clayton, and Jordan Pu'u Robinson, as well as Chris Mastin to play defense, and Quayshawne Buckley could end up there as well.
- There will be a couple of grayshirts, but they don't know who yet. Depends on health and academics after spring practice.
- The relationships they built with coaches while they were at Eastern Washington were huge. He also said the "traditional college campus" of WSU is a big selling point for parents, who are concerned about the safety of their kid.
- This wasn't a "johnny come lately" class. They started early on guys, and hung onto virtually all of them.
- Although facilities sometimes play a bigger role in recruiting than they should, he said the planned renovations for Martin Stadium and the locker room should only help in the future.
- "There may not have been as many in quantity of Division I prospects in the State of Washington this year; however, the talent level of the top guys is extremely high. The top 10 kids in the state could play anywhere within our conference, and seven of them have chosen to become Cougars."
- There was very much a focus on players who will be able to hack it academically. It was definitely part of the evaluation process.