With football signing day about three weeks away, it's time to start sprinkling in these Coug Commit features again as we try to get you familiar with all the guys who should be signing on the dotted line for WSU come Feb. 3. We'll be tackling the guys who have signed recently first, then we'll try and go back and cover the guys who committed before we started these features.
First up: Lineman prospect Maxx Forde.
Forde is a legacy whose father, Brian, played linebacker at WSU in the mid-1980s. In addition to WSU, he had scholarship offers from Army and Air Force, which ought to tell you something -- namely, that he fits the profile of "neck up" players that Paul Wulff has been trying to add the program. You don't get offers from service academies unless you can hack it academically.
Rated three stars by Scout.com and Rivals.com and two stars by ESPN.com, Forde is 6-foot-4 and currently anywhere between 230 and 245, depending on whom you believe at the moment. That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he projected as a defensive end, which is where Scout.com has him currently listed.
But after watching ESPN's video on him (they don't allow embedding, so you'll have to go there to see it), I really don't see any way he's a defensive end. He seems to lacksthe explosive first step a defensive end needs to be able to beat tackles. For the same reason, plus the fact that he's currently only 240ish, interior defensive line seems a stretch as well.
Instead of focusing on what he doesn't have, though, let's focus on what he does have: Great balance, good lateral movement and excellent body control, which to me screams offensive lineman. Given that Wulff really seems to like tall, long-armed tackles, it would seem that Forde would be too short for that position. That leaves guard or center, and to be honest, he seems perfectly fit for guard.
The biggest challenge Forde has in front of him is bulking up. Besides his academics, one has to believe a big reason the service academies were interested in him is because you don't have to be 300 pounds to be an effective lineman in their systems. He'll need to gain at least 50 pounds in weight and muscle to be a competitive interior lineman in the Pac-10.
Wulff wants his guys to maul. Forde's got a ways to go before he mauls.
Nonetheless, there is huge potential here. This is the kind of kid WSU made a living off of in the past -- the one who isn't ready to step right in, but with proper development and coaching, can turn into a really nice player. This kid has athleticism to spare, and goodness knows the Cougs can always use more athleticism.
If you want to know a little more about Forde and his personality, here's a nice little story from KING-5 TV in Seattle: