It's kind of weird to be writing about something other than Mike Leach becoming the new head football coach at Washington State University (SEO!). I've allowed some time for the dust to settle, and now we move on and look at the latest guys who have pledged their allegiance to the crimson and grey.
According to Cougfan, JC RS Theron West is now a Coug. Scout has him listed as a RB, but he also played WR and returned punts and kicks. I think he'll mainly be a Return Specialist, though, and that's the reason for the "RS" in the headline.
West is the first (and probably only) Junior College player in this class. West's commitment brings the total amount in this class to 19, and we discussed earlier in the year that this class only has room for between 18 - 20 players. So, basically, with the commitment we got from C.J. Brathwaite, who I will talk about tomorrow, we're done.
Now, this isn't to say all 20 guys will actually make it to campus. Some will decide they don't fit in Leach's system (we now have four RBs), and we could possibly get some new blood. Some won't make the cut academically. Some will get a "better" offer and bolt. For the most part, however, these next two posts are it until Signing Day in February.
There's a lot of good, but there's also some bad. Let's start with the good.
How cow is this dude fast. He hits the hole with authority, and he changes direction really quickly. One plant and go. He played all over, sort of the Reggie Bush type role, so he should be fine in Leach's offense. I'd be worried about a more north and south type back who doesn't catch balls out of the backfield very well. West is not that guy.
He will also inject some life into a basically non-existent return game. With the exception of Isiah Barton returning kicks this past year, when was the last time our kick or punt returner was any good? Michael Bumpus? I'm not kidding when I say Leon Brooks was only returning punts because he was good at calling for a fair catch. West, Rahmel Dockery, Henry Eaddy, and possibly Blair Bomber can all fight for return duties.
The negative, however, is also there. While it's nothing horrible, there are still things you see that are at least somewhat cause for concern. First and foremost, he's a JC guy. While I don't hate JC guys, I'm not a big fan. However, if you do get a JC guy, having him be a skill position guy is a good thing. They take less time to get acclimated to the offense than a big guy up front. He'll also be a good bridge to some of the other kids who are younger now that Logwone Mitz is gone and Carl Winston is entering his final year.
His size is a bit of a concern at 5'7 and 170 pounds, but it's not a deal breaker with his speed. If you look at some of the holes he ran through, holy cow. Mark could have ran for an 80-yard TD. He also outruns his blockers sometimes, and that annoys the crap out of me. Rickey Galvin does that a lot, too. West certainly has the wheels, but if he were to follow his blockers a little longer, I wouldn't have a problem with him bursting out and hitting the turbo button. The athletic ability of Pac 12 defenders aren't going to let him simply outrun everyone. I also worry about level of competition, but to be honest, it's not like we're counting on him to come in and be Jerome Harrison 2.0, so, does it really matter? He'll probably be a pretty good return guy for a few years and nothing more, but hey, I'm cool with that.
Overall, I like the addition. Nothing super flashy or anything, but I could see him taking a punt or kick to the house and everyone losing their
pants minds, making this all worth it.
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