In a little over a week, the Washington State Cougars coaching staff will be boarding airplanes and traveling all over the country to spend quality time in prospects' living rooms, attempting to convince them to come play football on the Palouse.
We call this silly season, which begins on January 14 and ends on February 3 with cameras focused on fax machines.
In between the air miles and car rentals, the coaching staff will be in Pullman for weekend (and sometimes weekday) official visits, and with Mike Leach's new recruiting philosophy in effect, it's going to be a busy three weekends. Over 20 prospects on campus over the first two weekends, in fact.
As always, we'll have an in-depth preview of each weekend's official visitors, but here's a quick preview and notebook to get you started.
UPDATE: Rivals.com is reporting that Long Beach, Calif., defensive end Curtis Weaver will visit WSU this weekend while Cottonwood, Utah athlete Jackson Kaufusi confirms a Cougfan.com report that he'll also be in Pullman this weekend.
|JANUARY 15-17 VISITOR WEEKEND|
|LB||Jihad Woods||La Mesa, Calif.||5-11/215||***||***||WSU|
|LB||Mason Vinyard||La Mesa, Calif.||6-2/220||***||***||WSU|
|WR||Renard Bell||Los Angeles, Calif.||5-10/165||***||***||WSU|
|OL||Jaelen Lewis||Antelope, Calif.||6-6/270||**||***||WSU|
|OL||Josh Watson||Everett, Wash.||6-5/270||**||**||WSU|
|RB||Romello Harris||Tulare, Calif.||5-10/175||***||***||WSU|
|DT||Wayne Kirby||Pocatello, Idaho||6-3/306||***||***||—|
|ATH||Zion Echols||Covina, Calif.||5-8/169||***||***||—|
|OL||Logan Tuley-Tillman||Michigan transfer||6-7/300||—||—||—|
|ATH||Tayler Hawkins||Palm Springs, Calif.||6-0/180||***||***||—|
|DE||Curtis Weaver||Long Beach, Calif.||6-4/265||***||***||—|
|LB||Jackson Kaufusi||Cottonwood, Utah||6-2/189||***||***||—|
|LB||Tainoa Foster||Honolulu, Hawaii||6-3/205||**||**||—|
|JANUARY 22-24 VISITOR WEEKEND|
|CB||Marcus Strong||Rialto, Calif.||5-11/170||***||***||WSU|
|WR||Grant Porter||Upland, Calif.||6-2/184||***||***||WSU|
|DB||Skyler Thomas||Perris, Calif.||5-11/175||**||***||WSU|
|QB||Quentin Davis||Bellflower, Calif.||6-1/205||***||***||WSU|
|CB||D'Jimon Jones||Federal Way, Wash.||6-2/175||***||**||WSU|
|OL||Christian Haangana||Milpitas, Calif.||6-6/347||**||***||WSU|
|LB||Derek Moore||Los Angeles, Calif.||6-2/211||**||***||WSU|
|OL||Frederick Mauigoa||Pago Pago, A.S.||6-4/295||—||***||—|
|DE||Josh Allen||Long Beach, Calif.||6-2/255||***||***||—|
|WR||Keoni Makekau||Honolulu, Hawaii||5-11/170||—||**||—|
The big news today was former four-star defensive tackle prospect Thomas Toki confirming that he will be exploring junior college options instead of enrolling at Washington State this January. The former Kirkland (Wash.) Juanita standout will transfer to College of San Mateo next season.
With Garrett McBroom and Lyric Bartley, both defensive ends, representing the only defensive linemen in the Cougars' current class, Washington State will likely look to the prep ranks for a defensive tackle prospect to fill out their needs.
That defensive tackle could be Pocatello, Idaho three-star prospect Wayne Kirby, who confirmed with CougCenter that he'll be taking an official visit to Washington State next weekend. 247 Sports first reported the news of Kirby's visit.
Kirby, a 6-foot-3, 306-pound tackle rated three-stars, recently de-committed from BYU. He says he'll also visit Utah and BYU prior to making his decision, though the real Cougars will get the first crack.
Tayler Hawkins, one of the top athletes in California, tells CougCenter that he'll take an official visit to Washington State on January 15. The three-star prospect, rated the No. 54 overall athlete in the country by Rivals.com, also holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Washington and many others.
Several programs are recruiting Hawkins as a defensive back, while the Cougars envision him on the offensive side. Hawkins has already visited Colorado and plans to visit Fresno State and San Diego State this month, as well, however he says a decision could come sooner than later, likely following his trip to Washington State.
Zion Echols, a former Cal commit, will take an official visit to Washington State next weekend. All reports indicate that Echols, a running back and slot receiver who the Cougars are recruiting as an athlete, is still considering Cal and considered them a finalist along with WSU. He'll take an official visit to Cal this month, as well. He's the real deal.
Two-star linebacker Tainoa Foster, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound inside linebacker prospect out of Honolulu, Hawaii, confirmed with CougCenter this afternoon that he'll indeed visit Washington State next weekend. Another Hawaiian prospect, Keoni-Kordell Makekau, a record-setting receiver on the Islands, tells CougCenter he'll visit on January 22.
A pair of highly touted offensive line targets will also be in town on January 22. Frederick Mauigoa, the top prospect in American Samoa, and Nate Herbig, one of the top centers in the country, will each be tripping to Pullman and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Cougars land both, but that would require some shuffling numbers-wise. Herbig, a recent Stanford de-commit, has already unofficially visited Washington State.
Update: According to 247 Sports, Nate Herbig is no longer visiting Washington State. Working to confirm, but it looks like Vanderbilt may be the team to beat there.
Logan Tuley-Tillman, a graduate transfer out from Michigan, appears to be narrowing his choices down to Washington State, Ole Miss and Rutgers, with a decision to come in April. As a June graduate, the Cougars would be able to push his scholarship forward, so it would not impact their numbers in the current class.
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco three-star quarterback Quentin Davis wasted no time in committing to Washington State shortly after receiving an offer from Leach and staff. The three-star will visit Pullman on January 22 and is all set to arrive in June.
One of the few verbal commitments that had yet to confirm an official visit date was massive offensive line prospect Christian Haangana, however he informed CougCenter today that he'll be in Pullman on January 22, joining fellow verbal commitments Skyler Thomas, D'jimon Jones, Marcus Strong, Grant Porter and Davis.
UPDATE: According to Cougfan.com, linebacker Derek Moore has moved his visit to January 22.
Josh "J.J." Allen, a former four-star (now three-star) defensive end out of Long Beach (Calif.) C.C., has noted that he's going to take official visits to Washington State (Jan. 22) and Arizona (Jan. 15), whom he already de-committed from, though there may be some hesitance there for now due to academics. Allen posted on Twitter today he's sending transcripts to schools and that his "grades are right."
I have not been able to confirm official visit plans for WR Josiah Westbrook or WR Steve Houston. We'll work on that and try to have updates as soon as possible in the Big Board, which will reappear next week.