For the Washington State Cougars football staff, over two years of tireless work, including thousands of miles traveled and hundreds of hours of film watched, comes to fruition in the form of pieces of paper popping out of a fax machine.
It all begins tomorrow around 5 a.m. when national letters of intent can finally be sent in. Or they won't be sent in, which also adds to the intrigue of signing day, which was rather painful a year ago, but we'll just not talk about that.
For the Cougars, it's been a rather uneventful three weeks leading up to tomorrow's festivities — and that's a good thing. So far, WSU has suffered just three de-commitments — all quarterbacks — and as of today, there's no sense that any of the current commitments could be wavering, but we know that's usually just a pipe dream.
There will, however, be a few prospects who are still considering WSU who will be deciding on their future in their high school gymnasiums on Wednesday afternoon. Hat dances are always fun, so we'll be sure to catch you up on that below.
For counting purposes, the Cougars currently hold 23 verbal commitments in addition to the four players who have already signed and arrived on campus. That puts the current class at 27, though two commits — WR Josiah Westbrook and WR Stevie Houston — are not expected to sign tomorrow. We'll get to that in the offensive big board.
Of course, should any of the remaining targets decide they want to rock a crimson cap at their announcements, that would put the Cougars over the limit of 25 initial counters, so they'd have to get creative. While there's a much greater than zero change that there's a defection, an academic casualty or greyshirt news over the next 24 hours, we're going to stay away from any of that speculation. We'll know soon enough.
I'll be providing updates right below these words through tomorrow, so be sure to check back early and often for all of your WSU recruiting news, because of course you want to know where 17-year-olds will be going to college immediately.
Wednesday, Jan. 3 — 6:40 a.m.
As expected, three-star defensive tackle Wayne Kirby has committed to Oregon over Washington State and Utah. The last uncommitted target on our defensive big board, Kirby leaves a major hole at defensive tackle in this class. Could Mauigoa, should he commit to Washington State, move to that side? Is there a surprise commit coming? Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you can check out our post on Kirby and what it means for WSU moving forward here.
WSU defensive recruiting big board (14)
|DEFENSIVE LINE (3 of 3)|
|Lyric Bartley||Taylorsville, Utah||6-3/245||***||4-Dec||Yes||WSU, Nevada, Purdue, Vandy, Wyo|
|Garrett McBroom||Oklahoma City (CC)||6-3/266||**||11-Dec||Yes||WSU, Purdue, WSU|
|Danny Bender||El Covina, Calif.||6-4/225||**||29-Jan||Yes||WSU, SDSU, Nev, Wyo|
|LINEBACKER (4 of 4)|
|Mason Vinyard||La Mesa, Calif.||6-5/200||***||15-Jan||Yes||WSU, SDSU, SJSU|
|Jihad Woods||La Mesa, Calif.||5-11/215||***||15-Jan||Yes||WSU, SJSU|
|Chima Onyeukwu||San Pablo, Calif. (CC)||6-3/215||***||11-Dec||Yes||WSU, Utah State|
|Derek Moore||Los Angeles, Calif.||6-2/211||**||15-Jan||Yes||WSU, Nevada, UNLV, Utah|
|CORNERBACK (4 of 4)|
|Jalen Thompson||Downey, Calif.||5-11/169||***||11-Dec||Yes||WSU, Army, CSU, Navy, SDSU, UW|
|D'jimon Jones||Federal Way, Wash.||6-1/170||***||15-Jan||Yes||WSU, Hawaii Montana|
|Marcus Strong||Rialto, Calif.||5-11/170||***||22-Jan||Yes||WSU, OS, SJSU, UW|
|Isaiah Love||West Covina, Calif.||5-11/160||***||4-Dec||Yes||WSU, CU, Fresno, SDSU, SJSU|
|SAFETY (3 of 2)|
|Skylar Thomas||Perris, Calif.||5-11/170||**||22-Jan||Yes||WSU, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, Wyo|
|Robert Taylor||San Francisco, Calif. (CC)||5-11/180||**||4-Dec||Yes||WSU, Purdue, WVU|
|Justus Rogers||Bellevue, Wash.||6-2/210||***||11-Dec||Yes||WSU|
Dropped: DT Wayne Kirby (Oregon)
All right, so the defense is basically set with hardly any updates. The defensive line has some news, though, and we'll get to that. However, the rest is going to sound awfully familiar because I don't have much new to say since the last big board, so deal with it.
DEFENSIVE LINE (3 of 3)
Wayne Kirby, a three-star defensive tackle out of Pocatello, Idaho, is the lone defensive target left on the CougCenter Big Board who has yet to commit to Washington State or another school. Curtis Weaver, who recently visited WSU, is no longer in the mix after falling victim to the numbers game after Danny Bender snagged the final defensive end spot.
As for Kirby, he's bound to make a decision at any time. The 6-foot-3, 306-pound defensive tackle hosted the WSU staff for an in-home visit this week, which comes on the heels of Kirby's visits to BYU and Utah over the weekend.
It appears that Washington State has some serious ground to make up following visits to Utah and Oregon, with both of those schools leading the way with a decision looming. While I'm told Kirby's mom is pushing for WSU, the Ducks may be tough to beat here.
We'll know soon enough, but at this point it would be quite the rebound if WSU were to land the talented defensive lineman. As for the rest of the defensive line, it's set with junior college transfer Garrett McBroom already on campus and defensive ends Lyric Bartley and Danny Bender fully expected to sign letters of intent tomorrow.
LINEBACKER (4 of 4)
This is a group that has been set in stone for quite sometime, as Jihad Woods, Mason Vinyard, Derek Moore and Chima Onyeuwku have stuck to their original commitments. Over the last couple weeks, WSU did bring in a pair of linebacker recruits, Jackson Kaufusi and Tainoa Foster, though they committed to BYU and Fresno State, respectively.
CORNERBACK (4 of 4)
Again, nothing has changed here. Jalen Thompson is already on campus while Isaiah Love, Marcus Strong, and D'jimon Jones have each taken their official visits are are expected to sign tomorrow.
SAFETY (3 of 2)
The Cougars are set at safety, and while I originally assumed they would take just two in this class, I've added Justus Rogers to this group despite him technically being a quarterback/athlete.
Rogers officially enrolled in classes this week after visiting a while ago. Robert Taylor, the lone junior college defensive back in this class, officially visited last month. Skyler Thomas visited a couple weeks ago. Both are expected to sign tomorrow.