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Jake Dickert has work left to do with WSU’s 2022 recruiting class

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But it’s a good start! Plus, today’s links.

PULLMAN, WA - OCTOBER 9: Washington State mascot Butch T Cougar Jack Ellis/CougCenter

The first part of the 2022 football recruiting class is locked in for the Washington State Cougars after 10 players put pen to paper on Wednesday and sent in their letters of intent. It’s always an exciting day for fans, coaches, and players alike; it’s a day for optimism, as the possibilities are endless.

Let’s hit some of the highlights.

Yes, the 10 players signed is relatively few compared to years past; typically, the Cougs have pushed closer to 20 since the early signing day was instituted years ago. There probably are a number of factors in play here. The most obvious, of course, is that the Cougars went through not just a coaching change, but a very public period of limbo with the guy who would eventually get sacked. For months, commitments were frozen in place.

But ... there might be more to the story. WSU is very likely negotiating Covid-related roster issues stemming from players taking extra years of eligibility. There might also be a sense that they’re going to need to hit the transfer portal pretty hard at a couple of positions, particularly offensive line and linebacker, and also probably tight end. This gives them flexibility.

Nearly everyone who was committed signed. I don’t think we should overlook this, to be honest. In the run-up to signing day, I often wondered if a bunch of these players would decommit through the process of the coaching change. As it turned out, only quarterback Adryan Lara (still uncommitted) and defensive lineman Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei (flipped to Arizona) are looking elsewhere. I think it says a lot that Dickert and his staff were able to keep almost the entire class together, including linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah, who had been committed since February and rebuffed a late charge from hometown USC. By contrast, UW has had a whole bunch of decommits during its transition and signed only six players yesterday.

It’s a good foundation. If you look at the 247Sports Pac-12 rankings, the Cougs currently sit 9th. That’s not great. But the rankings are a mix of quality and volume, and as we already discussed, the volume was low. More significant at this point, I think, is the average recruit rating. Now, the average is actually 12th. BUT! It’s actually higher than any other WSU class in 247’s database. I’m not trying to make the case that this is the best WSU class ever — there are reasons why past excellent classes had their average depressed (such as underrating players from American Samoa) — but the point is this: The players in the fold are very much in line with the kind of talent we’ve used to go to six straight bowl games and compete for Pac-12 North titles.

More letters could be coming in. The signing day is actually just the first day of the early signing period, which lasts until Friday. WSU is hot on the trail of at least a couple of players who could be imminent. Tight end Chance Bogan, out of Lincoln High School in Tacoma, decommitted from Washington last week and WSU — with a well-established need at that position — appears to be the favorite to land him, according to 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman. He’s another high-three star kid. Additionally, linebacker Daiyan Henley, a Nevada transfer, has listed the Cougs among his final four. It’s another position of need, and it can’t hurt that his former defensive coordinator is now WSU’s defensive coordinator.

There also is one player who is committed — offensive lineman Jihad Lateef from Lubbock, Texas — who didn’t sign yesterday; Cougfan is reporting that he’s planning on taking a second official visit to Pullman to make sure WSU is still a good fit for him with the new staff. If he signs, it won’t be until the regular period in February.

It’s a pretty excellent start. All in all, it’s pretty hard to be unhappy with how Wednesday went down. It’s not a group that’s going to wow the casual fan who checks in on recruiting once a year looking to see if we landed some four-star kid, but it’s also not a group that suggests major ground to make up over the next couple of months. That’s not a bad place to be.

2022 WSU Football Commits

Player Pos. 247 Composite Composite Rating Measurables Commit Date City State Comments
Player Pos. 247 Composite Composite Rating Measurables Commit Date City State Comments
Andre Dollar** TE ✯✯✯ 0.8817 6-6/230 12/14/21 Mustang OK Flipped from Oregon, 23rd overall TE nationally
Taariq Al-Uqdah* LB ✯✯✯ 0.8735 6-0/218 2/24/21 South Central LA CA Selected to All-American Bowl, USC tried hard to flip
Daiyan Henley** LB ✯✯✯ 0.8700 6-2/220 12/20/21 Los Angeles CA All-MWC grad transfer from Nevada
Djouvensky Schlenbaker** RB ✯✯✯ 0.8607 6-0/220 6/28/21 Bellingham WA Offers from UW, Cal, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Air Force
Eric Wilder* OL ✯✯✯ 0.8527 6-5/280 6/29/21 Syracuse UT Offers from Cal, UCLA
Javan Robinson* DB ✯✯✯ 0.8464 5-11/175 10/10/21 Apopka FL WSU only reporterd Power 5 offer
Hudson Cedarland** LB ✯✯✯ 0.8449 6-4/220 6/21/21 Gig Harbor WA 247Sports rates him as a borderline 4-star
Nusi Malani** DL ✯✯✯ 0.8444 6-6/275 12/29/21 San Bruno CA Transfer from Virginia w/ 4 to play 3
Jakobus Seth* OL ✯✯✯ 0.8355 6-4/280 6/28/21 Lakewood WA Rated as a DL, also offered by OSU
Leyton Smithson* DB ✯✯✯ 0.8355 6-2/180 11/23/21 Bellingham WA Rated as a WR, headed for safety
Bryce Grays* DB ✯✯✯ 0.8154 5-11/190 11/17/21 Richmond TX WSU only reporterd Power 5 offer
Sam Lockett III** DB ✯✯✯ 0.8131 6-1/205 12/15/21 Spokane WA Two seasons at Utah State before JUCO, 2 to play 2
*Signed letter of intent / **Signed letter of intent and will enroll early

Signing Day Media

LINKS

'A lot of guys in this state really fit what we want to do': Washington State's 10-man recruiting class features local flavor | Washington State University | khq.com
PULLMAN – Newly hired head coach Jake Dickert made sure to fill his “foundational class” with local flavor.

Cougar Football Adds 10 on Early Signing Day - Washington State University Athletics
WSU added 10 players Wednesday morning.

'We've got to get our minds right': Washington State lets 18-point lead slip in loss to New Mexico State | Washington State University | nbcrightnow.com
PULLMAN – Building a lead doesn’t seem to be an issue for Washington State.

Game-tying three off the mark as WSU falls to New Mexico State - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Sir'Jabari Rice scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half as New Mexico State steadily eroded a double-digit Washington State lead to come

Jehlarova Third Team, Timmer Honorable Mention AVCA All-Americans - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – For the first time since 2018 Washington State Volleyball saw multiple Cougs take home American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors

Women's Basketball Game at Cornell Canceled - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State women's basketball game scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 19, at Cornell has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols

The degenerate’s guide to betting the outer fringes of bowl season
The game that is always 1000 percent uglier than its surroundings: The Sun Bowl

Grading the 2021-22 college football coaching hires - Orlando Sentinel
The Cougars promoted Dickert from interim to full-time coach after stepping in midseason for Nick Rolovich. He led the Cougars to a 3-2 record down the stretch, including a win over rival Washington while helping the program earn its first bowl appearance since 2019. Grade: B+

Pac-12 women’s basketball power ratings: Stanford and Arizona are easy calls for top spots – Daily News
4. Washington State (8-1)

Max Borghi, former Pomona High School star, declares for NFL Draft
Four years ago, Max Borghi was wrestling with his college decision. He had committed to play at Washington State, but Stanford came in late with a scholarship offer to give Borghi serious pause.