Happy Early Signing Day, Coug fans!
Today marks the opening for prospective players to submit their letters of intent. We’ve already given a rundown on exciting linebacker transfer Devin Richardson, who heads up to Pullman from University of Texas, read more here in case you missed it!
So far, Washington State has 21 letters of intent signed, and one more commit who has yet to file his letter. Starting the day at 21, compared to the 11 to kick off last year, is already a move in a promising direction. We’ve seen quite the thinning out from the defensive side as the season ends, so it’s unsurprising to see a few LBs and defensive lineman/defensive backs getting offers.
However, the focus hasn’t solely been on defense. The higher ranging recruits are two big men on the offensive line- Noah Dunham and Eliesa Pole. Pole stands at an intimidating 6’7”, 320 pounds- flanked by Dunham, at 6’5” 275. Both lineman range on the upper end of three stars, with more information about their journey to the Palouse below!
We’ll be updating as more letters roll in, but for now, let’s get to know the future Cougs!
*Star rating reflects 247 Sports’ composite ranking, and links back to their 247 Sports recruiting profile.
Letter of Intent Received:
The highest rated commit in the class has the prototypical build for an Air Raid style lineman. Quick off the line, Dunham shows good agility for a big man, pulling across formation often and releasing up to the second level. Good finisher once he gets his hands on the defender. Has the frame to fill out and projects to tackle.
Pole should be a plug-and-play juco transfer, considering offensive line was a weakness for the 2022 season as well as the losses to eligibility and the portal. The big man is imposing, and if he gets his hands on you, it’s game over. Is a touch slow off the line and will need to improve his first step to handle Pac-12 edges.
Wilson is a downhill safety whose highlight reel consists mainly of him cleaning up tackles in the box or at the linebacker level. Good athleticism overall, showing decent recovery speed in the backfield. Could project as an Armani Marsh type of hybrid linebacker/safety with some development.
Smith is strongest in press coverage, with solid technique and quick hips to maintain leverage and stay in phase with the receiver. Plays the ball very well in the air, with a knack for attacking the ball at its highest point. Good straight line speed to recover and stay over the top of a vertical route.
Playing from the slot, Hernandez uses his above average speed to run away from defenders. Very good at taking a bubble screen and making it a big play, but also adept at exploiting space in the middle of the field. Should compete relatively quickly at the slot position, and could also contribute in special teams.
The true definition of the “athlete” tag, Pulalasi played about seven different positions on both sides of the ball while at Lakes High School. And he was pretty good at all of them. Primarily listed as a running back and linebacker, he ran the ball with a linebacker’s mentality. Doesn’t have top end speed, but he’s fast enough, and it’s tough to bring him down with just one tackler.
Colson is a technically sound corner that is equally comfortable in zone coverage and in man-to-man. Maintains good leverage on the receiver and has a quick change of direction to react to routes and the ball in the air. Comes in with three seasons of eligibility to develop, but should see the field well before that.
Another “athlete” that could end up playing a few different positions based on need and development. On the offensive side of the ball, Leckner projects to an H-back style of tight end, with good hands, above average speed, and great balance to bounce off tacklers. On defense, he projects as a linebacker with good instincts in the run game.
Sheffield is a slot receiver through and through. Quick twitch ability in his cuts, very decisive around defenders, high acceleration and top-end speed. He also is above average in the return game and could contribute immediately there. Very similar in build and style to Renard Bell.
Another big man with the prototypical Air Raid lineman frame, Pritchard played both sides of the ball and was a force as a 3-tech defensive tackle. Projects to an offensive tackle and will eventually be a starter, but may need some time to develop technique. Good feet and long reach, but plays a little high in his stance.
Hills brings even more speed to the slot position, with a 10.77 100-meter dash time (if you’re not a high school track person, that’s fast). Good hands in traffic and has the agility to make defenders miss, with the breakaway speed to be a threat to score once he does.
The quarterback for this class is going to need some time to develop at the D1 level, but has the potential to be a quality starter. Potter throws a very accurate ball, and his arm strength is good enough to hit a 12-15 yard out from the opposite hash. Not a fantastic athlete, but good enough and a willing runner. Has some technique issues with his footwork and release could be quickened.
Gushiken isn’t overly fast, but he’s very quick at the point of attack and plays with a low center of gravity helping him have a lightning quick change of direction. He may project to a safety because of his lack of elite speed and his style of play.
With the struggles on the offensive line, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot coming to the Palouse in this recruiting class. Tripp again fits the profile with his size. He has a wingspan that seems even longer than his 6’7” frame, and above average agility for his size.
Gates has a very quick first step at the line, plays with a low center of gravity, and has a very strong drive block. Because of all those factors, and his relatively smaller frame, he likely projects to a guard, or possibly center, down the line. Good initial strike at point of contact, will need to work on maintaining contact on target.
Din-Mbuh’s best asset on the interior is his quickness. His hands are on the offensive lineman in a hurry, giving him the advantage. Good hand play as well, with the ability to shed blockers and redirect very quickly. Has a tendency to stay blocked if his speed is negated, but with some work, could be a very disruptive 1-tech defensive tackle.
Davis is going to be a bit of a project at corner. His length is an asset, but his speed and quickness leave something to be desired. Quality of competition is a concern as well. That being said, he does show a knack for playing the ball in the air and separating the ball from the receiver. May project to free safety based on that and body type.
Faavae is a hitter, plain and simple. He diagnoses plays in the run game fairly well, but once he finds the runner, his closing speed jumps off the tape at you. And when he makes contact, it is not a little bit of contact. He strikes with his whole body. He’ll need some time to adjust to the speed of the Pac-12 and refine his technique, but if his technique catches up to his ferocity, look out.
Laufau has the building blocks in place to produce as an interior defensive lineman, but will take some time to develop. He was double teamed quite often at the high school level, and struggled at times to get himself off of those blocks. Good nose for the ball when he is able to find a gap.
Hall may be able to step in and play right away. Good man press technique at the line of scrimmage and the speed to stay on top of a vertical route. Good attack on the ball and fight through the receiver’s hands. Zone turn technique could see some better footwork, but as a boundary corner he should be able to contribute.
Bohannon will be another work in progress at linebacker. He has good size and seems to have good instincts in the run game. His speed leaves something to be desired at the Pac-12 level, and his coverage technique and zone drops will need quite a bit of work to be effective against offenses at this level.
A pure edge rusher, Terrell has a long and lean build that he uses to maintain space to work around offensive tackles. More of a speed rusher than a power end, his frame and style of play looks very similar to Brennan Jackson’s early years on the Palouse, and that type of career is likely his ceiling. Will need to work on getting off of blocks against bigger offensive tackles.
- Jailen Ruth | LB, ✯✯✯ (0.8622) | 6’3 / 195 | Hawthorne, FL
- Jalen Gilbert | S, ✯✯✯ (0.8578) | 6’1 / 185 | Round Rock, TX
- Theorin Randle | DL, ✯✯✯ (0.8467) | 6’1 / 282 | Pearland, TX
- Deago Benson | RB, ✯✯✯ (0.8444) | 6’ / 200 | Midlothian, TX
- Brandon Hawkins | WR | 5’11 / 185 | Corsicana, TX
- Sam Leavitt |QB, ✯✯✯ (0.8872) | 6’1 / 185 | West Linn, OR