A week after a visit to Washington State and immediately following a weekend in Salt Lake City with Utah, wide receiver Barry Ware became the latest player to verbally commit as he went Crimson on Sunday, according to Braulio Perez at Cougfan.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Ware is a 3-star prospect according to Rivals. His ranking differs between the recruiting services with 247sports the highest on him. They have him ranked as a 4-star prospect and the No. 38 wide receiver in the country. Ware committed to WSU over reported offers from Fresno State, Utah and UCLA. He was once a UCLA commit, giving a verbal pledge in March. He opened things up in late November and the Cougars made a strong run at him.
In WSU's offense, Ware projects as an outside receiver and likely has a future at the X receiver spot. He has terrific size for a high school prospect. He's not only tall, but relatively stout. Build wise, he's much closer to a Kristoff Williams or Vince Mayle than he is a Dom Williams or Marquess Wilson. While size isn't an issue, the big question with Ware is speed. According to his ESPN recruiting profile, he was clocked at 4.86 seconds in a 40-yard dash at a testing event. Watching his Hudl highlights, he appears to be much faster than that. They are highlights, so you're not going to see him getting run down by a defensive end, but he doesn't appear to be lacking speed. He often blows by defensive backs and is used on kickoff return. Maybe he's just one of those players who's game speed is much better than his timed speed.
Blocking is a major part of playing wide receiver for WSU and there are a couple of clips of Ware dominating his opponent. He may not be River Cracraft in that department, but good effort blocking will help get him on the field early. With the depth WSU has at wide receiver, I'd be very surprised to see Ware play next year. Instead, he'll likely redshirt, learn from the upper classman and slot in behind Dom Williams at the X spot in 2015. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he's competing for a starting job in 2016.
SB Nation's Derrell Warren filed a scouting report on Ware in the spring and was very high on his future prospects. Here's a sampling of what he had to say:
Ware is playmaker and a gamer with good playing speed. Though he's somewhat of a long strider, he's explosive off the line and eats up cushion quickly due to good turnover of his strides. While I'm unsure about his measured speed, the fact that he consistently separates from pursuers once the ball is in his hands is what's important.
Ware possess the upside to be a multi-year starter who could eventually mature into a plus level No. 1 receiver as he expands his route tree and gains addition muscle.
With his commitment, Ware becomes the fifth (sixth if you count Sebastian LaRue) wide receiver in the 2014 class. Calvin Green is already enrolled while Zaire Andre, Keith Harrington and Ronald Monroe are also committed. Green and Harrington profile as inside receivers while Andre could likely play inside or outside. Monroe is similar to Ware in a lot of ways, but his commitment isn't 100 percent. He reportedly took an official visit to Utah State this weekend and has upcoming trips planned to San Jose State and BYU.
Regardless of Monroe's status, WSU needed to take a few wide receivers in this class. Including Green, the Cougars currently have 10 scholarship wide receivers on the roster. Four graduate next year with three more done in 2015. That leaves only Green, Cracraft and Robert Lewis as scholarship receivers in 2016. Adding a few in this class will give them at least two seasons before they are thrust into significant action.
The Cougars are finishing the 2014 recruiting cycle strong with Ware becoming the latest piece to the puzzle.