Quarterback Tyler Hilinski is officially the first member of the 2015 WSU football recruiting class, according an announcement on Twitter. The signing has since been confirmed by WSU.
The consensus three-star prospect from Upland (California) High School product took advantage of a relatively new rule interpretation by the NCAA that allows students who are on track to graduate early to sign well in advance of national signing day in February and subsequently enroll in spring semester. Current freshman wide receiver Calvin Green took advantage of the same opportunity last November.
For what it's worth, Rivals rates Hilinski four stars and ranks him as the 10th best pro-style quarterback in the country. Hilinski is a strong-armed quarterback who reminds some of Connor Halliday in his stature and style.
Back in June, Hilinski expressed a lot of excitement about the possibility to come in and man the Air Raid.
"It's awesome. It's nice to be done and to be going to Washington State it's a great feeling," he told Rivals' Adam Gorney. "I know they want me there, that's my place, I want to be there and I don't have to worry about it. I can now get my guys focused on the season so it's awesome.
"You want to go somewhere where you're really liked and you feel wanted. With Washington State, I felt like that was the place for me."
From a program standpoint, this is an excellent development for WSU, which has lost a pair of quarterbacks (Austin Apodaca and Tyler Bruggman) to transfer in the past six months, leaving the Cougs with only sophomore walk-on Luke Falk and true freshman Peyton Bender as backups to Halliday.
The quarterback competition to succeed Halliday should be wide open, and with a semester in school, a full set of spring practices under his belt, and no clear succession plan in place ... there's a chance Hilinski could wedge himself into the starting conversation immediately.
If nothing else, it means he'll have gained some valuable experience to draw from, should he be called upon.