Good morning, and welcome to early Christmas! The football season isn’t even actually over yet, but the Early Signing Period for the 2019 recruiting class gets underway today, as players who have committed to WSU are now eligible to send in letters of intent to secure their scholarships for next season.
They have until Friday to send them in, but most will do it today, and in the case of the Washington State Cougars, we really do mean most — WSU has 21 players committed, and it’s expected that nearly all of them will formalize that commitment today with signed paperwork.
The Cougs don’t have any four-star players committed, but their average recruit rating in the 247Sports composite system is the highest yet under Mike Leach — the class is loaded with mid- to upper-three-star recruits.
The highest rated players in the class are Jamir Thomas, a bruising running back from Massillon, Ohio; Travion Brown, an outside linebacker from Temecula, Calif.; and Gunner Cruz, a quarterback from Queen Creek, Ariz. While Cruz probably won’t be in line to try and win the vacant QB job in the fall, both Thomas and Brown (who is rated four stars by 247Sports own evaluators) stand to play immediately. All three are expected to sign today.
If you haven’t yet had a chance, here are a couple of posts for you to peruse:
We’ll update this post as the school announces each player’s signing. Discuss the class as it unfolds below!
4:43 a.m. - Jamir Thomas signs
Our first NLI is in!!! Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @Jigg_Galor! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/6PAvtdvsHe— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Thomas, rated as a high-three-star prospect by 247sports and Rivals, had an impressive offer list including the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Iowa St. Cyclones, Minnesota Golden Gophers and West Virginia Mountaineers.
The 6-foot-1/215-pounder was the 27th ranked inside linebacker in the country, but WSU’s apparent willingness to let him play running back may be one of the reasons he is heading west. Thomas rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns this year so he is certainly a promising offensive prospect as well.
6:12 a.m. - Gunner Cruz signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @GunnerCruz! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/owemK8NVVr— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Cruz picked the Cougs over offers from numerous other teams, including the Arizona State Sun Devils, Baylor Bears, Syracuse Orange, SMU Mustangs, and a host of Ivy League institutions.
More like the traditional WSU QBs of yore, Cruz has a big arm and just enough mobility in the pocket. He was the second commit to the class.
6:13 a.m. - Billy Pospisil signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @billy_pospisil! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/jlxh7LFOxx— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
At this point, Pospisil is best known for being the high school teammate of WSU running back Max Borghi. But he also was the first commit to the 2019 class, announcing his intention to come to Pullman just a few weeks after signing day wrapped up last February.
Pospisil’s offer sheet is pretty unimpressive — just a trio of FCS schools sit alongside WSU, but that’s most likely due to Pospisil’s early commitment. What you see when you watch the video is a guy who is shifty and quick in and out of his breaks without losing a lot of speed ... pretty much the prototypical Leach inside wide receiver.
6:20 a.m. - Gatlin Grisso signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @gatlingrisso! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/C0iivOqgKX— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Grisso is a grayshirt who picked WSU over offers from Harvard, Louisiana-Monroe, UMass, Texas State, Southern Miss, Yale and several others. He suffered an ACL injury midway through his senior year and delayed enrollment.
As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder played running back and safety for Aubrey, tallying 1,803 scrimmage yards and 28 touchdowns, though he’ll play safety when he arrives on the Palouse. As a safety, Grisso piled up 90 tackles, eight pass breakups and picked off three passes. He also returned a punt for a score.
Grisso is a pure athlete, clocking in the 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash and leaping 37” in the vertical. He was named the District 5-4A MVP as a junior and was second team all-state as a safety.
6:19 a.m. - Rocky Katoanga signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @RKatoanga! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/hfNy6rI6Zc— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Katoanga is a grayshirt who originally signed a year ago. He delayed his enrollment for a year because of a medical procedure with one of his knees. At the time, he held offers from a couple of western midmajors, the Boise State Broncos and Hawaii Warriors, and also the Navy Midshipmen.
6:41 a.m. - Bryce Beekman signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @BeekmanBryce! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/xt8U7CVytv— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Beekman is one of a handful of juco defensive backs in this class, and is the highest ranked of all of them. He picked WSU over offers from the Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Hawaii Warriors, and figures to compete for playing time immediately.
6:41 a.m. - Daniel Isom signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @Up_Like7! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/lCkHAqWpJx— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Isom didn’t have any other reported offers, but he was a low three-star recruit out of high school when he signed with the Northern Illinois Huskies in 2016.
Isom played as a true freshman for NIU, making six starts and playing in 10 games total, recording six pass breakups and 41 tackles. It appears he was injured in 2017, taking a redshirt season, before transferring to IWCC.
Isom is a player who will be in the mix to compete for playing time right away. WSU is losing two of its top three corners to graduation. Based on his junior college highlights, Isom looks fast and aggressive.
7:08 a.m. - Patrick Utschinski signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @utschinski! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/chvlbMB91d— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Utschinski might be the best kept secret in the entire class — the 6’7” 280-pound offensive lineman has a Hudl film that ends with most of his opponents on their back, and 247Sports’ evaluators rated him a four-star prospect.
Utschinski, who committed early in his senior year, picked the Cougars over an offer from the Oregon State Beavers as well as a slew of FCS schools.
7:12 a.m. - Donovan Ollie signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @Donovan_ollie24! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/LOrLKoVRvv— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Ollie has no problem getting the separation he needs from the secondary and blowing past the safeties to score. His height is another advantage he has and knows how to use going over the top of many defenders in his Hudl highlight tape.
Ollie chose the Cougs over offers from the Boston College Eagle, Iowa St, Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Utah Utes, Utah State Aggies, Wyoming Cowboys, and a few others.
7:17 a.m. - Ma’ake Fifita signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, #MaakeFifita! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/sHuAPRBeka— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
A surprise commit just recently, Fifita also possessed an offer from the Air Force Falcons, with the California Golden Bears and BYU Cougars sniffing around, according to Cougfan.com.
Fifita is exceptionally light for an offensive line recruit and his commitment underscores what seems to be a clear shift in emphasis under offensive line coach Mason Miller toward taller guys with projectable frames.
7:28 a.m. - Simon Samarzich signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @TheRealSiSam! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/g7mgIgubXz— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Samarzich is a highly unusual commit: He’s coming to WSU as a long snapper. Those sorts of players normally earn scholarships later in their career after coming to campus as a walk-on, so special teams coach Matt Brock must think very highly of Samarzich.
Maybe one reason why? Samarzich is actually a pretty good athlete!
7:29 a.m. - Travion Brown signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @tre_brown82! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/7ummDwVd9O— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Brown is rated as a three-star recruit by the 247Sports composite metric, but their own evaluators actually rated him as a four-star talent. He has listed offers from a couple of big-time programs in the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies, and a slew of offers from solid Power 5s such as the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Syracuse Orange, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Utah Utes, Arizona Wildcats, and Colorado Buffaloes, as well as a bunch of midmajors.
Brown has excellent size at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. He’s also got excellent speed — he plays wide receiver on offense. As you might expect, it’s a combination which provides some big hits on the field.
7:31 a.m. - Cosmas Kwete signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @CosmasKwete! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/TIOBIBvao4— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Cosmas Kwete is a three-star defensive lineman from Phoenix Central High School. Kwete’s story is a superb one: he and his brother are both committed to D-1 schools (his brother is heading to play for the Massachusetts Minutemen); having both arrived in the United States from a Zimbabwe refugee camp, neither had been on a football field prior to three years ago. Kwete is certainly raw, but at 6’3”, 220 pounds, the physical size is there. He has a lot of experience playing rugby.
Kwete chose Washington State over offers from Wyoming, UNLV, Idaho, and UMass, among several others.
7:50 a.m. - Tyler Garay-Harris signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @tylano1! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/Y1YyXb5n7f— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Garay-Harris, who hails from Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., chose WSU over offers from the Utah Utes, Arizona State Sun Devils and UNLV Rebels. His lead recruiter was Darcel McBath.
Standing 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Garay-Harris looks like a prime candidate to add another 30 or 40 pounds and play either defensive tackle or end for WSU — currently the spots primarily held down by Logan Tago and Nick Begg. There had been some talk in his recruitment that maybe some schools were looking at him as a linebacker, but his highlights suggest that with added strength, he could be a force on the line:
8:17 a.m. - Konner Gomness signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @konner_gomness! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/AmCNMabdHo— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Gomness had an offer from the Louisville Cardinals as well as numerous Mountain West schools, including the hometown Fresno State Bulldogs. Fits the Mason Miller mold of athletic with a projectable frame.
9:09 a.m. - Peni Naulu signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @peniboi45! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/lnd4uqGCn1— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
The very first thing that will jump out to WSU fans is that Naulu’s offer list is eye-popping relative to what we typically see from a Cougar commit: In addition to the usual suspects such as the California Golden Bears, Nebraska Cornhuskers, and Oregon State Beavers, Naulu also holds offers from the Washington Huskies, Oregon Ducks, and UCLA Bruins.
In watching his highlights, his ability to track down ball carriers and make a sure tackle — even in space — sticks out. And while he’s listed as an outside linebacker, he certainly looks like someone who could easily (inevitably?) bulk up and end up as an inside linebacker.
9:57 a.m. - Jouvensly Bazile signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @jouvensly6! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/87LmEwY9rO— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Aside from WSU, Bazile’s notable scholarship offers are from the Nebraska Cornhuskers, North Carolina Tar Heels and Pittsburgh Panthers.
Bazile appears to already posses the multi-dimensional skillset that Leach looks for in running backs. In each of the last two seasons, Bazile recorded more than 380 yards rushing and 250 receiving. He also returned kicks and punts for Golden Gate High School.
In addition to football, Bazile was a standout in his most recent track season. He ran a season best 10.90 in the 100 yard dash and set a new personal record with 23’ 3.5 in the long jump.
11:32 a.m. - Armauni Archie signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @Young_Arch24!#GoCougs | #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/dJcSUmSubY— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
The 2019 athlete hails from El Cerrito High School in California—the same school that produced former Cougar DB Marcellus Pippins. The Cougs beat out a handful of Mountain West schools in Nevada, San Jose State, and Wyoming, as well as Nebraska to land Archie’s commitment.
There was a tiny bit of drama around Archie, as he tweeted this morning that Cal had extended an offer. But he ended up signing around lunchtime.
1:56 p.m. - Derrick Langford signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @5Dlang #GoCougs | #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/zCIh4w5RB4— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 19, 2018
Carrying scholarship offers from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Hawaii Warriors, Derrick Langford comes to Washington State from City College of San Francisco, which also brought Easop Winston Jr., Anthony Gordon, Robert Valencia and Robert Taylor to the Palouse.
Langford is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds by 247Sports, and he’s reported to have been a full qualifier out of high school, which means he’d have four years to play three seasons. It also means that he’s eligible to enroll at WSU for second semester and participate in spring practices.
3:53 p.m., Dec. 20 - Shahman Moore signs
Welcome to the WSU Cougar Family, @Shahman_1! #GoCougs #JoinTheHunt pic.twitter.com/OpW78DY2me— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) December 20, 2018
Moore is a late addition to the 2019 class — his commitment was only known when he signed on Thursday. Moore is in the mold of a number of other DBs in this class: Tall and with long arms. He holds a pair of Mountain West offers from the Hawaii Warriors and San Diego State Aztecs.
Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s nothing, but WSU’s announcement lists him as a DB, which suggests that it’s undecided whether he lands at corner or safety. It appears Moore was a corner at his junior college, but just two years ago, he was 5-11 and 154 coming out of high school. WSU could be looking to beef him up even more.
Did not sign, but remain committed
Hill committed to WSU in the wake of the Cougars’ ESPN Gameday win over the Oregon Ducks. He fits the mold of WSU’s other offensive line recruits in this cycle: Athletic, big frame with plenty of room to add weight.
Hill has reported offers from the Vanderbilt Commodores and Virginia Cavaliers, as well as the Utah State Aggies and San Jose State Spartans.
Originally committed to the Colorado Buffaloes before they parted ways with Head Coach Mike MacIntyre, Chapman is a 6-foot-2 185 pound safety out of San Diego. He is considered one of the top 100 players in the state of California, and is rated as three stars by the 247sports composite metric. In addition to Colorado, he also boasted offers from the Arizona Wildcats, USC Trojans, and a host of MWC schools. He is WSU’s highest rated defensive back recruit. Here are some highlights of Chapman:
2019 WSU football recruiting commitments
|Player||Expected Pos.||247 Composite||Composite Value||NLI received?||Enrolled Early?||Measurables (via 247)||Commit Date||City||State||CougCenter Profile||Comments|
|Player||Expected Pos.||247 Composite||Composite Value||NLI received?||Enrolled Early?||Measurables (via 247)||Commit Date||City||State||CougCenter Profile||Comments|
|Travion Brown||LB||✯✯✯||0.8748||YES||NO||6-3/215||10/2/18||Temecula||CA||Link||Rated four stars by 247sports evaluators|
|Jamir Thomas||RB||✯✯✯||0.8676||YES||NO||6-1/215||11/27/18||Massillon||OH||Link||Ranked as a LB, converted to RB as a senior|
|Gunner Cruz||QB||✯✯✯||0.8607||YES||YES||6-4.5/215||5/31/18||Queen Creek||AZ||Link||Threw for 5700 yards and 70 TDs as soph/jr|
|Bryce Beekman||DB||✯✯✯||0.8582||YES||YES||6-2/190||11/20/18||Yuma||AZ||Link||Teammate of OL commit Dontae Powell|
|Jouvensly Bazile||RB||✯✯✯||0.8540||YES||NO||5-10/180||6/28/18||Naples||FL||Link||Has reportedly clocked 10.98 in 100 meters|
|Patrick Utschinski||OL||✯✯✯||0.8537||YES||NO||6-7/280||9/10/18||Walla Walla||WA||Link||Rated four stars by 247sports evaluators|
|Konner Gomness||OL||✯✯✯||0.8532||YES||NO||6-4/270||9/29/18||Fresno||CA||Link||Reported offer from Louisville and lots of midmajors|
|Billy Pospisil||WR||✯✯✯||0.8463||YES||YES||5-11/190||2/16/18||Arvada||CO||Attends same high school as 2018 signee Max Borghi|
|Armauni Archie||DB||✯✯✯||0.8456||YES||NO||6-1/175||10/12/18||El Cerrito||CA||Link||Chose WSU over an offer from Nebraska|
|Derrick Langford||DB||✯✯✯||0.8448||YES||YES||6-2/185||11/15/18||San Francisco||CA||Link||Juco who has four to play three|
|Tyler Garay-Harris||DL||✯✯✯||0.8444||YES||NO||6-5/230||11/4/18||Oakland||CA||Link||Offers from Utah and ASU|
|Donovan Ollie||WR||✯✯✯||0.8431||YES||NO||6-3/205||10/15/18||Wylie||TX||Link||Chose WSU over Iowa State and Utah|
|Peni Naulu||LB||✯✯✯||0.8423||YES||NO||6-1/210||9/6/18||Kapolei||HI||Link||Other offers: UW, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Nebraska|
|Cosmas Kwete||DL||✯✯✯||0.8418||YES||NO||6-3/220||11/5/18||Phoenix||AZ||Link||Inexperienced player, specialized in Rugby|
|Daniel Isom||DB||✯✯✯||0.8407||YES||YES||5-10/180||11/8/18||Council Bluffs||IA||Link||Played as a true freshman for NIU before transfer|
|Jimmy Price||OL||✯✯✯||0.8306||YES||NO||6-5/295||1/26/19||Houston||TX||Link||Picked WSU over Arizona State|
|Shahman Moore||DB||✯✯✯||0.8267||YES||YES||6-0/170||12/20/18||El Segundo||CA||Link||Two years of eligibility remaining|
|Ma'ake Fifita||OL||✯✯✯||0.8154||YES||NO||6-5/250||12/16/18||Snohomish||WA||Link||Staff targeted him as a center|
|Nicholas Sheetz||DL||✯✯✯||0.8072||YES||NO||6-3/253||2/3/19||Greenwood||SC||Link||Lightly recruited; offered PWO by Georgia|
|Simon Samarzich||LS||✯✯✯||0.8043||YES||NO||6-0/200||6/8/18||Upland||CA||Rated the top long snapper in the country|
|Gage Gubrud||QB||NA||YES||YES||6-2/205||1/26/19||Cheney||WA||Link||Grad transfer from EWU|