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Early Signing Period wrap up: What’s done for WSU? What’s left to do?

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Let’s do a quick reset of where we stand.

NCAA Football: San Jose State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Early Signing Period that opened on Wednesday comes to a close today, so now seems like a good time to take stock of just where the Washington State Cougars’ 2019 recruiting class sits.

Let’s recap.

Who’s signed

WSU has picked up letters of intent from 20 players, which represents the vast majority of those who were committed. That includes a pair of holdovers from the 2018 class who grayshirted (Rocky Katoanga and Gatlin Grisso), and a surprise signing from a juco DB on Tuesday. Here they are, ordered by rating:

2019 Early Signings

Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247)
Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247)
Jamir Thomas RB ✯✯✯ 0.8750 6-1/215
Travion Brown LB ✯✯✯ 0.8748 6-3/215
Gunner Cruz QB ✯✯✯ 0.8607 6-4.5/215
Bryce Beekman DB ✯✯✯ 0.8582 6-2/190
Jouvensly Bazile RB ✯✯✯ 0.8540 5-10/180
Patrick Utschinski OL ✯✯✯ 0.8537 6-7/280
Billy Pospisil WR ✯✯✯ 0.8463 5-11/190
Armauni Archie DB ✯✯✯ 0.8456 6-1/175
Tyler Garay-Harris DL ✯✯✯ 0.8444 6-5/230
Donovan Ollie WR ✯✯✯ 0.8431 6-3/205
Peni Naulu LB ✯✯✯ 0.8423 6-1/210
Rocky Katoanga LB ✯✯✯ 0.8366 6-2/205
Konner Gomness OL ✯✯✯ 0.8364 6-4/270
Cosmas Kwete DL ✯✯✯ 0.8215 6-3/220
Daniel Isom DB ✯✯✯ 0.8200 5-10/180
Shahman Moore DB ✯✯✯ 0.8200 6-0/170
Ma'ake Fifita OL ✯✯✯ 0.8104 6-5/250
Derrick Langford DB ✯✯✯ 0.8100 6-2/185
Gatlin Grisso DB ✯✯✯ 0.8072 6-1/185
Simon Samarzich LS ✯✯✯ 0.8043 6-0/200

Who flipped

WSU did lose one recruit on Wednesday: Defensive tackle Dejon Benton, who defected to the USC Trojans. Any flip is irritating, but this one is particularly so — Benton was the only interior defensive lineman in the class after fellow defensive tackle Nassir Sims decommitted/maybe had his offer pulled a couple of weeks ago.

It appeared WSU might have been close to losing cornerback Armauni Archie to the California Golden Bears, but he ended up sending in his letter around lunch time.

Who’s still committed but unsigned

There are a trio of players who have pledged to play for WSU but haven’t sent in their letters:

2019 As Yet Unsigned

Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247)
Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247)
Dontae Powell OL ✯✯✯ 0.8582 6-5/314
Don Chapman DB ✯✯✯ 0.8526 6-2/185
Hunter Hill OL ✯✯✯ 0.8397 6-6/275

Powell is a junior college recruit who was committed to WSU two years ago out of Richland before encountering qualification roadblocks. He was reportedly set to sign early, but then Cougfan reported a couple of days ago that “it turns out he has one more class to take at Arizona Western to receive his AA degree.” Powell says he’ll sign in February and arrive this summer; your level of faith in that eventual outcome might vary.

Chapman is a guy who flipped from the Colorado Buffaloes to WSU in the wake of Mike MacIntyre’s firing. So, it’s not hugely surprising that he might be wavering on his commitment to WSU:

I haven’t seen any reporting on exactly what’s going down with Chapman, but I think the easiest and simplest conclusion is that new CU coach Mel Tucker — a former defensive coordinator — is trying to get Chapman back into the fold. It’s also possible a bigger school has thrown an offer at him late, a la Benton.

Hill, meanwhile, is a little puzzling. He had his official visit to WSU last weekend, was expected to sign, and there’s no indication from his Twitter or any of the local papers that he’s wavering — his pinned Tweet is still that of his commitment to WSU.

Chapman and Hill could each sign before the end of the day. Or, they could surprise us by signing with someone else. Or, they could simply wait until the regular signing period, which begins on February 6.

Work left to do

Here’s how the class looks right now in terms of scholarship allocation, building off the numbers in Scott’s big board from Monday:

2019 Class Scholarship Accounting

Position Expected Signed Committed Remaining to recruit
Position Expected Signed Committed Remaining to recruit
QB 1 1 0 0
RB 2 2 0 0
WR 3 2 0 1
OL 5 3 2 0
DT 1 0 0 1
DE 2 2 0 0
LB 3 3 0 0
DB 7 6 1 0
ST 1 1 0 0
Total 25 20 3 2

The only real change here from Monday is a shift of a scholarship from defensive tackle to defensive back, given the signing of Shahman Moore. And with Benton gone, I think it would be optimistic to imagine WSU signing two defensive tackles. I think everyone would be pretty excited for one.

That means WSU has two scholarships to offer, and we’d guess those are going to be used on a defensive tackle and wide receiver, given that it’s easy to imagine Leach’s eye twitching at the idea of only signing two receivers.

That said, it wouldn’t be shocking if WSU took a “best player available” mentality; other than defensive tackle, there really aren’t any needs in this class that aren’t filled, and we are all well aware of how big of a pain DT can be in recruiting, let alone this late in the game.

The other wildcard is what happens with the two unsigned offensive linemen. If Hill flips and something happens with Powell — not unthinkable, given the history there — they would almost certainly not be content with three offensive linemen. Would they go for two more? Settle for four in this class? They’ve taken 20 in the last three years, which could cut either way — maybe they’re still shooting for at least five, or maybe they feel ok taking just four this year.

Additionally, if Chapman signs elsewhere, it’s entirely possible WSU is content with the six DBs it has signed and uses that scholarship elsewhere.

OK, one other thing: There’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter about whether WSU would sign another grad transfer to play quarterback. If they do that, you’ve got to believe that WSU is OK with having six quarterbacks on scholarship next year. I suppose it’s possible, but that seems like a bad use of resources in pursuit of something that’s incredibly rare — the list of grad transfer QBs that have worked out spectacularly begins with Russell Wilson and ends with Gardner Minshew II and maybe includes Vernon Adams Jr.’s injury-riddled season in between. Going back to that well again seems awfully risky.

We’ll update this if something moves with Hill and Chapman today.

UPDATE: Neither Hill nor Chapman had signed by the end of the early period.