The first Wednesday in February used to be the biggest day of the football recruiting calendar, but since the early signing day in December was enacted, today has taken a clear back seat, as most schools now sign most of their recruits before the calendar turns to the new year. The Washington State Cougars are no exception.
Still, there was a tiny bit of action today for WSU, as a long-time commit finally put ink to paper:
Scouting report: Another long, tall receiver that projects to the outside for the Run and Shoot. Nunnally runs the deep vertical routes and the inside screens equally well, and runs away from defenders with the ball in his hands. Good instincts on the line to get off and away from a press defender.
There was one other commit who could have signed today: Lolani Langi, a three-star linebacker from Utah who originally signed with Boise State in 2019 but delayed enrollment to embark on a two-year Mormon mission. He has confirmed with multiple media outlets that he’s in Pullman and preparing for spring ball, however, WSU did not announce his signing today.
The Cougars did take the opportunity today, however, to pump up and celebrate a trio of transfers who had been previously announced: former TCU linebacker Ben Wilson, former Michigan State defensive back Chris Jackson, and former Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano.
All three will obviously be contending for immediate playing time.
The four signings announced today bring the number of scholarships awarded in 2021 to 23. Langi is still expected to make it 24, which means WSU should have one more scholarship to play with. Here’s to betting coach Nick Rolovich is going to keep it in his pocket for a while to use on an impact transfer who might come available.
The class currently ranks 60th nationally and 9th in the Pac-12 based on the 20 non-transfer signings, which is a drop from 55th last season. However, the average composite ratings of the recruits is 0.8425, which is nearly identical to last season. This doesn’t include the commitment of Langi, whose high school rating was 0.8700, or the signings of the transfers, whose high school ratings would have put them at the top of any WSU recruiting class: 0.9628 for Guarantano (4-star), 0.8784 for Jackson (3-star), and 0.8748 for Wilson (3-star).
While Guarantano hasn’t exactly played like a high-4-star recruit in his career, it’s possible the talent is in there somewhere, and the other two have certainly shown that their high school ratings were justified in their brief careers before they decided to pursue other opportunities. Even though it’s not reflected in the recruiting rankings, these three add to the recruiting class in a big way.
And in case you need a reminder, here are all the guys who signed back in December. Thoughts on the class as a whole? Drop them in the comments below.
A smooth, long strider, Moore will come to the Palouse as a very polished outside receiver. Very soft hands and plays with a low center of gravity despite his height. Moore is at his best on the vertical stem routes, where he simply runs away from defenders while the ball is in the air.
Ward has great pocket presence, with the ability to manipulate space to find a throwing angle. Has a bit of a three-quarters release, reminiscent of Rich Gannon, but the ball comes out with pace. Very accurate on mid-range throws and shows good anticipation on routes and the ability to throw his receivers open.
Barthiel has prototypical size for an outside linebacker, and couples that with athleticism that allows him to play well in space against smaller, quicker players. Shows good coverage ability in the flats, and closes very quickly on ball carriers and finishes well. Plays strong through contact on blockers.
Hicks lined up at cornerback during his high school career, but will likely transition to safety at the next level due to his physical tools. Strong and aggressive tackler, and is a ball hawk when the ball is in the air. Breaks to the point of attack quickly and smoothly.
Stevenson is a long, lanky pass rusher off the edge. His game is speed, and he is at his best with a wide alignment and a straight line to the quarterback. Will need to spend some time in the dining hall to match up with Pac-12 tackles.
Edson comes ready-made as an edge pass rusher with a variety of tools at his disposal. Good hand-fighting to keep offensive lineman off him, and strong enough in the upper body to bull rush and dispose of blockers. High motor player, and quick enough to chase down running backs on the edge.
Young plays through blocks very well, with solid upper body strength through extended arms and hand-fighting. Able to dictate point of attack to the offensive lineman in front of him. With those skills, may end up playing on the interior if he can put on some weight.
Gusta is very quick at the point of attack, getting off the line and into or past blockers with a burst. Very athletic in the interior, could potentially play as a 3-technique or on the outside. Pad level tends to get high in space, but his strong upper body allows him to play through contact.
Peters looks exactly like the quartet of receivers currently roaming the Palouse, and has a similar play style. Very smooth, effortless runner who gets to top speed in a hurry. Exceptionally good in the screen game out of the slot.
The middle Mauigoa brother is a strong, physical outside linebacker. A punishing tackler, he plays behind his pads with a low center of gravity. Good burst to the edge to chase down ball carriers, and does well in space on his zone drops.
Carrell’s size is the first thing that is apparent on his film. Likely to end up on the interior based on that size and his strength. Was also athletic enough to line up at outside receiver for his high school team. Will need to improve lateral quickness against Power 5 competition.
Dieu’s physicality jumps off the tape. Virtually every highlight has him demolishing a poor defender, most of them several yards in the defensive backfield. Great lateral quickness as well, often pulling across formation from the tackle position. Given his relatively smaller size, projects to the interior. Given his Ivy League offers, a candidate to play center.
Meredith plays the ball well in the air, and is comfortable catching the ball in traffic. A physical receiver that plays bigger than his listed size and finishes runs through contact. Primarily played in the slot in high school, but may project to the outside in the Run and Shoot.
Another long, slender edge rusher, Falatea shows good quickness off the line at the snap and an ability to sift through clutter to find the ball carrier. Finishes tackles well. Undersized for the Power 5 level, but has the frame to gain some muscle mass.
Shepherd is a linebacker in a defensive back’s body; once he reads run, he comes flying downhill and is very good at filling gaps and laying the lumber on running backs. Shows decent range in pass coverage, but will need to smooth out his zone drops.
Hillborn played in a double wing, triple option style of offense in SLC, so he’ll need to learn to pass set one he comes to campus. Drive blocks well, and is good at locating smaller defenders on the second level. Has a little bit of nasty to his game.
Kershaw spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball with his hand on the ground, so the transition to playing in space will be important. Physically looks the part of a Power 5 linebacker, with good closing speed to the ball carrier.
Not as fast in a straight line as other receivers in this recruiting class, Stribling makes up for it with his physicality and strength. Tacklers seem to just fall off him. Will need to improve quickness off the line, and runs a little far over his toes, but a solid receiver in traffic.