With signing day just two days away, the Washington State Cougars are hard at work, looking to round out a recruiting class that got off to a fast start. The Cougars' 2011 recruiting class is under the radar again, but fills needs as the program looks to take a step forward next season.
With all the speculation surrounding head coach Paul Wulff's job status throughout the 2010 season, the Cougars still managed to secure 24 commitments ahead of signing day, many of which came early in the recruitment process.
Cougs Take A Hit With Defections
It's hard enough to recruit players to Pullman, but keeping those gems gets even more difficult as signing day approaches. Twice in the last two weeks, the Cougs have lost prized recruits. To add insult to injury, both players ended up at Washington, where head coach Steve Sarkisian is putting together a solid recruiting class that sits just on the outside of the top-10.
Stephan Nembot, a lineman out of California, was the first to make the defect, switching his commitment to Washington on Jan. 20. Nembot has only been playing football for a short amount of time, but is the kind of raw prospect that can flourish given time to develop.
Nembot was followed by Bishop Sankey, the gem of Paul Wulff's recruiting class to that point. Sankey was the first player in the class of 2011 to commit to the Cougs, verballing to Wulff all the way back in December of 2009.
Washington State Heads To Florida
One of the surprises for Washington State this year was the emergence of a presence in Florida. The Cougars pulled four players from the state in the class of 2011, two of which came from the same high school. For a school that typically stays within the state of Washington to find recruits, the emphasis on Florida opened some eyes and left many fans scratching their heads.
The commitments came in bunches for Wulff, who saw all four Florida players commit within days of each other in June. Spencer Waseem, a cornerback from Apopka High School, was the first to commit, followed by three players from the Orlando area shortly thereafter. Three of those recruits -- Henry Eaddy, Isiah Meyers and Darryl Monroe -- are already in Pullman, having enrolled at the beginning of the spring semester.
It remains to be seen whether Florida is a viable recruiting option, but the Washington State staff is thinking outside the box as they search far and wide for talent.
Paul Wulff Looks For Diamonds In The Rough
Like Oregon State in the Pac-12, Washington State has to mine for under-the-radar recruits, banking on development and trusting the talent evaluation of the coaching staff. It's rare for the Cougars to go head-to-head with bigger-name schools, much less win a recruiting battle against them. Because of that, the Washington State coaching staff has to get creative, pouring through film to find a player with that certain something they're looking for.
Chester Sua, a linebacker out of Hawaii, is a prime example of under-the-radar talent that hits the spotlight as the recruiting season progresses. Unranked and unrated when he committed to Washington State in May, Sua saw his stock soar, ending up as a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 15 outside linebacker in the class of 2011. With Sankey gone, Sua becomes the Cougs' highest-rated recruit -- the class of 2011 headliner for Wulff and company.
Washington State's class of 2011 won't blow anyone's socks off, but many of the players could be solid contributors for the Cougars in the future. As we saw this past year, you never know when a Marquess Wilson will emerge from the dust to become a star out of nowhere.