Kispert commits to Gonzaga
Corey Kispert, a standout small forward at King's High outside of Seattle, has verbally committed to Gonzaga. He picked GU over Notre Dame and Virginia.
Kispert, who will be a senior next season, has helped King's to back-to-back 1A state titles after finishing second in his freshman season.
More on the first member of GU's 2017 class below.
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WSU lands three-star running back
San Jose, California running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio has accepted a football scholarship from Washington State over a variety of other offers.
Among the schools who hoped to land Habibi-Likio were Boise State, BYU, Iowa State and others.
Habibi-Likio certainly fits the "Nevada Back" physical profile that WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro covets: The high school junior is 6-foot-1, 200-pound. He rushed for 17 touchdowns and more than 1,400 yards last season, and is ranked the No. 70 running back in the country by Scout.com.
It appears that Britton Ransford had the news first.
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WSU grants Izundu release to visit San Diego State
Washington State coach Ernie Kent has lifted his restriction on transferring center Valentine Izundu and will allow him to visit San Diego State, per a source.
The source said Izundu will also visit Fresno State and UNLV.
Kent initially included SDSU on a list of schools Izundu was restricted from contacting on the grounds that he believed improper contact was made between the two parties during a Spring Break trip Izundu took to San Diego. Izundu maintained that the trip was simply for pleasure, and that he never had any contact with the SDSU coaching staff, even though he and former WSU teammate Que Johnson attended an Aztecs NIT basketball game.
While flight purchase records and text messages appeared to validate Izundu's story, showing that the trip was scheduled before SDSU was left out of the NCAA tournament, a three-person WSU faculty committee upheld the restriction on contacting SDSU.
But now it appears the restriction has been lifted, perhaps in response to the request of a student-athlete's rights organization who lobbied WSU on Izundu's behalf.
Four-star wide receiver commits to WSU
Isaiah Hodgins, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver from Northern California has accepted Washington State's offer of a football scholarship.
The Walnut Creek, California, native took to Twitter to announce his decision.
COMMITTED...#GoCougs 🐾🐾🐾 pic.twitter.com/6XHg01hjnL
— Isaiah Hodgins (@IsaiahHodgins) May 3, 2016
Rivals.com is the highest on Hodgins of the three major recruiting services, giving him four stars and ranking him the 41st best wide receiver prospect in the class of 2017. He lists scholarship offers from schools such as Michigan, Nebraska, Washington and Utah.
Brian Anderson and Britton Ransford of CougCenter.com credit WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro as the point man on Hodgins' recruitment for the Cougars. Anderson says he sees similarities to current WSU receiver Gabe Marks in Hodgins' tape.
What do you think?
Cougars sign 2016 guard
Jamar Ergas, a guard out of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, has accepted one of Washington State's three remaining scholarships in 2016.
“Over the past few years, Canada has consistently turned out outstanding basketball talent, and we feel Jamar is in line to be a great player,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said in a press release. “Not only did we recruit him because of his outstanding basketball abilities, but also because of his tremendous character and academic accomplishments. Jamar will really fit what we’re trying to do in terms of building our program and we look forward to having him in a Cougar uniform.”
Prior to formally signing a letter of intent, Ergas announced his commitment on his Instagram account:
The Canadian has played the last two seasons in the United States, first at 22 Feet Academy in Greenville, South Carolina, and then spent his senior season at Elite 1 Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. This past year Ergas averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals per game.
Ergas is listed at 6-foot-4, 189-pounds. Not a whole lot of information is available on WSU's newest recruit, but here is an old scouting report I found. The gist is that Ergas is a lengthy, explosive athlete, making him a good fit for the style of play Cougars coach Ernie Kent hopes to employ.
Now that Ergas has signed, the Cougars still have two more available scholarships to offer in the class, because of the recent transfers of Que Johnson and Valentine Izundu.
Here is a short YouTube documentary about the newest Cougar:
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Several Cougars sign free agent deals with NFL teams
Shortly after the NFL draft's conclusion, NFL teams began signing undrafted players as free agents, including a few Washington State Cougars.
While Destiny Vaeao, Dom Williams and Ivan McLennan would sure have preferred to have heard their names called during the draft, by going undrafted they were free to sign with the team whose situation gives them the best chances to make the final rosters. All three Cougars ended up in pretty favorable situations in that regard.
Rush linebacker McLennan is headed to Atlanta, where the Falcons were the NFL's worst team at sacking opposing quarterbacks last season. The Falcons did add some speed at linebacker during the draft, their biggest need, with the selections of Deion Jones and De'Vondre Neal. However, both are projected to play inside for Atlanta. Given the Falcon's need for pass-rushing help, McLennan should have a real opportunity to make the 53-man roster or practice squad.
Thank you @AtlantaFalcons for the amazing opportunity to play for yall organization 🙏
— Ivan McLennan (@Forever_Leisure) April 30, 2016
Receiver Williams likewise heads into a good situation, signing with the San Diego Chargers, who did not draft a wide receiver this year despite losing Malcolm Floyd to retirement. There is a void in San Diego for a big-play receiver, and that's exactly what Williams proved to be at WSU.
Dom Williams signs with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent. https://t.co/FeYG8SLZYI
— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) April 30, 2016
Likewise, Vaeao fills a position of need at defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are moving to a 4-3 defense under Jim Schwartz. While the Eagles have solid personnel in Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry, they badly need depth on the defensive line. Defensive end Alex McCalister was the only defensive line addition in the draft for Philadelphia. McCalister was a seventh round pick, so if Vaeao can prove himself in camp, he too has a fighting chance to make an NFL team next year.
Another former WSU player who will get his NFL shot is former rush linebacker Kache Palacio.
Kache Palacio (LB/FB, Washington State) has just agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Rams.
— Brett Tessler (@TesslerSports) April 30, 2016
As noted in the above tweet, Palacio projects to play either linebacker or fullback at the next level. The Rams did pick a linebacker – Kentucky's Josh Forrest in the sixth round – but at 6-foot-3, 250-pounds, he would appear to fill a different role than Palacio. Linebacker was not really a need for the Rams entering the draft, so that could be a tough position for Palacio to crack.
But the Rams did let fullback Zack Laskey go, so maybe the former Cougar can carve out a role by switching to offense. That said, the Rams aren't really big on fullbacks in general under Jeff Fisher, so either way Palacio is going to have to really impress to make the squad.