The recruiting wars wait for no man. WSU already has 10+ offers out for 2011 and they've secured the commitments of two players in-state already. Over the past six years we've averaged just over six guys per class from the State of Washington.
The myth of "owning" the State of Washington for us to be successful should be put to rest. We have always flexed between 5-10 players from Washington. What we need to do is fill out about 1/3 of every class with players from the State of Washington. I think the WSU staff intuitively understand this and that's why they've worked hard to close down Spokane. The past three Wulff classes have averaged just over two players from Spokane. The formula starts to become simple. Close down Spokane then pick off a few more from around the State to get to your seven. This is the way Washington State recruiting has always worked. Interestingly, when we are trending positively in wins we uptick slightly to about 8-10 recruits from the State. When we are down we trend slightly lower.
That brings us to the 2011 recruiting class. History tells us that this coming season we will likely secure about six to seven recruits from Washington when signing day arrives. I've always thought it's a waste of time to spend energy fixated on players that we aren't going to get. So, I'll try something different. This is my wish list of nine players that I think we legitimately can "win" come Signing Day. That means no wasted time fixated on Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Kasen Williams. They simply aren't coming to WSU so let's focus on players that fit our program and Pullman.
Here we go:
1) Bishop Sankey (RB-Spokane)- Already committed to WSU. Sankey has all of the earmarks of being an Aaron Dunn type of recruit. Semi-national but locked down early. It's a given that Sankey is going to put up huge numbers this year in the Gonzaga Prep run-based offense. It will be interesting to see how "national" this kid goes in terms of attention. Make no mistake he is probably one of the Top Five backs on the West Coast in 2011. No matter who we get from Washington after this. Sankey will be our marquee in-state recruit and critical to keep committed.
2) Charlie Hopkins (TE-Spokane)- The second priority kid from Spokane. He's another Gonzaga Prep kid which is where Sankey goes to school and where Travis Long comes from. This kid measures out like a prototypical tackle or big tight end prospect. I'm sure Hopkins will be a priority for Wulff. Not much out of the kid so far so it's tough to tell if staying home is important to him.
3) Rahmel Dockery (WR-Tacoma)- This is a kid from Curtis High School which used to be a pipeline school for us back in the day. He's not real big but he's all quick twitch and lightning fast. The type of team speed we need to upgrade would come from this kid. He currently holds an offer from us that we threw his way a few months back. We went heavy on receiver in 2010 and it's likely we'll only take 2-3 next year. This kid would be near the top of the list. He would be a natural recruiting fit as a receiver out of Curtis. Coach Levenseller went to high school at Curtis and has long held ties to that program.
4) Max Hersey (TE-Tacoma)- Already committed to WSU. This kid goes to Curtis and he's also a WSU legacy. Great to have him in the fold early as he can work on Dockery and Cornelius Edison all season. Possible that there are a few other possible Pac-10 players on the Curtis squad this season as well. He's kind of a tweener in size but could fill the role of a Jed Collins type player for us if he sticks on offense. He could also fill into a great guard or center.
5) Tana Pritchard (QB-Lakewood)- The name should sound familiar. His brother Tavita Pritchard played at Stanford and was a decent QB with long Cougar bloodlines. That includes both of them being the nephew of Coug great Jack Thompson. Their father also played for Washington State in the early 80's. Should be interesting to see if he's the State's top QB prospect in 2011 or if that will go to Trey Wheeler at Liberty (who could also be a Coug prospect.) The bloodlines and measurables make this kid a possibility at QB for WSU.
6) Evan Zeger (S-Issaquah)- A safety out of Skyline and is looking like he might be the top safety prospect in the State. Skyline has dumped plenty of players over to the Doggies but you can't discount Gino Simone working some magic. Should be interesting to see how recruitment of this kid develops over the Summer.
7) Julius Tevaga (DT-Everett)- His teammate (Taniela Tupou) is getting all of the attention. However, this kid could be a very solid defensive tackle prospect this Fall.
8) Alec Martin (DE-Wenatchee)- I don't know much about this kid but he's an Eastern Washington kid so if he's a D-I prospect he should be a priority for Wulff and staff.
9) Cornelius Edison (OT-Tacoma)- Another Curtis High School kid. Wulff went for a trio out of Pittsburg High this year and he might do the same next year at Curtis. This kid projects at either DT or OT right now but his best position might be at offensive guard.
So, there you have it. A list of nine players that are possibly WSU targets early in the recruiting season. Undoubtedly there will be more that make a huge leap their Senior year and WSU excels at grabbing those types of kids. There are actually several in-state kids that WSU has offered currently that I deliberately left off because I believe you'll see these kids fall off our radar as they focus on different schools. I'm talking about names like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, Dexter Charles, Jamaal Jones, and Taniela Tupou. Of course, you can expect to see lots of "interest" in WSU over the next couple of months from these players and the staff should continue to fight for these guys but realistically grabbing one of them would be a coup. The guys above represent what would be an excellent group of players at WSU. Just remember folks, the magic number is seven. Let the games begin!