Washington State is expected to announce Wednesday a football signing class that again made headway in Los Angeles, adds a highly regarded quarterback from Phoenix and continues to rebuild a troublesome offensive line.
Scout.com rates the class No. 41 nationally, although the Cougars lost a committed player over the weekend to Texas in safety Montrel Meander of Amarillo. Rivals.com puts the class at 49th.
An odd series of events apparently landed Santa Margarita Catholic offensive lineman Riley Sorenson, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound prospect, in WSU’s fold at the 11th hour. Sorenson was juggling interest from Nebraska, Washington and California, and when they all fell through, he ended up committing Monday night to the Cougars.
Assuming other commitments stay in place, that would put the class in better company than most of those in recent years at WSU. Scout.com had Paul Wulff’s 2010 class at No. 40, highest at the school in the six classes since Wulff took over late in 2007.
“I think the biggest change I’ve seen is, kids are not falling back on going to Washington State,” said Adam Gorney, recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “A lot of kids are turning down other offers and wanting to go there.”
While the Cougars went heavy in Northern California under Wulff, they continue to work Los Angeles in second-year coach Mike Leach’s regime. They’re poised to sign two well-regarded players in cornerback Daquawn Brown of Dorsey High and defensive end Paulo Lepua of Narbonne High in Los Angeles.
“I love Lepua,” said Brandon Huffman of Scout.com, referring to a player Boise State recruited hard. “He’s a definite elite college prospect.”
The Cougars also are expected to sign 5-10, 185-pound back Gerard Wicks of renowned Long Beach Poly. A handful of junior-college signees from Southern California schools will include offensive lineman Jacob Seydel and linebacker Ivan McLennan.
The highest-rated WSU signee would be quarterback Tyler Bruggman of Brophy Prep in Phoenix, a 4.2 student (with honors classes) who threw for 81 career touchdowns. He turned down Arizona State, among others, in committing last June.
“Washington State’s getting a good one,” said his coach, Scooter Molander. “He’ll come up and compete.”
Leach had targeted both lines, and WSU is set to sign six offensive and five defensive linemen.
WSU apparently negotiated successfully the negativity around a 3-9 season and allegations of abuse by ex-receiver Marquess Wilson, refuted by the school’s and Pac-12’s investigations.
Said Huffman, “I think Mike Leach’s reputation as a coach, and his ability to evaluate talent are far outweighing the negative of Marquess Wilson.”
Top linebacker eschews UW
A year ago in the final hours before signing day, the Washington Huskies pulled off one of the surprises of the recruiting season nabbing a commitment from the No. 1 safety in the country, Shaq Thompson.
The Huskies hoped to pull off an even bigger shocker this year, making it to the final five schools on the list of Reuben Foster of Auburn, Ala., generally regarded as the best middle linebacker in the country.
Alas, Foster on Monday night announced he will sign with Alabama, switching from an earlier commitment to Auburn. It was after he decided to re-open his recruitment following the firing of Gene Chizik that he got seriously interested in UW, taking a visit to Washington last month. But Foster ultimately chose to stay home.
The Huskies remains hopeful of pulling in a few more big names, though recruiting analysts said two highly-sought targets — Bellevue linebacker Myles Jack and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes of Auburn, Calif. — are likely headed elsewhere. Jack has been regarded as committed to UCLA for months and appears still set on the Bruins. And most assume Vanderdoes, who visited UW in December, is headed to USC or UCLA.
Undecided players considered most likely to commit to UW are linebacker Keishawn Bierria of Harbor City, Calif.; twins Tyree and Tyrell Robinson of San Diego who also want to play basketball; and offensive lineman Nico Falah of Bellflower, Calif.
Bierria and Falah will each announce on a regional TV show in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.
The Robinson twins are also expected to announce on signing day and loom as one of the more intriguing stories, having earlier committed to Oregon but deciding to re-open their recruitment after Chip Kelly left for the NFL.
The two visited UW this weekend and recruiting analysts said it was about a “50-50” call whether they will pick Washington or Oregon.
There was even some speculation that the two might go do different schools.
“The Robinson twins are teetering on the edge,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy wrote in a chat. “Rumor is they could split (one to Oregon one to UW). I don’t think that will happen, but the Dawgs could flip them both. I talked to Tyree last night and he was doing some serious thinking.”
Tyree Robinson is listed as a 6-3, 190-pound receiver. Tyrell Robinson is listed as a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker.