National Signing Day will commence Feb. 6th, which means that there is still a lot of movement to look forward to over the next month and a half on the recruiting trail. After looking at the QB and WR positions, we’re going to rundown the other half of the coin on offense. The Cougars have been reeling in OL talent and have some nice running back prospects looking to make their mark on the air raid.
Running Back: WSU has an interesting running back situation right now because Galvin was moved to the slot last year to utilize his good hands and speed, but they are still looking for an ‘every down’ type of back. In reality that type of running back in Leach’s system amounts to a 1st, 2nd down and goalline back with a different 3rd down guy. There are 4 decent backs currently in the Washington State backfield, and it may be crowded after a new batch of 3 come in.
Leach definitely went after some impressive looking athletes at the running back position though, as we will explain. The staff has told each and every one of these prospects that they have a chance to contribute right away, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that all 3 are more than enough to be rotating in 2013. However, I would guess with the stable that Leach has now that at least 2 of these new guys will redshirt.
- Jamal Morrow is a versatile back with tremendous stamina. He ran for well over 2,000 yards with 15 touchdowns his senior season after 1,700 his junior year. At 5’9″ 185, he is not as big as the departing Carl Winston but certainly plays low to the ground and can deliver a blow the way Winston did. This will make Morrow a valuable guy around the goalline, but he’s also got a nice burst in the open field.
- Olito Thompson is a pure RB that comes in with just silly numbers. He came up 12 yards short of 3,500 his junior season with 34…. yes, 34 touchdowns to his credit. The yardage crushed the single season, Northern Cal prep record. He Averaged nearly 170 yards per game his senior season. Not sure why he isn’t ranked higher (#74 RB, probably because he only clocks in at 4.5 in the forty, but he packs a serious punch at 5’10” 210.
- And then there’s Gerard Wicks, who comes in as the highest rated of the 3! Wicks goes 5’10” 195 and has electric speed and quickness. He rushed for 1,500 this season and 19 touchdowns… and he got about half of the carries. His teammate rushed for similar numbers.
Offensive Line: This is where Leach and Co. have really gone to work this offseason and by all accounts, the Cougar faithful are excited for the future of this unit. The O-line really struggled in his first season, but we continue to document that the team ran only 6 guys out all season long while Leach tried to wait out redshirts and grow his long-term depth. It sucked during the year, but honestly it’s going to pay huge dividends as the future unfolds.
If you know anything about Mike Leach, he is as much an O-line guru as he is a quarterback guy. He has been among the best at taking the big guys off of the scrap piles and using technique to mold them into incredibly efficient protectors of the QB. The Cougars aren’t resting on that with their current depth though, they’ve gone out and found some bigger guys to add to the depth and beef of the line. Interestingly enough, the five that have signed to this point make up an entire unit, so in a couple seasons you could be looking at 4 of these guys as most of a new Fat Five (Seydel only has 2 yrs of eligibility).
- Jacob Seydel is only rated a 2-star player, but he is a more mature player than even the starters of the 2012 Cougars after building a strong base and developing his nasty nature over the past two seasons at Riverside CC. Seydel originally signed to UCLA, but decided after a short while that he didn’t fit well with the program and decommitted. He’s a solid 6’6″ 285 and will make an immediate impact at either Tackle spot.
- Cody O’Connell, a 2-star prospect out of Wenatchee is simply, a beast of a man. He towers over the competition at 6’8″ and 350 lbs, and he has quicker feet than you would imagine for a guy his size. He probably will redshirt but in due time will be a powerful and very large protector of Bruggman and the QB’s. I expect he will be a Guard with his girth, just generally a guy of his size doesn’t do well in space on the outside and will have less ground to make up inside.
- Now we really get cookin’ with Carlos Freeman from Oklahoma. The kid is a natural Center and fits the mold of what every great player at his position has as a very heady and hard working football player. Freeman is just generally a smart kid, carrying a 4.0 GPA with him. That’s the type of guy who generally holds a line together, calling protections and diagnosing blitzes, as is necessary in a Mike Leach system.
- Matt Meyer out of Lynden is another solid looking Tackle here, coming in at 6’6″ 290. He is a kid who uses his hands particularly well and his double duty as DE really helps his feet, not to mention his ability to read the guy across from him. Meyer is a 3-star player.
- Cole Madison is another 3-star rated player with good feet, but he is the smallest of this group at 6’6″ 260. Chances are the Cougs will use a redshirt year on him to beef him up a bit, as he’ll probably be looked to at the Guard position eventually. Madison utilizes impressive lateral quickness and will probably be a good pulling G on draws and screens.