The Cougs got two more pieces to the cornerstone of their rebuilding process. Their names are Montrel Meander and Charleston White, a package deal from Palo Duro High in Amarillo, TX.
Meander (S 6’3″ 190 lbs) turned down offers from Texas Tech, Houston, Nevada, SDSU, Tulsa, Colorado State and others. Meanwhile, White (WR 6’1″ 170 lbs) turned down ASU, Nevada, Tulsa, New Mexico, Colorado State, UTSA and others. Both have mentioned they were blown away by the facilities and the care and affection that the Pullman community shows towards their teams, not to mention the team itself. It felt like family and that was the sticking point. Also, they will both be skipping their Cal visits, originally scheduled for next weekend.
We didn’t get to White’s attributes so much, we’ll get to that in a bit as we have a better understanding after some film. But we did label Meander the next Lamont Thompson in our defensive visits piece a few days ago, so let’s start there. In all seriousness, Montrel is very similar to Lamont coming out of high school but there are some definite differences that ended up defining Thompson’s game and career that I’d like to address for this new L.T. to take his game anywhere near that level.
The first is aggression on balls in the air. Lamont was a great center fielder and what made him the best in a Cougar uni was the fact that he was lethal and covered a severe amount of ground when he broke on a ball in his direction. That’s what made him a record tying interception man back there (14 in his short 3 year career). If you’re looking for a right now comparison model to what Thompson brought to the table, combine some of the size of Kam Chancellor and some of the ball-hawking ability of Earl Thomas in the Seahawks secondary.
Montrel, on the other hand, is a passive and reactive defender who is big enough to wrangle ball carriers to the turf when they get to him. He can also cover some ground but at this point is more of a catch-all linebacker in a safety’s body, rather than that center-fielder that runs down passes and ends threat by getting turnovers. Part of that has to do with how close to the line of scrimmage he played in HS, but it’s a big difference nonetheless. He only tallied 7 breakups and 1 interception his senior season.
The other thing that really ended up defining Thompson was his awareness and readiness. Watching his highlight reel you can see that M.M. doesn’t often attack his reads at the snap. In fact he is rarely ready at the snap to attack anything, but he is rather good at reacting and avoiding traffic to get to the ball. I wouldn’t call it laziness but he just looks unready.
Still, he did rally to 109 tackles in his senior season as a FS, which really is a telling statistic in his quickness and ability to tackle. Still, he’ll need to hone his awareness rating (yes I just went NCAA Football on you) to make a difference on the Cougar defense in the years to come. He’ll also need to change his pre-snap disposition, because I think Breske could have some fun with a big-bodied safety disrupting the backfield. In short, Montrel has a trio of somethings that the Cougs have been sorely lacking for years in their back end, size, quickness and finishing ability on contact all in one package. But he needs coaching and a development of better instincts to get him to the next level.
Let’s get to White right fast. This kid isn’t electric, but he’s fast. He’s not flashy, but he’s smooth. And he’s not the breakaway threat, but he can take it to the house. Basically I wouldn’t say he’s a spectacular prospect, but he has some very nice qualities and an extra gear in the open field that gave him the ability to run away from a lot of high school guys. His senior year he did make 26 catches for 567 yards and 6 touchdowns, which is pretty impressive when considering the yards per catch.
He is one of those guys that I think could take a little while to get adjusted to the speed at this level of football, but could be a really solid slot receiver down the road. Charleston also comes with an ability to play CB if the Cougars need him there more (50 tackles and 2 ints as a senior) and some return ability, should Leach need an extra weapon there. Here are his highlights.
It’s good to get these guys Crimson. We’re still hoping for 3-4 more commits in the coming days or weeks so stay tuned.