Washington State Football: Revisiting the Need for JUCO Players


November 3, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) runs the ball while pursued by Washington State Cougars linebacker Justin Sagote (51) during the first half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah defeated Washington 49-6. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day is right around the corner folks, just over a week away. Soon we’ll know exactly how our Cougs will stack up on the field, at least in terms of some somewhat accurate, but always debatable recruiting rankings.

As many of you know, junior college prospects are generally a fill-gap, taking more experience and strength from a competitive level and inserting it into the lineup to fill a spot that isn’t highly skilled or particularly experienced. This is especially important for low level and on-the-rise programs that aren’t reeling in 4 and 5 star recruits on a regular basis, such as the Cougars. Guys like Justin Sagote last season can make a big difference on a unit, especially when things happen the way they did in 2012, when WSU practically lost their entire starting LB corps to various issues throughout the offseason.

But not all of these kids pan out, generally because there are several non-positive reasons they are at the JUCO level in the first place.

  • Grades can be an issue, many kids have all the talent but lack discipline or the correct learning abilities in the classroom. 
  • Personality and/or legal issues can be part of the deal. Even when he has skills to play college sports at a competitive level, when a kid has run-ins with his piers and the law, schools are less apt to take a serious chance on him till he can prove he’s a good risk to take and won’t damage the reputation of the program. 
  • And then size and/or exposure can run its’ course, where a guy either isn’t big enough to play immediately or hasn’t been properly shown around for his talents to be recognized by a worthy school.

A couple weeks ago we had 4 JUCO transfers sign to Wazzu and they are all going to be right in the mix to become major impact players right away in 2013. We’ll rehash their individual value throughout the week as we begin our official recruit profiles for 2013. We will then profile each and every Cougar commitment that comes in on National Signing Day, Feb. 6.