Washington State’s 2014 recruiting class is suffering a major identity crisis in the ranking system and thus for those putting this class into perspective, but don’t be fooled into thinking they didn’t actually get a much higher value than the bottom three in the conference as they were ranked. If the following kids were rated at their original value, the WSU 2014 class would be talked about a whole lot differently:
- NT Ngalu Tapa – Tapa at the defensive tackle spot is regarded by many college coaches as having better explosiveness and a higher ceiling than Marcus Griffin, yet got marks resembling a kid only half as good. Griffin got the 4th star while Tapa got pounded for a legal issue that ended up not being his fault but followed his recruiting cycle anyway. When teams stopped showing as much interest from this originally, the 4th star and higher rating that Tapa held as the No. 1 DT in the West vanished. As his high school senior season and late push from some upper echelon colleges indicates however, he’s still that guy that can change an offensive scheme all by himself at DT, a rare find for Washington State.
- WR Deion Singleton – The same can be said for Singleton after his ‘grade issues’ forced him to move from hugely recruited Tallahassee, FL to largely unknown Pasco, WA. He was a 4-star prospect his junior year and was likely on his way to being a unanimous top 300-type prospect had he stayed in ‘Noles country. No. 106 at his position in Scout’s database? Well, that’s just baloney, but it’s the best case scenario for Wazzu. He never falls to them otherwise and after a big senior season on both offense and defense for the state champion Chiawana Riverhawks, it’s clear he actually deserved his original marks. He very well might be the best player the Cougars got on Signing Day, but he grades out in the middle of the class from the experts.
- CB Marcellus Pippins – Being a grayshirt (delayed enrollee), No. 75 CB Pippins doesn’t even get ranked with the rest of the class in two of the recruiting class databases because he was rated in the 2013 database. He wasn’t slighted in his rank like the previous two kids, be his is one of four uncounted grayshirts that would have improved the Cougars’ score significantly.
- WR Sebastian LaRue – Larue was a 4-star/5-star prospect that jacked up Texas A&M’s class ranking in 2013. Because of that he doesn’t get the official grade in the databases while transferring to the Cougs a year later, but due to new NCAA transfer rules he must count towards the class just the same. Therefore his dismissal in the class ranking cannot be overlooked. If he somehow gets his NCAA-hardship waiver passed due to illness in the family, the Cougars will get a 4-star, top 10 (certainly at ESPN where he was ranked 9th) freshman value on the field in 2014 that never got counted in this class at all. As you can see in the picture above, this kid was an Under Armor All American just one year ago. Even if he doesn’t play til 2015, he is a huge omission.
- WR Barry Ware – Had he stayed a UCLA-commit, Ware was on his way to being a very highly ranked 4-star receiver in every database available as well, guaranteed. If you look at the reviews of Ware, he’s clearly considered an elite talent on the outside. Yet he ended up around the 100-110 ranking (a 3-star value) in every base except for Rivals, where he is a 4-star and No. 48. I guess his 40-speed is in question, which is why he dropped so far, but turn on the tape and you’ll see a young Michael Crabtree who knows how to get the ball in traffic and finds a ‘football speed’ burst to consistently outrun angles by DB’s. You can’t time it, you can’t teach it, but it’s clearly on the tape along with elite hands. Again, if he stayed at UCLA, he would have gotten marks, grades and rankings as good as any outside receiver signed in this conference, guaranteed.
Add in Jalen Canty at 6’8, 270 as an explosive DE, Kevin Griffin as a big and highly regarded top-50, 3-star CB, Peyton Bender as a top 30 QB who would have been close to Bruggman’s ranking a year ago if not for injury early in his senior season, Squally Canada as a top 30 RB and another guy who earned a 4-star ranking at ESPN and say a Frank Luvu or Greg Hoyd as potential starting freshman LB’s who got lost in small areas; you got yourself a top 10 that should have rivaled any the Pac-12 has to offer on the scorecard. But the critics don’t look at that, they look at the final numbers and laugh (like so) at what the Cougs weren’t able to accomplish, when in reality they were.
Basically, you would think after a 6-7 bowl season that the Cougars would not be overlooked as much in 2014. However, due to this low-class ranking that seems to be the case once again. Not that the Cougs should mind, that probably works to their higher benefit and they’ll just need to prove the critics wrong. You know, the ones that predicted a 2-10 season in 2013. Speaking of which, there are still those that think the Cougs will return to 4-8 or worse in 2014. I really can’t wait for the Cougs to unleash these guys on the Pac-12 and watch them show off their incredibly underrated class, and team.