The Washington State Cougars signed two more football recruits from Florida than Washington this year, but coach Paul Wulff had high praise for the three Tacoma-area players who make up WSU’s in-state recruiting class for 2011.
Two-way Curtis star Rahmel Dockery chose WSU over Oregon State on Wednesday, the first day high school seniors could sign football letters of intent with NCAA schools.
Max Hersey of Curtis and Tana Pritchard of Clover Park, who made early commitments to the Cougars, also signed with Washington State. Wulff seems to think the speedy Dockery could have the most immediate impact among the three players.
“He’s one of those flashy, explosive players; can make big plays,” Wulff said. “We think he’s somebody who could be a punt returner for us (this year) and will help, obviously, as a receiver.
“We anticipate him helping right away. Rahmel is very electrifying. He’s going to give us some explosiveness and playmaking that we’ve been searching for in our recruiting since we’ve gotten here.”
The Cougars recruited Dockery as a wide receiver, even though his national ranking with Scout.com is at cornerback (88th). Dockery was The News Tribune’s state high school Player of the Year.
Hersey also played both ways for Curtis. The Cougars list Hersey as a tight end, but Wulff did not rule out using Hersey on the defensive line.
“We’ve had him in (WSU’s summer football) camp,” Wulff said. “He’s a true Cougar through and through ... he’s an athletic, tough guy that loves the game. He has a great motor.”
Pritchard, best known as a quarterback at Clover Park, is projected to play linebacker at WSU. Wulff said Pritchard, the nephew of WSU quarterback great Jack Thompson, also could wind up at tight end.
“A high-end character player,” Wulff said. “Smart. Just an excellent athlete that comes from a great football family.”
Scout ranks WSU’s recruiting class 53rd out of 120 Bowl Championship Subdivision teams, and eighth out of 12 teams in the new Pacific-12 Conference. Rivals.com ranked WSU last among the current Pac-10 teams and did not include the Cougars among the 50 teams it ranked nationally.
“Overall, it’s a very good class,” Wulff said. “A lot of times, when you sign more linemen than you sign (offensive) skill guys, it doesn’t look as flashy, which is OK.
“When you win the games, it’s the guys that aren’t flashy that win games. We’ve got some linemen that are sorely needed.”
The Cougars signed 25 players, six of whom are already taking classes at WSU (three Florida high school players and three of the six junior-college recruits).
Scout gives only one WSU recruit (Hawaiian linebacker Chester Su’a) four stars on a 1-5 scale. Rivals had none of the Cougars’ recruits rated higher than three stars.
Wulff, referring to the four recruiting classes his staff has presided over, said Su’a “is maybe as talented as we’ve ever signed here ... he’s got great instincts, tremendous toughness and aggression.
“He can run. I could see him playing right away.”
Scout ranks WSU’s linebacker recruits seventh nationally. Rivals has the group tied for 50th.
Recruits singled out for lofty praise by Wulff included linebacker Logan Mayes (the son of former WSU and NFL running back Rueben Mayes), defensive end-linebacker Darryl Paulo, quarterback Cody Clements, running back Marcus Mason and wide receivers Henry Eaddy, Isiah Myers and Dominique Williams.
Three players reneged on oral commitments to WSU in recent weeks, most notably 17th-ranked (Scout) running back Bishop Sankey, who went to Washington.
Wulff, who is 5-32 in three years at WSU, said no decision has been made on whether to appeal to the NCAA for a hardship medical year of eligibility for James Montgomery, who was listed as a senior when he led the Cougars in rushing last season. Wulff said he has become more encouraged about Montgomery having a chance to return.