A is for Allison – WSU recruit smart, speedy

Cougars: Linebacker straight-A student who loves to blitz; Washington High’s Tuivaiave also signs

HOWIE STALWICK; Contributing writerFebruary 2, 2012 

PULLMAN – The Washington State Cougars released their 2012 football recruiting class in alphabetical order Wednesday, but that’s not the only reason Jeremiah Allison belonged at the top of the list.

Allison, a speedy all-state linebacker out of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, has been a straight-A student throughout his high school career. In fact, Allison’s grade-point average is 4.31.

“He’s in competition right now to be valedictorian at Dorsey,” WSU coach Mike Leach said.

Allison phoned Leach from his mother’s hospital bedside Monday to give his verbal commitment to the Cougars. Allison’s mother, who suffered a heart attack in December, remains in a coma.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Allison had 23 quarterback sacks this season. His passion for blitzing makes him a good fit in the 3-4 defense that new defensive coordinator Mike Breske is installing at WSU.

Leach, who replaced the entire coaching staff after being hired two months ago, said he was “incredibly proud” of his staff’s recruiting work in such limited time. The Cougars honored verbal commitments made by about half the 19 players who originally planned to play for fired coach Paul Wulff.

Scout.com ranks WSU’s recruits last in the Pacific-12 Conference and 60th out of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Cougars signed 28 players to national letters of intent or financial aid agreements, including five junior college transfers and 2010 signees Rahmel Dockery and Alex Mitchell. Both players failed to gain NCAA academic eligibility last season.

Dockery, The News Tribune’s state player of the year in 2010, is a fleet wide receiver out of Curtis High.

“Can make all the catches, comes out of his cuts quickly,” Leach said.

Outside linebacker Jacob Tuivaiave from Washington High is another signee.

“He could play about eight different positions,” Leach said. “Very athletic.”

Leach’s first WSU recruiting class is heavy on offensive linemen and wide receivers, both of which are essential in Leach’s pass-happy offense.

Leach said he was pleased with inroads made in Southern California and American Samoa. He pledged to beef up in-state recruiting after the Cougars signed just three newcomers for the second consecutive year (excluding Dockery this year).

Gabriel Marks, Robert Lewis and Alex Jackson, high school receivers out of the Los Angeles area, earned four of a possible five stars from at least one national recruiting site. Marks and Lewis reneged on verbal agreements to Southern Methodist after Leach was hired.

Leach said “a number of” quarterbacks inquired about transferring to WSU after he was hired. With Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday returning, Leach said the only quarterback he sought to add was Colorado all-state pick Austin Apodaca, who stayed with the Cougars after being recruited by Wulff’s staff.

Jason Loscalzo, the head football strength and conditioning coach at Boston College since 2009, was hired for the same position at Washington State.

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