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Originally published Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 7:10 PM

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WSU aim for recruits on lines, secondary, seems to hit mark

Both and have the Cougars rated in the 50s nationally, roughly comparable to recent classes.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Washington State sought to bolster its secondary and both lines in its 2014 recruiting class, and those needs will be reflected in the Cougars’ signees come signing day Feb. 5.

The Cougars’ list of commitments shows four defensive backs, plus two secondary prospects who graduated high school last spring and enrolled earlier this month — cornerback Marcellus Pippins of El Cerrito, Calif., and safety Markell Sanders of Eastside Catholic.

Similarly heavy are the incoming numbers of offensive (four) and defensive (five) linemen. One in the latter group, Dylan Hanser of Billings, Mont., is another January enrollee who finished high school in 2013.

Both and have the Cougars rated in the 50s nationally, roughly comparable to recent classes.

“I would say the middle of their class, recruits (rated) five to 15, is the strongest it’s ever been,” said Brandon Huffman, recruiting analyst for “Potentially, they’re lined up to have a top-50 class, and potentially, it’s one of their deeper ones.”

Adds Adam Gorney, analyst, “Mike Leach (WSU coach) has really done a nice job of going to places and getting undervalued guys.”

The Cougars did well at Burbank High in Sacramento, getting what Huffman calls probably their No. 1 recruit on both sides of the ball. That’s wide receiver Calvin Green (5-10, 175) and defensive tackle Ngalu Tapa (6-3, 275).

Huffman also likes Kevin Griffin (6-1, 180), a defensive back from renowned De La Salle High in Concord, Calif.

“The guy they really love is the defensive tackle (Tapa),” Gorney said. “He and the guy from Hawaii (6-3, 242-pound end Kingston Fernandez) are two defensive linemen they like a lot.”

Two uncommitted receiver recruits whom WSU has on the front burner are 6-3, 205-pound Barry Ware of Corona, Calif., and 6-5, 195-pound Brayden Lenius of West Hills, Calif.

“If they could get those two, it would be a really strong finish,” Gorney said. Lenius is also looking at Minnesota and Miami, while Ware, says Gorney, “is probably close to committing (to WSU)” after an earlier pledge to UCLA.

The WSU class took a couple of key hits with de-commitments from four-star Bellevue defensive lineman Marcus Griffin and linebacker Chandler Leniu of Lakewood, Calif. Griffin is strongly considering Notre Dame, while Leniu looks to be down to Cal or Fresno State.

Meanwhile, the Cougars are trying to hold onto 6-6, 285-pound Pasadena City College tackle Miguel Machado, who is getting interest from Washington.

The Cougars are still in the hunt for 6-8, 280-pound four-star Fife offensive lineman Kaleb McGary, but Huffman thinks he’s Oregon State’s to lose, saying, “They were the first school to offer him when he was at Battle Ground. He likes the small-town feel.”

WSU got a bonus recently when Sebastian LaRue (5-11, 185), a four-star receiver recruit from Santa Monica, Calif., announced he was transferring in from Texas A & M. He would be eligible at WSU in 2015.

WSU commitments
The Cougars have commitments from 23 players, including three that count against last year’s class and 20 for the class of 2014.
Position, player Hometown or school
WR Zaire Andre Inglewood, Calif.
DE Nick Begg Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
QB Peyton Bender Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
RB Squally Canada Milpitas, Calif.
OT Andre Dillard Woodinville
OT Brandon Evers Redding, Calif.
DE Kingston Fernandez Kapolei (Hawaii)
WR Calvin Green Sacramento
CB Kevin Griffin De La Salle HS (Concord, Calif.)
CB Sulaiman Hameed Alameda, Calif.
DE Dylan Hanser Billings, Mont.
RB Keith Harrington St. Petersburg, Fla.
LB Greg Hoyd Murrieta, Calif.
OT Sean Krepsz Riverside, Calif.
LB Frank Luvu Pago Pago, American Samoa
OT Miguel Machado Pasadena (Calif.) JC
DE Hercules Mata’afaLahaina, Hawaii
QB Ronald Monroe Sugar Land, Texas
CB Marcellus Pippins El Cerrito, Calif.
CB Patrick Porter Cottondale, Ala.
S Markell Sanders Eastlake HS (Sammamish)
DT Ngalu Tapa Sacramento
CB Joseph Turner College of San Mateo, Calif.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or

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