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Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 03:16 PM

Washington State football recruiting makes more inroads in Los Angeles

By Bud Withers
Seattle Times staff reporter

Washington State is expected to announce Wednesday a football signing class that again made headway in Los Angeles, adds a highly regarded quarterback from Phoenix and continues to rebuild a troublesome offensive line.

Scout.com rates the class No. 41 nationally, although the Cougars lost a committed player over the weekend to Texas in safety Montrel Meander of Amarillo. Rivals.com puts the class at 49th.

An odd series of events apparently landed Santa Margarita Catholic offensive lineman Riley Sorenson, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound prospect, in WSU's fold at the 11th hour. Sorenson was juggling interest from Nebraska, Washington and California, and when they all fell through, he ended up committing Monday night to the Cougars.

Assuming other commitments stay in place, that would put the class in better company than most of those in recent years at WSU. Scout.com had Paul Wulff's 2010 class at No. 40, highest at the school in the six classes since Wulff took over late in 2007.

"I think the biggest change I've seen is, kids are not falling back on going to Washington State," said Adam Gorney, recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "A lot of kids are turning down other offers and wanting to go there."

While the Cougars went heavy in Northern California under Wulff, they continue to work Los Angeles in second-year coach Mike Leach's regime. They're poised to sign two well-regarded players in cornerback Daquawn Brown of Dorsey High and defensive end Paulo Lepua of Narbonne High in Los Angeles.

"I love Lepua," said Brandon Huffman of Scout.com, referring to a player Boise State recruited hard. "He's a definite elite college prospect."

The Cougars also are expected to sign 5-10, 185-pound back Gerard Wicks of renowned Long Beach Poly. A handful of junior-college signees from Southern California schools will include offensive lineman Jacob Seydel and linebacker Ivan McLennan.

The highest-rated WSU signee would be quarterback Tyler Bruggman of Brophy Prep in Phoenix, a 4.2 student (with honors classes) who threw for 81 career touchdowns. He turned down Arizona State, among others, in committing last June.

"Washington State's getting a good one," said his coach, Scooter Molander. "He'll come up and compete."

Leach had targeted both lines, and WSU is set to sign six offensive and five defensive linemen.

WSU apparently negotiated successfully the negativity around a 3-9 season and allegations of abuse by ex-receiver Marquess Wilson, refuted by the school's and Pac-12's investigations.

Said Huffman, "I think Mike Leach's reputation as a coach, and his ability to evaluate talent are far outweighing the negative of Marquess Wilson."


DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Second-year Cougars coach Mike Leach should have a class that is heavy on L.A. area recruits.




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