Washington State Football: Moving Forward (Part Three)

Lew WrightSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2008

For Coach Paul Wulff, head man at Washington State, the recruiting season continues to deliver rewards for effort.

The most critical element for the Cougar football program to return to the competitive level enjoyed under the leadership of former Coach Mike Price is getting great athletes to attend WSU.  Coach Price and his staff were outstanding at finding young men with potential, great attitude, and a willingness to play "team" football.

Recruiting is really a year-round process for coaching staffs.  How's that for a pedestrian observation?  Seriously, when coaches are working to build a solid college football program, their way to success comes through putting more time and effort into finding high school kids who will be a natural fit into their college program.

Coach Wulff has truly enjoyed this holiday season because of the recruiting results turned in by his staff.

In the past couple of weeks, significantly talented recruits have added their verbal commitment to Washington State for the Class of 2009.

There have been a number of excellent tight ends at WSU over the past few years.  Many remember Jed Collins from just a couple of years back, who plays on Sundays these days.  When the coaching staff was looking for someone to continue that tradition, they gave a long, hard look at Travis Long of Gonzaga Prep.

Long is one of the top tight end prospects in the country and considered to be one of the 10 best high school players in Washington.  But it's Long's play on defense that appears to be his strength.  At 6'5" and roughly 250 pounds, he has a great frame to bulk up on.

When it comes to athletic ability, this kid has some skills!  Even with his tremendous size, Long was getting a lot of attention as a receiver because of his speed and quickness.  Opposing defensive backs had trouble covering him because of his explosive speed.

Long isn't just a football player.  Make no mistake about that.  He will graduate with a 3.9 GPA.  The other schools very interested in Long were Oregon State and Boise State.

Stepping aside a moment from the Class of '09, there are many facets of recruiting.  One facet is following through with commits until they are on campus in Pullman and fully embraced by the Cougar family.

Josh Luapo was expected to be part of the '08 Class, but things didn't work out that way.  Luapo has finished up his associate's degree at LA Harbor College and will enroll at WSU in January.

It's probably just as well that Luapo couldn't make it work to attend WSU last fall.  He would likely have been pressed into the defensive line rotation because of need.  Now he'll see action when he's ready to go full speed ahead with three years to use his final two years of college eligibility.  Couple that with a lot of time in the gym this past fall, and Luapo has a tremendous upside for Coach Wulff.

Another recent commit for the Cougs is a young lad from Hawaii, Jordan Pu'u-Robinson.  He excelled at tight end but could end up playing on the offensive/defensive line for WSU.  With both size—6'4", 250 pounds—and decent speed, Pu'u-Robinson has impressed the coaching staff with his great hands.  Like fellow classmate Long, he's one of the top rated tight end prospects in the nation.

Coach Dick Tomey at San Jose State had been hot on changing the mind of Pu'u-Robinson, but Coach Steve Broussard was serious about bring the young man into the Cougar fold.  Broussard's efforts have paid off.

Keep checking Examiner.com for more news on the future of Washington State football.  Not only is there more news, the news is very, very good!