Cougars sign offensive linemen, receivers

SPOKANE — Washington State moved aggressively to shore up its offensive line and receiver corps as its football recruits were announced on Wednesday.

Coach Paul Wulff also sprung a surprise by signing linebacker C.J. Mizell, once a widely sought recruit out of Tallahassee, Fla., who did not qualify academically out of high school.

Mizell quietly worked on his grades, and a tipster told WSU coaches he recently became eligible for college football, Wulff said.

The Cougars talked a reluctant Mizell into visiting campus last weekend, and were delighted when the 210-pound linebacker decided to sign.

“Athletically, he’s as good as there was,” Wulff said, noting Mizell originally signed with Florida State. “He’s big and rangy and runs well. He’s got a nice, nasty mean streak to him.”

Mizell needs to get back into shape but could play immediately, Wulff said.

Washington State has a record of 3-22 in Wulff’s first two seasons, and the Cougars have often looked physically outclassed on the field, especially at offensive line.

Wulff signed junior college transfers David Gonzales and Wade Jacobson to shore up the line immediately.

“We are improving our talent there, without a question,” Wulff said.

Among the 22 players, the Cougars signed 15 from California, five from Washington and one each from Wisconsin and Florida. Five were junior college transfers.

“We will improve the speed and overall size of our football team with this class,” Wulff said.

The Cougars signed three players from the Spokane area, tight end Aaron Dunn of Mead High, tight end Jake Rodgers of Shadle Park High and quarterback Connor Halliday of Ferris High. Halliday led Ferris to the state title game last season, throwing for 4,198 yards and 43 touchdowns. He broke the Greater Spokane League passing yardage record held by former WSU and NFL quarterback Mark Rypien.

The class includes five wide receivers, four from California.

The Cougars lost one key recruit when tight end Asante Cleveland of Sacramento, Calif., signed with Miami on Wednesday morning. Cleveland had verbally committed to WSU in September, but visited Miami recently and opted for the Hurricanes.

The Cougars signed two running backs from California. Berkeley High’s Ricky Galvin rushed for 2,264 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior and could play right away, Wulff said.

Devontae Butler of Grant High in Sacramento rushed for 2,884 yards as a senior but needs to qualify academically, Wulff said.

Receivers Kristoff Williams and Marquess Williams could play immediately, Wulff said. So could defensive backs Damante Horton and Tracy Clark, he said.

The Cougars plan to sign another wide receiver that is expected to make an immediate impact, Wulff said. His name cannot be released until he signs.

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