Just got finished talking with Shadle Park High's Jake Rodgers, who decided Thursday he is going to accept a football scholarship from Washington State. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound senior-to-be said he like the WSU atmosphere and how everyone seems so close knit, among other reasons for picking the Cougars. Read on for the unedited version of the story that will be in tomorrow's S-R.
• Here's the story ...
PULLMAN – Jake Rodgers received his first college football scholarship offer from Washington State University.
Thursday night the 6-foot-7, 245-pound lineman from Shadle Park High decided it was the one he wanted to accept. So he called Paul Wulff and told him.
"I just told him I felt WSU was the best fit for me and he seemed pretty excited," said Rodgers, offered a scholarship last winter.
Rodgers, a first-team All-Greater Spokane League tight end last fall as a junior, is making his verbal commitment to the Cougars now because "I just wanted to get this whole thing over with so I could focus on my senior year in high school."
"I've been there a lot," Rodgers said of WSU. "I feel they are getting a lot better and I really wanted to buy into the program, be a part of it. ... I like the fact I'll be close to home. I'll be far enough away where I can be my own person and everything but close enough where I can still visit my family."
And then there is the offense, which Rodgers thinks is getting better despite last year's 2-11 season.
"Obviously being a tight end, I like they're running a two tight-end set," Rodgers added. "That's good news for me. I've seen a lot of improvement since last year, which is a good thing. They weren't where they wanted to be last year but they're getting better fast.
"And seeing what coach Wulff did at Eastern was pretty impressive."
High school seniors cannot sign a binding letter-of-intent until February.
• One other note. WSU president Elson Floyd held a press conference today to announce the preliminary budget cuts facing the university. Athletics will lose, as of now, $350,000 according to the Associated Press. That's within the range the department was anticipating, but doesn't include the hit it will take from the 14 percent tuition increase, which should add about another $1 million. As the department formulates a plan to bridge the budget gap, we'll try to keep you informed.
• That's it for now. We'll be back in the morning. Until then …