No, John Stockton didn’t sign a letter of intent to play football at Washington State University on Wednesday, but he’s a perfect example of the good-but-not-great class the Cougars signed.
“It wasn’t one of our better years in the state of Washington, I don’t think, but you know this recruiting is such an imperfect science,” WSU head coach Mike Price said. “Did Washington recruit (Spokane native) John Stockton? I know Washington State didn’t.
“Here we have a guy right in our own backyard who is one of the best pro point guards in the history of the NBA and both in-state schools didn’t recruit him.
“I know there’s some guys out there that can play for Washington State we missed on. I know that if we get a couple of scholarships, we’re going to kick some more rocks around and look for one or two of them.”
The Cougars released the names of 12 high school players on the first day of the weeklong signing period and have six more scholarships available. Earlier, they picked up a half-dozen transfers and junior college players.
“I anticipate three more kids signing in the next couple of days, which will bring us two or three short, and it looks like we might be able to sign them.”
Still, Price was happy.
“I think we did O.K.,” he said. “We’re disappointed at one of the guys from Spokane (kicker Randy Jones of Ferris, headed to UW), but that’s life, and those things happen. I feel like overall we did real well and we got speed. That’s what we wanted. We went out for speed guys and we got speed.”
Price thought the Cougars, who finished last year’s 8-4 Alamo Bowl-winning season with the best defense in the country, just missed a couple of defensive linemen who would have turned the class into his best ever.
“Naturally, we thought the very best defensive prospects in the country would want to jump on board and get involved in a program like this,” he said. “We shot for those players. We shot high and we missed on some of them.”
He said Da’Vid Evans, 6-foot-5, 245-pounds out of Phoenix College and freshman Jesse Ratcliff, 6-3, 230, from North Thurston in Lacey, Wash., will help at defensive end next season.
The Cougars were working hard to get defensive linemen and running backs and are still looking at kickers.
Though missing on some defensive linemen, Price said, “We signed a lot of running backs, but some will play wide receiver, some will be running backs and some will be defensive backs. It is a little deceiving.”
Three players have not passed their entrance requirements, but Price expects no problems and didn’t oversign recruits to cover his bases like the Cougars have done in the past. He also said he didn’t expect many of the freshmen to step in and play immediately.
The lone high school recruit from this area is 6-foot, 198-pound linebacker Steve Gleason of Gonzaga Prep, a two-time defensive MVP in the Greater Spokane League. It also became official that Jon Ottenbreit is a Cougar. The 6-5, 225-pound lineman from Cheney signed a year ago but didn’t enroll until January to get stronger. He did, Price said, and could be a factor on offense next season.”
“I wouldn’t rate it or rank it, but I would say it is probably the fastest class we have recruited and I think a solid class for what our needs were,” Price said.
Chad DeGrenier, a backup quarterback at Washington State for the past two seasons, has transferred to Midwestern State University, an NCAA Division II school in Wichita Falls, Texas.
DeGrenier, who came to WSU from Grossmont (Calif.) Junior College in 1993, came off redshirt status that fall and started three of the last four games after senior starter Mike Pattinson went down with a shoulder injury.
DeGrenier threw for 651 yards and one touchdown in the four games, all of which were losses.
Last season, when sophomore transfer Chad Davis led the Cougars to an 8-4 record and their second bowl win in three years, DeGrenier used his redshirt season.
By transferring to a D-II school, he will be able to play his final season next fall.
WSU coach Mike Price said he understood DeGrenier’s decision.
xxxx UPDATE WSU is targeting defensive linemen and running backs, and is still looking at kickers
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.