LEWISTON – The reputation of Jamire Calvin’s fall camp at Washington State has spread almost as rapidly as the vicious wildfires currently smoking out the Pacific Northwest.
And just like those nasty blazes, the true freshman wide receiver has been hard to contain.
It’s easy to become tantalized by a young player during the early stages of August, and coaches will caution that a microscope shouldn’t be placed on anyone during the first week of camp. They’re right, but even if Calvin’s college career is only nine days old, it’s been hard to look away when the rookie from Pasadena, California, is on the field.
“I thought he’d be good but I thought it would take a little more time to evolve,” WSU coach Mike Leach said one week ago, after the team’s first practice at Lewiston’s Sacjawea Junior High. “Which, he’s got a lot of work to do, no question, but I think he’s ahead of schedule.”
The Cougars have now wrapped up the Lewiston stretch of their August slate and not much has changed regarding Calvin, who has a great chance to land a spot on the two-deep before WSU opens its season.
“So far, from a talent and mental standpoint, shoot, he’s for sure got a chance (to play),” said inside receivers coach Dave Nichol.
Only a handful of WSU fans turned out to see the Cougars practice in Lewiston and most won’t see the true frosh in person until the Sept. 2 game against Montana State. So he’s still something of a myth because the only evidence of Calvin’s debut week has been social media clips of the young receiver dusting WSU’s more seasoned defenders. But at least among Cougar loyalists, those videos have gone viral.
What have they seen? That Calvin’s a menace in the open field with sprinter’s speed and a start-and-stop ability that many NFL players would clamor for. He’s a tough cover in the one-on-one drills that pit one receiver against a single defensive back, and he’s usually on the winning side of things when WSU performs its “make or miss” routine at the end of practice.
“He’s real quick, real elusive, awfully tough to match up with,” Leach said. “A guy as fast as him, it’s tough for them to put a corner inside, and they’re not inclined to. And then, so he’s quicker than a safety or a nickel guy. And you like really good change of direction guys inside although I do think he could play outside.”
The Cougars had to put in long hours just to make sure Calvin would be playing either receiver position for them. Seven months ago, he was verbally committed to the University of Nebraska, and not until National Signing Day did he decide to flip to WSU.
Now he’s one of the top inside options for an offense designed to give each of its receivers ample opportunity to touch the football.
“He’s got some stuff that guys don’t really have in terms of his speed and his quickness,” quarterback Luke Falk said. “He does it really good, he’s really fluid and it’s pretty fun watching him run. … I identified him pretty early on and he’s a player.”
And apparently Calvin has picked up the Cougars’ Air Raid schemes in no time. He’s had the playbook by his side all summer, and it’s beginning to show.
Said fellow inside receiver Robert Lewis: “He kind of already had it down pat. When he actually got out here and put it into action, he was pretty good.”
LINEBACKER TO LAWYER – Jeremiah Allison received a diploma from Washington State after the 2015 football season, but the former Cougar linebacker is going back to school.
Allison announced on Twitter Thursday he’s accepted an offer to attend the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and will enroll this fall.
“When the crowd stop cheering….. I told them #JD2020,” Allison wrote, referring to the Juris Doctor degree he hopes to obtain by 2020.
Allison was a 13-game starter at linebacker in 2015 and finished second on the team with 97 tackles. Following his college football career, Allison accepted a position in Olympia where he held a wide number of duties while serving as a session aide to Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane).
SCRIMMAGE SET FOR FRIDAY NIGHT – The Cougars’ varsity short practice Thursday afternoon in Lewiston was the prelude to Friday’s scrimmage at Martin Stadium in Pullman.
The scrimmage is open to the public and will start at 7:30 p.m.