PULLMAN – Mike Leach and his staff knocked out a bulk of their recruiting in December during the NCAA’s new early signing period, inking 20 high school and junior college prospects – a handful of whom are already on campus in Pullman.
That left only a handful of available scholarships for the Cougars to fill before the traditional Feb. 7 National Signing Day. Below is a list of the players who made it official on Wednesday. Click on the player’s name to access their Twitter bio and access highlight tapes below.
Position: Defensive back
High school: Westlake High (Atlanta)
Height/weight: 6-0, 180
Other P-5 offers: Mississippi State, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Virginia Tech.
WSU doesn’t often land former SEC commits, but the Cougars had an in with Ross, whose father played for Mike Leach at Valdosta State. The defensive back from Jacksonville, Florida, verballed to Mississippi State, but reopened his commitment when Dan Mullen left for Florida and committed to the Cougars just last week.
Position: Offensive line
High school: San Ramon Valley (San Ramon, California)
Height/weight: 6-4, 295
Other P-5 offers: Nebraska, Cal, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah
A one-time UCLA commit, McDonald decided to open things up when Jim Mora was fired and among his five other Pac-12 offers – not to mention another from Nebraska – WSU looked most attractive. McDonald possesses good size and physicality, giving the Cougars their fourth offensive line signee, along with Syr Riley, Keenan Forbes and Cade Beresford.
Position: Defensive line
Junior college: Riverside Community College (Riverside, California)
Height/weight: 6-3, 250
Aiolupotea-Pei is relatively inexperienced on a football field and grew up playing rugby in his native Australia. He amassed 41 tackles and 5.5 sacks in his second season at Riverside CC and earned 2017 Southern California Football Association Second Team honors.
Position: Wide receiver
Junior college: Independence C.C. (Independence, Kansas)
Height/weight: 5-9, 160
Other offers: Colorado State, Toledo
One way or another, Jackson was going to end up playing for WSU outside receivers coach Derek Sage. The Floridian initially signed with Toledo when Sage was on the staff, but failed to qualify academically and spent two seasons at Independence, a Juco powerhouse in Kansas. Sage joined Mike Leach’s staff in January and Jackson committed to WSU just three months later. In year No. 2 at Independence, he caught 25 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns. That came after a 49-catch, 649-yard, five-touchdown freshman season.