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Hill still on fence for draft

PULLMAN – Washington State’s Jason Hill, who at one point had said he’d have a decision at about this time on whether to stay for his senior season or enter the NFL a year early, is now planning on waiting longer to make his choice.

Hill, who just completed a record-setting junior season at wide receiver, sent in forms to the NFL Friday to officially request a draft evaluation, and he said this week he’d like to see the results before coming to a conclusion.

“Now I’m playing the waiting game and we’ll see what comes out of that,” said Hill, who expects no response for at least two more weeks. “I have to. It’s my life on the line. I’ve got to wait it out.”

Hill has also sat down with head coach Bill Doba in the last week but said nothing new came out of the discussion. Previously, the 20-year-old has said he would probably enter the draft if he were to be picked in the top two rounds.

“It is tough. I want to be 100 percent in or 100 percent out,” Hill said. “I’ve got some people saying to go and some people saying to stay, but I pay no mind to that.”

The San Francisco native did reiterate the importance of a college degree, something no other family member has. Hill said that “is becoming more of an issue,” although he is already on track to graduate in December 2006.

As a draft prospect, Hill’s standing is still uncertain because juniors tend to escape complete evaluation until they have committed to the draft process.

“The lack of depth at receiver (in this draft) could help him,” said Nolan Nawrocki, a draft analyst for Pro Football Weekly. “He doesn’t go over the middle a lot, and there are some concerns about his toughness.”

On the table

With no bowl game to play this month, many Cougars are visiting the doctor now to get injury issues solved as quickly as possible.

Two former Cougars with draft hopes, Will Derting and Troy Bienemann, have already undergone surgery. Derting had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week and an expected recovery time of 4-6 weeks might give him a chance to play in at least one off-season bowl showcase for seniors hoping to play professionally. Bienemann had his ACL tear operated on in California on Tuesday, and the operation apparently went well, according to WSU head trainer Bill Drake.

Drake also addressed a number of other returning players who either have had, will have or might have surgical procedures:

“Quarterback Alex Brink is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle next week after swelling had been a constant problem during the season. A 3-6 week rehabilitation is expected.

“Defensive tackle Aaron Johnson had surgery on his left thumb last week and it should be 4-6 weeks before the rising junior’s injury is fully recovered.

“Fellow defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua is being told to give his right ankle plenty of rest this winter. A right fibula fracture in August kept him out for half the season and swelling in the ankle thereafter limited his playing time.

“Defensive end Mkristo Bruce may not need surgery on his left knee, as was once expected. Rest has apparently helped heal the injury, but should arthroscopic surgery be necessary a 3-4 week recuperation would be likely.

“Tight end Cody Boyd is still consulting with doctors to formulate a plan after three bone cysts in his heel caused problems throughout the 2005 season. Surgery remains an option, and Drake said the operation would be significant, needing 3-4 months to heal.

“Offensive lineman Josh Duin has right knee surgery scheduled for this week, the same knee he injured during the 2004 season. Duin should be out for 2-3 months.

Not quite a cover boy, but …

Running back Jerome Harrison collected another honor when Sports Illustrated named him first-team All-American following the senior’s 1,900-yard season.

Harrison shared first-team honors with USC’s Reggie Bush. Tonight, those two – plus Memphis’ DeAngelo Williams – are finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.

The award show will be broadcast on ESPN at 4 p.m.

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