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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cougars sign talented defensive players from junior colleges

Washington State may not have a new defensive coordinator yet, but on Wednesday the Cougars added two football players who should help the team slow down opposing offenses.

On the first day of the midyear signing period for junior college recruits, defensive end Jeremiah Mitchell and safety Shalom Luani signed national letters of intent to play for WSU. By signing early, the duo can join the Cougars in January and participate it spring practices.

Each are considered four-star prospects by the Scout recruiting service.

“We’re excited about Shalom and Jeremiah joining the program,” coach Mike Leach said in a statement. “Both are explosive players and will get the opportunity to come in early, get settled in the classroom and participate in spring practices.”

Luani will have the eligibility of a true junior, meaning he has a redshirt season and two years on the field available.

It’s doubtful the Cougars will want him to redshirt, given that they started two true freshmen at safety for significant portions of last season.

The City College of San Francisco transfer is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds and chose the Cougars over reported scholarship offers from Illinois, Oregon State and Washington. He played his high school football in Pago Pago, American Samoa, with current WSU defensive lineman Robert Barber.

Scout rates him the No. 19 junior college prospect in the country and 247Sports considers him the best junior college safety in the country.

“Shalom is a very good athlete with good size and great feet,” Leach said. “He is a former soccer player, explosive tackler who is physical and a downhill player who makes a lot of plays on the ball.”

Mitchell will not have a redshirt year available, but he also isn’t expected to need one, particularly if current WSU defensive lineman Xavier Cooper declares early for the NFL draft as some analysts have speculated he might. The 6-5, 260-pound defender earned All-Central League second-team honors at Riverside (California) Community College after tallying six sacks to go with 43 tackles last season, 13.5 of which went for a loss. Scout rates him the No. 28 overall junior college prospect.

“For his size Jeremiah is a very athletic player and a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball,” Leach said. “He is an instinctive pass rusher with a great motor with the chance to make an immediate impact.”

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