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Sports >  WSU football

All-Decommit Team 2.0: 10 notable Washington State players who chose the Cougars after pledging elsewhere

Dec. 17, 2019 Updated Tue., Dec. 17, 2019 at 10:10 p.m.

A few days ago, we compiled a list of former Washington State commits that had their eyes set on a career with Mike Leach and the Cougars, then backed out for a multitude of reasons. Maybe a coach moved on. Maybe another wave of offers came. Maybe there was a last-minute change of heart.

While a handful of recruits have flipped on the Cougars, WSU has also been a beneficiary of the opposite.

That should be the case on Wednesday, too, when the early signing period begins. At least two players previously committed to other programs are projected to sign with the Cougars – defensive back Jackson Lataimua, a former Nevada pledge, and offensive lineman Julian Ripley, an ex-San Diego State commit – and maybe Leach and his staff will be able to flip one or two more.

We gave you the “All-Decommit Team” on Saturday. Now, we break down 10 players who committed elsewhere but ultimately chose a career with the Cougars, and rate the impact that decision had on the team using a scale from 1-5.

Max Borghi, RB, Colorado

Date decommitted: June 30, 2017

Date committed: June 30, 2017

Borghi’s recruiting story is well known among WSU fans, mostly because of its recency. The Pomona High running back planned to stay at home in the Centennial State, but the Cougars flipped Borghi over the summer, offering a unique opportunity to play in an offense that would use both his running and pass-catching. The drama didn’t end when Borghi pledged, and Stanford made a strong push for the multi-tooled tailback right before the signing period. Many figured he’d wait until February to make his decision. In the end, Jim Mastro and the Cougars completed one of the more impressive recruiting jobs of the Leach era and convinced Borghi to sign.

Impact: 5. After just two seasons, it’s probably safe to call Borghi the best running back Leach has had in Pullman. So, imagine where he’ll be two years from now – if he stays that long.

Jamire Calvin, WR, Nebraska/Oregon State

Date decommitted: See below

The junior slot receiver committed to three different programs in less than a month’s time, but WSU was fortunate to be the last. Calvin first committed to Oregon State on Jan. 17, 2017, during the Army All-American Game, but then changed his mind less than two weeks later, pledging to Nebraska on Jan. 27. Three WSU assistants – Derek Sage, Dave Nichol and Roy Manning – flocked to his Southern California home the Friday before Signing Day and fielded a handful of questions from Calvin, who wound up leaving the Beavers and Cornhuskers behind to sign with the Cougars.

Impact: 4. Calvin posted impressive numbers in 2017 and ’18 with 75 catches for 797 yards and four touchdowns, but a lower body injury shelved him this season.

Hunter Dale, DB, Nebraska/Florida

Date decommitted: July 19, 2014

Date committed: March 2, 2015

Few defensive players under Leach picked up the recruiting interest Dale did. The Louisianan had his pick of the litter with offers from Florida, Miami, Louisville, Nebraska, Penn State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Notre Dame and others. The Gators seemed to be a good fit so Dale committed. He eventually pulled out when coach Will Muschamp was fired. A similar event transpired at Nebraska, where Dale was committed as both a football and baseball player but decommitted shortly after the Huskers parted ways with Bo Pelini. Dale’s relationship with Alex Grinch, who’d been recruiting the player at Missouri, paid off and he eventually decided on the Cougars.

Impact: 5. We’re bumping Dale from a 4 to a 5 because of his impact not only as a 26-game starter at the nickel position, but also now as a defensive quality control assistant on Leach’s staff. The Cougars got lots from him as a player. Now they’re doing it with him as a coach.

Gabe Marks, WR, SMU

Date decommitted: Dec. 21, 2011

Date committed: Jan. 5, 2012

WSU might have missed out on the most prolific receiver in school history had Marks elected to play at Southern Methodist, which had a commitment from the Venice Beach wideout before rumors began to spread that Mustangs coach June Jones was on his way out. Marks’ area recruiter, Adrian Klemm, also left for UCLA and the player decommitted four days before Christmas. Then, as Marks explained during a video segment for the Pac-12 Networks, “Leach called me one day and I jumped right on before I even came for a visit.”

Impact: 5. This one was easy. Marks set the Pac-12 record for career receptions, with 312, and there simply hasn’t, and may never be, a more productive receiver in Pullman under Leach.

Tay Martin, WR, Tulane

Date decommitted: Dec. 16, 2016

Date committed: Jan. 22, 2017

A former Louisiana 4A hoops Player of the Year, Martin had three Division I basketball scholarships from the University of New Orleans, Southern Miss and UAB but turned those down to play FBS football at Tulane, not far from his hometown of Houma. Former WSU outside receivers coach Derek Sage was recruiting Martin while he was still coaching the position at the University of Toledo. When Sage left for Pullman, he managed to convince the rangy, athletic wideout to join him in the Pac-12.

Impact: 4. Cougar fans have seen glimpses of Martin’s potential, but they’ve also seen the receiver disappear from time to time. Still, it’s hard to argue with 139 career receptions, 1,549 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Robert Lewis, WR, SMU

Date decommitted: Jan. 17, 2012

Date committed: Jan. 18, 2012

Lewis ditched the Mustangs around the same time Marks did, when Jones’ future in Dallas was uncertain, although the Watts, California, native never indicated that was his reason for decommitting from SMU. Nonetheless, Lewis preferred the package the Cougars were offering and the small but physical wide receiver backed off his pledge from SMU one day, then committed to WSU the next and signed on the dotted line.

Impact: 3. Lewis’ most productive years in Pullman were his first three, when the receiver caught 117 balls for 1,254 yards and six touchdowns. He missed all of 2017 with an injury and fell out of the rotation the following season, making just one grab.

Isaac Dotson, LB, Nevada

Date decommitted: Jan. 13, 2013

Date committed: Jan. 13, 2012

Initially excited to play quarterback in Chris Ault’s pistol offense, the two-way star from Bellevue’s Newport High jumped at an offer to the Wolf Pack and was committed for more than six months before Ault retired after the 2012 season in Reno. Leaving Dotson with more doubt, Nevada’s offensive coordinator relocated to Temple. “That means they are not sure what offense they are running,” Dotson told Northwest Prep Report in 2013. “That made me rethink it all.” While the Cougars offered Dotson as an athlete, they gave him a shot at QB before eventually moving him to the defense.

Impact: 4. The versatility Dotson brought to the defense was key through Grinch’s tenure in Pullman, as was the linebacker’s leadership.

Marcellus Pippins, CB, Utah

Date decommitted: Feb. 2, 2013

Date committed: Feb. 2, 2013

Three other Pac-12 schools made offers to the cornerback from El Cerrito, California, and Pippins was set to play for one of them before the Utes asked him to grayshirt and delay his enrollment. Pippins wasn’t into the idea, Utah pulled his scholarship offer and the three-star defensive back looked elsewhere, ultimately landing on the Cougars. .

Impact: 3. While Pippins lost hold of his job midway through his senior year, the corner still started 31 games and finished his career with five interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Shalom Luani, S, Oregon State

Date decommitted: Dec. 15, 2014

Date committed: Dec. 15, 2014

Before Luani was a seventh-round NFL Draft pick of the Oakland Raiders or an All-Pac-12 First Team defensive back for Leach’s Cougars, the American Samoa native was an Oregon State commit. Not just an Oregon State commit actually, but the top-rated Oregon State commit in the class of 2015. Luani, ranked the No. 19 junior college player in the country was sold on the Beavers until Mike Riley left his post in Corvallis for the open job at Nebraska. That caused not only Luani but also Treshon Broughton to reconsider his options, and both players wound up in Pullman.

Impact: 5. Luani starred on the field, making 158 tackles, intercepting eight passes and forcing three fumbles, but he also helped with the Cougars’ pipeline to City College of San Francisco, where they’d go back time and time again for players like Anthony Gordon, Easop Winston Jr., and others.

Easop Winston Jr., WR, Eastern Michigan

Date decommitted: Dec. 13, 2016

Date committed: Dec. 13, 2016

Even after two productive seasons at City College of San Francisco, Winston Jr. lacked any sort of college interest until Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference came in with a late offer. Unsure if anything else would be coming his way, Winston Jr. committed right away. It didn’t sit well with him when an EMU recruiter told the sure-handed receiver he wasn’t talented enough to play at the Power Five level. The Cougars had one wide receiver scholarship left and dialed up Winston Jr. the day before the early period. He committed on Dec. 13 and signed Dec. 14.

Impact: 4. After spending a redshirt season to work on his speed and strength, Winston Jr. broke out for the Cougars with 52 catches for 654 yards and eight touchdowns last year, tacking on 77 receptions for 914 yards and 11 touchdowns this year.

Honorable mention: Dallas Hobbs (DL, UConn); Tyrese Ross (S, Mississippi State); Hunter Mayginnes (OL, Arizona State), Treshon Broughton (CB, Oregon State), Isaiah Johnson-Mack (WR, Florida).

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