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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

After taking time to think it over, OL prospect AJ Hasson shares his pledge to WSU

 (Connor Vanderweyst)

PULLMAN – AJ Hasson had to take a step back. It was early August and the Pac-12 had just collapsed, falling apart at the last minute with the departure of two key schools, putting Washington State’s future in serious jeopardy.

Did Hasson, a 6-foot-5 lineman from California, want to stick to his commitment to the Cougars? He had pledged in June, before anyone realized the conference would crumble. What was in the cards for WSU?

“It’s like, well, this is different now,” said Hasson, a 2024 prospect in Davis, California. “What would happen if they joined this conference? If they don’t get invited to this conference? Do they get this money or they don’t get this money?”

Hasson did some thinking. He chatted with his parents. He even took an official visit to Boise State, one of the 11 schools from which he had offers. If he made good on his promise to WSU head coach Jake Dickert and joined the Cougars, what would the next four years of his life look like?

“And I realized everything’s all right. Everything’s gonna be all right,” Hasson said. “I have trust in Dickert and the administrative staff at Washington State to figure something out, and I think they’re gonna do fine.”

With that clarity, Hasson decided it was time to announce his commitment. He shared the news on Monday evening: He was coming to Washington State.

In Hasson, the Cougars get their 19th commitment in the class of 2024, a January enrollee who figures to play offensive line. He fielded offers from several other FBS programs, including Colorado State, San Jose State and Air Force, plus FCS clubs like Sacramento State, UC Davis and Ivy Leaguers Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and Columbia.

A senior at Davis High, he plays all over the field: offensive line, defensive line, long snapper, backup kicker, backup quarterback and even running back. He’s so flexible that when he came to Pullman for his official visit, offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle showed him some pass plays to tackles that he had drawn up.

“When I was meeting with (Arbuckle), he really only talked about trick plays,” Hasson said.

The first WSU coach to recognize Hasson’s potential was Luke Hyde, an offensive line graduate assistant. Hasson first reached out to him, saying he was playing tight end at Davis.

In his response, Hyde wrote that WSU likes to take big tight ends and turn them into NFL tackles.

“That’s the direct words that he said to me,” Hasson said. “I think that’s what they do because, you can get in space. You’re very athletic. You can mold a big tight end into a great offensive lineman.”

WSU also liked Hasson’s will to win, which he demonstrates by playing so many positions. Davis High, he said, isn’t big on football. More Blue Devils fashion themselvesare swimmers or track stars. At a school of 3,000, only 30 play on the football team.

“So I’m always put in these positions where it’s like, ‘Oh, we need this guy – who can do it?’ ” Hasson said . “And I’m always ready to do what my team needs.”

Hasson knew he wanted to become a Cougar, though, when he drove around the residential areas of Pullman. He hopped in a car with Justin Kramer, a WSU assistant, who showed him where all the coaches live.

“And he’s pointing out, ‘Oh, the receivers coach lives here,’ ” Hasson said. “The O-line coach lives here. Dickert lives over here, and I live here. Like, everyone lives so close together, and it’s a great big family. Our daughters go play at so -and -so’s house on Tuesday and they come here on Thursdays. It’s always a big community and they have a great relationship.”

Hasson did lots more during his mid-June visit. He drove to Moscow, Idaho, to go ax -throwing with John Mateer, the Cougars’ backup quarterback, who showed Hasson he had some work to do


He and other WSU players got together to play poker. They went bowling.

“It was all cool,” Hasson said. “Got to know the guys and just hanging out, having fun.”

Starting in January, Hasson gets to do that every day.