June 4, 2008

Cougars land first pledge for 2009

Last cycle, Washington State did not get their first verbal commitment for football until November.

The Cougars did not have to wait quite as long this time around. Geoff Meinken, from Lynnwood, Wash., recently became their first pledge for 2009.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder earned honorable mention all-league honors as a defensive player last fall. He also rushed for 700 yards at tailback.

"Physically, Jeff is way ahead of most of the players he is going against," said Meinken's coach at Lynnwood High School, Dorian Manza. "He is strong and he is explosive. And for as big as he is, he is actually pretty agile. We are going to put him at tailback this year because he is one of the faster guys on our team and once he gets going downhill he is pretty hard to tackle. He can lower the boom.

"Defensively he is kind of a hybrid player for us. He played mostly defensive end and a little linebacker for us. He has only been playing football since his freshman year so he is very raw. He has great potential. I could see him being a defensive tackle eventually. I don't know if he has turned 17 years old yet. He might still be 16, which is just outrageous. I could see him putting on a good 20-30 pounds in the next few years."

Meinken also excels in track and field and on the basketball court.

Meinken tested out with a 4.62-forty at a recent combine. He also did 23 reps of 185-pounds on the bench press.

"He benches right around 300 pounds, he can power clean over 225 pounds and he squats over 500 pounds," added Coach Manza. "He is a physical specimen."

Washington State was the first to offer him a scholarship.

"I sent them an info sheet and sent them film and they came out to the school [during the evaluation period]," said Manza. "One of Washington State's coaches then watched a track meet of his. I think it was the day he had his fastest 100-meter dash time. It was an 11.6 or 11.7. When you see a 255-pound kid running that fast in the 100-meter dash, it gives you the impression that he might be pretty legitimate. They looked at his combine scores as well and were impressed.

"They gave him an offer and he sat down with his family and made a commitment."

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