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College Football Recruiting: Washington State Cougars In Lead For Chidobe Awuzie

James Snook – USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars were nowhere near as successful in 2012 as they hoped they would be under new head coach Mike Leach. They finished just 3-9 overall with only one win in conference play. One of their biggest deficiencies was on the defensive side of the ball in the secondary. Help may be on the way, however, as WSU looks poised to land three-star cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie, out of San Jose, California, is currently interested in three schools. The San Jose State Spartans, obviously, have recruited him heavily since he’s in their own back yard, and the Colorado Buffaloes are making a strong push with former Spartans head coach Mike MacIntyre taking over the program in Boulder.

However, it’s Washington State who leads the way at this point. Awuzie says that the Cougars were his first offer, which means something to him and his relationship with running backs coach Jim Mastro and head coach Mike Leach have helped strengthen Wazzu’s case for the corner. The young corner will take an official visit to Pullman on January 11.

Things aren’t wrapped up in this recruiting battle just yet, however. A week after his trip to WSU, Awuzie will visit Colorado and meet with MacIntyre, who he knows from the coach’s time in his home town of San Jose. That relationship could sway Awuzie towards a different Pac 12 school and leave Wazzu still searching for defensive help.

Washington State’s chances to sign Awuzie could also be hurt by the possible departure of Mastro. The assistant coach was a long-time member of Chris Ault‘s staff with the Nevada Wolfpack and is reportedly a leading candidate to take over the vacant Nevada job following Ault’s retirement. Losing the face that Awuzie associates with the Cougars will not do the program any favors in this recruiting battle.

Things will heat up for the 6-foot, 180-pound prospect as National Signing Day approaches. Getting solid players into the secondary is of the utmost importance to Leach and the Cougars, who ranked No. 101 in scoring defense last season and No. 99 against the pass. Awuzie would be a great addition, so look for Washington State to put its best foot forward January 11 to woo the recruit to the Palouse.

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