College Football Recruiting: Washington State Cougars Push For Utah Utes Commit

Russ Isabella – USA TODAY Sports

National signing day is rapidly approaching, so coaching staffs are ramping up their efforts to turn as many recruits into commitments as possible. But even those recruits who have verbally committed to one school aren’t off the table, as some leave the door open for other programs to flip him from one program to another. These battles get increasingly heated the closer to signing day we get, and that’s where we find the Washington State Cougars and Utah Utes today as they compete for the services of cornerback Marcellus Pippins.

The three-star defensive back out of El Cerrito, California, is a proven playmaker in zone coverage with excellent ball skills and a instinctive ability to drive on the ball. He isn’t as highly rated due to his lack of ideal size and speed on paper, but he makes up for it by playing bigger than his 5-foot-9, 165-pound measurables. He has an excellent burst that allows him to make plays by diagnosing routes and reading the quarterback’s eyes.

All of which made Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham incredibly pleased to get his commitment back in October. However, Pippins didn’t close the door completely on his recruitment and took an official visit to Pullman last weekend to see what Mike Leach and the Cougars had to offer. The corner left with plenty to think about.

“There’s a reason I committed to Utah and it’s going to take a lot to beat them out. I’m not shutting the door completely, though. I’m still talking things over with my parents and both coaching staff will be over for in-home visits in the next week.”

The need for Pippins is obvious for Washington State, whose defensive secondary was one of the worst in the country. Getting fresh talent into their pass defense will be key for Leach and the Cougs to turn things around after a rough debut season.

So Leach will pull out all the stops as he visits Pippins in his home in the next week, trying to convince the young defensive back to flip to the Cougars. For now, though, Pippins is still a Ute and Kyle Whittingham is going to give his best sell job when he visits the cornerback as well. Which coach will bring the better sell-job with him? We’ll know come signing day.

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