Top five recruits coming to the Palouse

All WSU 2022 recruits are three-star athletes



WSU wide receivers Donovan Ollie (6) and Calvin Jackson Jr. (8) celebrate after scoring a touchdown during a game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Nov. 19, 2021.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen reporter

On National Signing Day, WSU football head coach Jake Dickert and his coaching staff added 10 players to the roster – nine new freshmen and a transfer. Everyone has had their chance to break down the group that came in on Early Signing Day, so let us take a look at the top five players in this new group of signees.

  1. Tony Carter – Defensive Back – Jacksonville, Fla.

Listed at 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, Carter signs with WSU as a three-star linebacker out of Mandarin High School in Florida. With that size, expect him to move into the secondary. The program’s tweet about him joining lists him as a defensive back, and Dickert talked about him as a strong safety. Carter had three other offers, including one other Power Five offer from Maryland.

“Tony, he’s a unique specimen because he’s also a wrestler and has golden aspiration this year to be a state champion,” Dickert said. “He’s currently undefeated. He’s a hard hitting strong safety that fits exactly the role we want for him in our defense.”

Carter seems to play a very cerebral game. When watching him, you can see him diagnose the offensive play in real-time and react quickly. On top of his football IQ, Carter can lay the wood better than guys that have a lot more size than him. It will be fascinating to see the blend of athleticism, intelligence and physical prowess come together in the crimson and gray.

  1. Kendall Williams – Offensive Lineman – San Diego, Calif. 

The 6-foot-4-inch, 285 pound defensive lineman spent most of his time in high school as a defensive tackle. 247Sports lists him as a defensive lineman. However, Dickert and staff seem to be committed to moving him to the other side of the trenches. WSU was the only Power Five offer that Williams received. He had three other offers from Idaho, Morgan State and Nevada.

“I think you really see his athleticism and his ability to play in the interior of our offensive line,” Dickert said. “He is one of those guys that is ready-made with his size and his mentality. He has a really big life and passion to him that I think will bring some energy to our football program.”

The graduate of Lincoln High School is a guy that Dickert said already has the size and ability to really compete for playing time this spring. He has good block shedding abilities and can physically overpower opponents at times. It will be interesting to see the transition across the line of scrimmage and how Williams will do for the Cougs.

  1. Zack Miller – Offensive Lineman – Orange, Calif.

Miller is a very large man, listed at 6-foot-7-inches and nearly 300 pounds. Miller played primarily as a tackle while at Orange Lutheran High School. He had three other offers, including one other Power Five offer from fellow Pac-12 school Colorado. 

“Zack is all of 6-7,” Dickert said. “I just really feel like he can be an anchor at that left tackle position hopefully for a long time to come. I think he’s a special breed of length and athleticism.”

Miller really seems like the type of offensive lineman you can get excited about. For starters, his size is impressive. If there is one thing you can not teach, it’s size. On top of that, he possesses a natural athleticism that you do not expect from a player of his stature. You can see him peel out of stance and to the perimeter on screen plays and he runs a lot better than you would expect. He can get to the spot he needs to be in for a block very quickly and once he is able to get his hands on you, there is a good chance you are not getting loose until the whistle.

  1. Jaylen Jenkins – Running Back – Allen, Texas

Jenkins is another player that excites me a lot. The running back comes from Allen High School in Texas, one of the premier football programs in the country. The team finished this last season ranked in the top-20 teams from the Lone Star state, according to MaxPreps. He had 10 other offers, including six other FBS offers. Shockingly, WSU was his only Power Five offer.

“He really possesses a unique skill set of speed, plus the ability to flex out and do a lot of the things our tailback will do in the new offense in the receiving game,” Dickert said. “Jaylen is one of those guys that can hit a seam and if no one is there, he can take the ball to the house. He’s a very explosive player.”

This guy is a super exciting player for Coug fans. I would not necessarily describe him as the fastest guy on the field, but he very well could be the quickest. He does have a lot of speed when he gets into space, but his biggest strength is his ability to move in traffic and pick up yards near the line of scrimmage.

Expect to see Jenkins early in his freshman season. Dickert described him as a “change of pace” running back on numerous occasions in reference to where he will fit with current running back Nakia Watson. Watson will likely be the starter, but Jenkins could definitely see a good chunk of playing time as a pass-catching back or just a running back for sweeps. 

  1. Jordan Lee – Defensive Back – Bishop Gorman/Nevada 

The defensive back has spent the last four seasons as a member of the Nevada Wolf Pack after his time in high school at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Last season, he played in 12 games, recorded 86 tackles (third on the team), four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

“I’ve coached a lot of Jordan Lees,” Dickert said. “They are smart. They are tough. They are physical. They just really fit our system. Like I said with Tony Carter, there aren’t many people that play with a true strong safety anymore, but that guy has all the versatility, physicality, smarts and deep range ability to play at a really high level.”

I think Lee has less upside than someone like Miller or Jenkins might have, but he will almost certainly be a starter in week one against Idaho. That is what makes him the best recruit from National Signing Day. He has FBS experience. He is a very physical defender, which will be necessary in the Pac-12. He can play a few different positions on the defense depending on where he is needed. Lee is a plug and play pick-up that will help WSU on the defensive side of the ball in his very first year on the Palouse.