Max Hersey to Washington State (Scout.com)
There's always been a rich pigskin pipeline that has traveled the length of the Evergreen State - from University Place to Pullman - over the years. Current WSU Assistant Coach Mike Levenseller was a Viking, so it was no surprise that the Cougars went to the well again to pick up their second verbal commitment for the 2011 season.
Bishop Sankey was Washington State's first commit - from Spokane, another area known for producing talent for the Crimson and Gray. Now it's Max Hersey, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound TE/DL prospect from Curtis, that verbally committed to Paul Wulff and the Cougars Wednesday night.
Talk about finishing off one class and starting right away on the next!
"We were told to make a phone call to coach Wulff and we did, and he offered," Hersey's father Jack, confirmed to Scout.com Thursday. "His dream has always been to be a Washington State Cougar."
"The opportunity came up and I couldn't pass it," added Max. "I've always wanted to go there. It's in my blood."
There's no question the Cougars are a big part of the Hersey legacy: Both of Max's parents are WSU alums, and his grandfather played baseball for famed Cougar coach Buck Bailey in the 50's. He was part of the first WSU team to ever make it to the College World Series.
"Unfortunately he passed away in 2000, but right now he's doing backflips," Jack said with a chuckle.
Even though Hersey plays tackle on offense - a situation born out of a significant shortage of big bodies at Curtis - Washington State likes what can do with the ball in his hands. On defense he had eight sacks and over 40 tackles to his credit.
"Anything that helps my team, I'll do it," Hersey said, matter-of-factly. "But I've always wanted to play tight end." He added that he actually started playing the position in seventh grade.
Hersey went with two of his teammates to WSU's summer camp, where he worked out at TE, basically the same position Tony Thompson has played in the Cougars' spread look - the h-back, hybrid position. He ended up winning the MVP award for the position.
"Ever since I went down to their camp, it was so fun to be down there with coach Wulff and coach Levy (Mike Levenseller) and coach (Rich) Rasmussen," Hersey said. "They are great coaches. When they offered, I just wanted to go there. It's close to home and it's fun to be down there. I love Pullman."
Jack actually wanted his son to look around a bit initially - if for no other reason than it was early in the process and they had barely dipped their toes in the recruiting river. But his son's enthusiasm for all things Crimson and Gray quickly won the day. And besides, he's not holding out for the signing day hat dance, something his future head coach would no doubt be thrilled to hear.
"We just decided that if you're happy and this is your dream, there's no reason to look around," Jack said.
Then the call was made Wednesday night. "I was kind of nervous," Hersey admitted.
"It's a big decision. It's a big deal. I told coach Wulff that I wanted to be a Cougar. He was in his car with a bunch of the other coaches, and they said they were really excited to have me.
"They are a pretty young team, and they can only go up. Why not go there and help build a solid program for later? I want to be a part of it."
And while he's helping build Cougar football back to where it should be, he'll be working on that Curtis pipeline as well. "It would be neat if Jordan Copeland could come," he said of his Viking teammates. "Rahmel (Dockery) would be amazing to have there, and Jason Walker and C.J. Langlow…it would be amazing to have all those guys there. They are all solid players. Derek Berrey too. "