WSU Cougars get a commitment from Valhalla (El Cajon, Calif.) DE Danny Bender, who was previously committed to San Diego State
Washington State is getting another player with the last name “Bender,” and on the opposite side of the ball from the quarterback who led the Cougs to a win in relief of Luke Falk against Colorado last season.
Valhalla High (El Cajon, Calif.) defensive end Danny Bender will get to spend his college career in Pullman chasing down Cougs’ backup quarterback Peyton Bender in practice.
Danny Bender committed to San Diego State in December, but flipped his commitment to Washington State on Monday night after a late push by the Cougs. Bender is rated a two-star recruit on Rivals.com.
“My intention was never to stay home and play football, but I realized that (until WSU offered), San Diego State was the best opportunity with all the offers that I had, and I didn’t want to miss out,” Bender said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “A couple of days ago, the opportunity came to play for WSU and I didn’t want to look back and regret not taking the opportunity.”
WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch visited Bender at his home in El Cajon, Calif. on Sunday night and won over the defensive end with his explanation of the defensive system WSU runs, and everything its Pullman campus has to offer.
Bender said he really likes the 3-4 defense WSU runs, and that he’s coming to WSU as a defensive end. He’ll take an official visit to Pullman this weekend.
Bender remained firmly committed to the Aztecs all the way through last weekend, when he took his official visit to their campus. But the Cougars extended a scholarship offer — Bender’s sixth — on Saturday.
On Monday evening, Bender announced via his Twitter account that he was re-opening his recruitment process.
An hour later, Bender tweeted his allegiance to the Cougs.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end also had offers from Nevada, Sacramento State and Wyoming, but WSU was his only Pac-12 offer. He visited Nevada last August and took an unofficial visit to UW in November.
Bender finished his senior season with 74 tackles (57 solo), 36 tackles for loss, nine sacks, eight batted passes, four forced fumbles, two touchdowns and one pick. He’s the first commitment WSU has gotten this week.
Bender is the fourth recruit WSU has pulled out of the San Diego metro area in this signing class. Wide receiver Dezmon Patmon, and linebackers Mason Vinyard and Jihad Woods are the others.
Grinch is responsible for recruiting the San Diego area, so perhaps his presence there has contributed to the number of San Diego-based defensive recruits that have pledged commitments to the Cougs this recruiting cycle.
Bender played for the U.S. national U-18 football team in 2015. He was listed on the roster as a tight end.
Here’s a look at Bender’s senior highlight tape: