Washington State’s spring evaluation process might have been knocked off course by COVID-19 and the recruiting dead period that came with it, but 247Sports.com national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman assured The Spokesman-Review earlier this week the Cougars were still making good headway on the 2021 class, even if they didn’t have a commit to show for it.
Now they’re off and running.
Inglewood (Calif.) High wide receiver Orion Peters pledged to WSU, becoming the first 2021 prospect to do so Friday night when he announced his decision on Twitter.
“I thank every school that has taken their time to reach out and give me an opportunity as well!!” Peters tweeted. “With that being said… I am extremely blessed to announce that I am committed to WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY!!”
At 5 feet 10, 172 pounds, Peters projects as a slot receiver in new coach Nick Rolovich’s run-and-shoot offense. He was given three stars by 247Sports.com and chose WSU over three other Power Five schools — Arizona State, Kansas and Virginia Tech — in addition to a handful of mostly Mountain West mid-majors, including Nevada, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State, but also Florida Atlantic and Central Michigan.
Prior to Peters, the Cougars were one of just two Power Five schools in the country without a commit in the 2021 recruiting class, Arizona being the other.
Huffman told the Spokesman-Review the Cougars were at a disadvantage in not being able to host recruits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with a new staff and new systems on both sides of the ball, but that it was still too early in the evaluation period to worry about the lack of an oral commitment.
“They’ve got a little bit of a mulligan, I would say,” Huffman said, “but if we’re having this conversation again in mid-July, early August, then there might be time to panic.”
Peters was offered by WSU on April 11 and told 247Sports.com’s Greg Biggins the phone call from the Cougars was one he’d been eagerly anticipating, describing the run-and-shoot as a dream offense for a wide receiver and one that compared to the system he plays in at Inglewood.
“Yeah, it’s very similar in terms of how much they throw the ball and how many opportunities are there to make plays,” Peters told Biggins. “They have had four wide receivers who have gone over 1,000 yards there, and I fit in really well.”
New Washington State cornerbacks coach John Richardson was the main recruiter for Peters and began scouting the player while he was at Wyoming, Peters told Biggins.
As a high-school junior, Peters was productive on both sides of the ball but made his biggest impact as a wideout, catching 50 passes for 1,478 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was also a threat as a kick returner, bringing back six kicks for 159 yards, a 26.5-yard average.
Peters doubled as a cornerback for the Sentinels, intercepting two passes and totaling 36 tackles.