Nick Rolovich and the Cougars will spend a good portion of the next eight months piecing together the rest of their 2021 recruiting class, all the way through the early signing period in December leading up to the traditional signing day in February.
So, while Washington State’s work isn’t finished yet, forgive Rolovich and his staff if they’re performing a few more virtual chest bumps and high fives today.
The Cougars secured their first commitment from a quarterback under the first-year coach when Xavier Ward, a three-star prospect from Corona, California, pledged Thursday morning.
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound recruit, Ward is considered a “pro style” quarterback by 247Sports.com and didn’t log many rushing yards at Eleanor Roosevelt High as a junior, but he is more than capable as a runner judging by his Hudl highlights and should be one of the most mobile signal-callers to come to Pullman in recent memory.
According to 247Sports, Ward is considered the nation’s No. 45 pro style QB and the No. 107 overall recruit in the state of California. He didn’t receive an offer from the Cougars until Saturday, but almost immediately received a crystal ball prediction from each of the recruiting analysts at 247Sports and committed just five days later.
“Washington State checks all the boxes for me,” Ward told Greg Biggins of 247Sports. “I have a good relationship with the coaches and I’ve honestly been waiting on this offer for a while now. I like the offense and how much they throw it and coach Rolo (Rolovich) and (QB) coach (Craig) Stutzmann take good care of their guys.”
Oregon State was the only other Power Five or Pac-12 school to offer Ward and the Beavers were the first, offering the QB in May of 2019. His only other offers came from two regional FCS programs, Eastern Washington and Idaho.
After throwing 13 interceptions and seven touchdowns as a sophomore while completing just 45% of his throws, Ward turned his numbers around as a junior, completing 51% while throwing 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions to go with 2,044 yards.
Ward, who held a 3.7 GPA according to 247Sports, earned First Team All-CIF honors and First Team All-League honors as a junior. The 16-year-old is considered to have lots of upside and recently was one of the top quarterbacks at the Top 100 SoCal Showcase in Corona.
“Man, I can’t stop smiling right now,” Ward told Biggins after the event. “I talked with coach Stutzmann and he said they watched me workout and liked what they saw. It wasn’t just my throwing but my testing numbers that helped put it over the top, so I’m really excited right now.”
The Cougars were originally in the mix for San Antonio three-star quarterback, Lucas Coley, but the country’s 19th-ranked dual-threat quarterback received an offer from Arkansas two days before WSU offered and most expect him to commit to the Razorbacks on Thursday.
Ward’s father Orlando was a 6-foot-8 center for Stanford’s basketball team in the late 1970s/early 1980s, playing in 78 games and scoring 464 points for the Cardinal in his four seasons.