After WSU visit, LB/ATH has decision date

JEFF CAMILLI

AN OFFICIAL VISIT to Washington State can change a lot of things for a prospect. It can both dispel preconceived notions and create new ones. And for a visitor this past weekend out of California, it can also mean he comes out of the trip with a new leader.

Headed into his visit to the Palouse, defenseman Jeff Camilli (6-4, 250) out of Shingle Springs, Calif. had the Cougs trailing in his recruiting. But after seeing Washington State battle back on Saturday against UCLA and witnessing the electric energy around campus on game day, he changed his mind and tells CF.C the Cougs are the team to beat in landing his services.

"Oh man, my trip was awesome," said the Ponderosa High product. "I ended up loving it out there and I really liked the area and the players. Even when it got down to 20 degrees at the stadium, I was still having fun. I loved everything about my trip."

Camilli, who arrived in Pullman on Saturday and left Monday morning, earlier had Fresno State on top. That's no longer the case, he said.

"Washington State is my new leader right now," Camilli said. "What really stood out to me were the players. They were easy to talk to and they seemed like a tight knit family. When we were in the locker room, everyone was joined together and there were no little groups. Everyone was close and I really liked that."

ONE OF THE highlights of his weekend was watching the Cougars battle back on Saturday against the Bruins after trailing 37-7 at halftime. Coupled with the energy of Martin Stadium, it was exactly what he was hoping to see from Cougar Nation.

"With it being 20 degrees, I didn't expect a lot of people to show up, but that place was packed," Camilli said. "Everyone in the stands was wearing Cougar gear and the fans were loud and fired up. At first everyone was bummed out because the game wasn't going well, but once they started the comeback, things got pretty crazy."

Camilli was hosted by redshirt freshman middle linebacker Darryl Monroe. The Orlando product recorded five tackles in Saturday's 44-36 loss to the Bruins and made a lasting impression on Camilli.

"He was really nice and I like that guy a lot," Camilli said of Monroe. "He told me they have a lot of true freshmen starting and how they're a young team that have the coaches in place to build the program up for the future. I bought into it."

Camilli also had the opportunity to talk with WSU head man Mike Leach.

"I went into his office and we chatted for a bit," Camilli said. "Coach Leach told me how the program is coming up and that he wanted me because I'm a big, physical guy. He knows what he's doing and it would be an honor to play for him. He's done well with programs and I'm excited to see how he turns WSU around."

Camilli could play at one of a variety of positions at Wazzu, including BUCK linebacker, MIK and WIL linebacker, defensive end and possibly even defensive tackle if he puts on some weight.

CAMILLI ALSO GAVE high marks to the WSU campus, saying it was beautiful and that it was the first college town he's visited that he was able to picture himself living in. He almost pulled the trigger by committing to WSU before he left Pullman, but decided to hold off until after he takes other official visits.

"It was a perfect trip and it couldn't have gone any better, but my dad was telling me to compare it to a used car salesman," Camilli said. "When you're in the lot, you want it really bad, but you have to separate yourself for a week or two and make sure you still feel the same way."

Camilli is scheduled to visit Nevada on Dec. 1 and Fresno State on Dec. 7 and has no other official visits set up at this time.

"I'm going to make my decision around Dec. 15," Camilli said. "I'd like to meet the players and check out the area at those other schools. I hope to learn more about the Nevada and Fresno State, but Washington State is my leader right now, no doubt."

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