Leach name big for D players, too

OFFENSIVE RECRUITS perk up when they hear the name Mike Leach, such is the power of leading the nation in passing six out of ten years. But the high excitement level surrounding Leach isn't just reserved for offensive players. Take for example one of the highest in-demand defensive tackles from the junior college ranks this recruiting class…

Scottsdale DT Mike Pennel has been courted by WSU all year long and that hasn't changed with a new coaching staff in Pullman.

"I've talked with them (recently) a couple times," Pennel said of WSU. "I haven't talked to coach Leach yet, I'm supposed to talk to him sometime later this week… With the addition of coach Leach and the excitement he brings on defense, that's something that I might want to be part of."

Pennel is massive, at 6-5, 330 pounds. He had 13 tackles for loss among his 37 stops on the season and the first team all leaguer helped the d-ends on Scottsdale to clean up through his crushing of the pocket.

"I had a relationship there with coach (Todd) Howard but with the addition of Mike Leach, that makes you take notice. I think he can win a lot of games there," said Pennel.

PENNEL AT ONE time was slated to receive his AA early and be a mid-year transfer but he says that's no longer the case and will graduate in May. But that doesn't look to have decreased his recruiting stock. He said WSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, K-State, ASU and Arizona have all been in close contact in recent weeks.

"I have to say that if anything, it's opened up more," said Pennel, who was a verbal at one time to Arkansas before decommitting earlier this month. The Razorbacks continue to heavily recruit him.

Pennel said he doesn't have any firm plans for upcoming official visits and is concentrating most on his finals at Scottsdale right now. Originally out of Grandview High in Colorado, Pennel has two to play two at the next level.

Mike Pennel profile

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