With fewer spots, WSU looks to fill up fast

YOU'RE SEEING IT more and more in the recruiting articles coming out this spring. Prospects saying they want to wait until deep into the process before making a decision. But for the vast majority of them, that won't end up being the case. And when a school has a small senior class and fewer slots to fill than the 25 maximum, such as WSU projects this cycle, it changes things up even more.

Washington State is expected to take less than the 25 maximum allowable for the class for 2012, such is the youth on the current roster. How many open spots the Cougs will have by the time February rolls around is a moving target. When it's all said and done and taking into account several factors, CF.C's current projection is that the Cougars will take 17-19. That figure does not take into account any oversigning (grayshirts) on prospects who could delay enrollment until Jan 2012.

WSU isn't the only one with few scholarship seniors. Over in Montlake, the Huskies look to have only 12 spots opening up this recruiting class from graduating seniors on scholarship according to this projection.

FOR WASHINGTON STATE, it means some of the prospects they've offered who want to wait, may wait too long. The Cougs are likely to fill up at certain positions between now and the end of August. It's only natural that prospects want to maximize their options, go on all five official visits and/or take things down to the wire. But for those that do, at some point they are likely to no longer have a WSU offer, because WSU will no longer have one to give.

Many prospects understandably want to see a campus before making a decision. But the growing trend in recruiting is for more and more prospects to take unofficial trips in the spring and summer, with a decision following thereafter. And then their official visit comes later in the year. A %%MATCH_4%% contingent to Wazzu in late June last year soon resulted in crimson pledges. QB Cody Clements, S Brock Lutes and others also took WSU unofficials in the summer and then made the call.

Trying to take several official visits during the season can be a mess – high school coaches loathe how an official visit weekend can upset their team's apple cart. For those prospects dead set on taking five trips, some will almost certainly have to wait until after the season. And almost certainly some of their earlier offers will no longer be available.

It would not be a surprise to see Washington State have 10 commits by the time of their season opener on Sept. 3. Last year, WSU had 11 commits in mid-July. If the same holds true this year, before the official visit season gets underway, WSU will be full at some positions. And some prospects will no longer have a WSU offer.

There are, of course, some prospects for whom WSU will hold a spot open. Every school does, for the elite class targets. But a school can't do that for the vast majority of offers.

Recruiting has gotten earlier and earlier. It used to be that schools approaching double-digit commitments by Dec. 31 was an anomaly. Now schools regularly have (at least) that many before the season even begins.

But that also means recruiting has and is getting earlier and earlier for the prospects themselves, too.

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