Here are a few insights that address questions that have come in from WSU fans ...
1. Committed Players Will Stay (If Allowed)
Fans won't have to worry about players backing away from Washington State. Leach is a big-name hire and should have little issue holding onto the class. The majority of players that committed to Washington State did so because they believed the program was on the upswing. For many it is still their lone BCS offer. The hiring of Leach changes neither situation.
From the commits I have spoken to, the coaching change wasn't a complete shock and many saw it coming. For two of their local targets, it changes nothing.
Sam Flor, an all-area lineman from O'Dea High in Seattle, offered this when asked about the change before Leach was announced: "I have known all along that it was a possibility. I'm sorry to see him (Wulff) go though, he is a great man. I have confidence in (Bill) Moos and am excited about the future. Nothing has changed for me, but I am interested in who the new coach will be."
Jordan Pulu, an all-area linebacker from Federal Way, was less forthcoming. "I don't really want to talk about it other than to say I am still committed."
While Moos has stated that he expects Leach to keep all commitments, I would not be shocked to see some turnover. One of the first tasks for the new staff will be evaluating the talent they already have in Pullman and deciding where the talent holes are on their roster. Once they have done that, they will look at the players committed and see if they fit into that plan. Some will not, it happens in every coaching change across the country.
2. Recruiting Will Change More Drastically In 2013
Cougar fans should expect to see the bigger bump in recruiting in the 2013 recruiting class, not the 2012 class.
The coaches will get in on some new players; they will even have a chance to flip a couple prospects. But, the groundwork for a really good class will be laid next year, not this year.
3. Top Ten Recruiting Classes En Route?
Winning will go the longest way with recruits, not Mike Leach. I don't expect to see Washington State start pulling in "Top Ten" recruiting classes, but Leach has shown the ability to land big-time recruits. Five-star players will not be the norm, although the Cougars will start to land some Top 300 prospects. Maybe most importantly to fans, they should challenge the rival Huskies for top in-state recruits.
A decade ago when Washington State was a dominant program in the Pac-10, winning 10 games a season, they didn't do it with the top-ranked recruiting classes. They won by evaluating players well, getting a couple big recruits and coaching the heck out of them.
Paul Wulff built a foundation on those same principles, and I expect Mike Leach to do the same thing.
Leach's impact on this recruiting cycle?
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