"It wasn't just a simple hello," said Wazzu's QB commit, Austin Apodaca, on his and his family's visits with Moos on both his unofficial and official trips.
ANY COACH COMING in at this time of year just isn't going to find tons of guys he wants more than the other guys already in place. That kind of thorough evaluation and identification takes place over a full year's recruiting cycle. For an incoming coach, there are few things more pressing than putting a class together. It's a far different situation at WSU for Leach, with 19 known commits and projected room for 19-20.
Consider also that when Leach came on board at Texas Tech in December, Leach had one commit, a 170-pound kid. As related in his book, Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life, Leach didn't particularly like his athleticism, speed or much of anything else. But he immediately said we're going to honor the commitment. By the way, Leach said the player ended up proving him wrong, a starter they inserted at tight end and fullback -- no one could take the starting job from him during his career.
As for the players' decision who are on the commit list, they're not going to be jumping ship. Leach is about as big as it gets as far as name recognition.
Some tenets of Leach's recruiting philosophy include:
THAT WOULD SEEM to fit Apodaca to a tee, though the Silver Creek, Colo. verbal commit to WSU has plenty of arm strength.
Apodaca has thrown at a 72 percent clip this season (235-for-325, 3,524 yards). His touchdown to interception ratio is 43-to-8. Two weeks ago in a playoff win, he did it with his feet, running for 134 yards and three scores. The following week, he threw the second most TD passes in Colorado prep state history (7), going 32-of-38 for 446 yards in a 55-37 win.
"I give all the credit to the offensive line and receivers…I'm very excited Mike Leach is the new head coach. I'm still in shock, he's such a successful coach and so well known. I really feel for the outgoing staff, though," said Apodaca.
Apodaca and Silver Creek play in the Class 3A state title game this Saturday against Windsor (12-1), their lone defeat coming against Silver Creek in Week 5, 41-21.
"I haven't looked into Coach Leach's offense yet but I do know he obviously likes to pass the ball, you hear a lot of people say he's an offensive genius. And I've obviously seen the statistics… I have been hearing from other schools, and seeing quite a bit of new interest, but I'm obviously still committed to Washington State," said Apodaca.
Apodaca said Rich Rasmussen called last night to give him an update on Leach and talk football.
"Coach Razz was really gracious about everything. He's a very good coach," said Apodaca.