COUGAR RECRUITING ROUNDUP

THE RECRUITING CLASS is nearly full, there's a lengthy dead period coming up and the full coaching staff has yet to be hired and put out on the road. But recruiting at Washington State still figures to be fast and furious over the next seven weeks. For example, take two names suddenly popping up on the Wazzu radar..

Darius Powe (6-2, 186) has long held an offer from Washington State but he's showing more interest with Mike Leach now at the helm.

"(It's because) he passes the ball a lot, knows how to win and people to The League," Powe told CF.C.

Powe has offers from just about every school in the Pac-12. He's scheduled to visit Cal this weekend. A possible trip to WSU may come to fruition in January. Still, Leach looks to have ground to make up on the staffs who have been recruiting Powe heavily all year, with Powe describing his interest in WSU at this stage to CF.C as "mild" and "wanting to take a look."

Another potential target is Culver City, Calif. linebacker Khalil Pettway (6-3, 210). He had been a pledge to SMU since the summer but decommitted this week.

"Washington State, NC State and Arizona are the ones I'm looking at," Pettway told Scout.com this week. "With Washington State and Arizona, I am going to get back into contact with the new coaches."

THE JACKSON TWINS, corners Vershad Jackson and Rashad Jackson, have seemed to be actively looking around in recent weeks. But Vershad told CF.C something different on Friday. And that the hiring of the former longtime coach at Texas Tech has made an impact.

"We're still committed to Washington state, we're still strong with Washington State," said Vershad, who said they've been hearing most from Colorado, Louisiana Monroe and Cal. "We're solidly committed to Wazzu and that's the school we like. We want to go there because coach Leach is a great coach, so we're just waiting to hear from him."

MEANWHILE, THE LEACH hire has also met with enthusiasm in Mississippi, where WSU verbal commit and d-tackle Maurice Bennett resides.

"I know when he was at Texas Tech, he had a good season every year," Bennett told the Clarion Ledger. "I think the program is on the way up." Bennett officially tripped to Pullman (some 2,200 miles away from his hometown of Madison) early in the season. "It took four different planes and all day to get there, but I enjoyed it," said Bennett, whose brother Bryon plays at Ole Miss.

OUT IN Chula Vista, Calif., WR commit Travis Gardner is excited to play for Leach.

"I am still committed, I can't wait to be a Cougar," Gardner said recently. "The offense is really good for wide receivers and I can't wait to play that style."

The two safeties in the class, David Bucannon and Taylor Taliulu, are also both solid per recent reports, while future WSU quarterback Austin Apodaca, who is coming off a stellar senior season in Colorado, has told CF.C he can't wait to get to Pullman to play for Leach.

WR Dalen Jones looks to be a different story. He continues to say he's committed to WSU but he tripped recently to Nevada and he says he plans on taking visits to UCLA and Sac State, and possibly Fresno State, with the UCLA trip scheduled for January. Jones told the Fresno State site on Scout.

"I had a lot of trust in Coach [Paul] Wulff and I still haven't been contacted by Coach Leach. I am still committed to them. I just want to talk to Coach Leach before I do anything," said Jones.

THE OTHER FACTOR in play here is WSU. Leach has since his hire said it is too early to determine if he will give scholarships to each and every one of the 19 players who made verbal commitments to Paul Wulff and his staff. As Leach's chief of staff Dave Emerick told CF.C, they're in the process of reaching out to all the commits and going through film. "We want to make sure it's the right situation for us and for them too," said Emerick.

With virtually a full class already in place, Leach and Co. are in about as good a place recruiting-wise as a new coach and staff could hope for.

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