Papa Apodaca's excitement palpable

PULLMAN — Mike Apodaca could barely contain his excitement early this morning. Just minutes after his son Austin signed a national letter of intent to play ball at Washington State the proud papa – who has doubled as his son's head coach at Silver Creek High outside Denver – told he knows Austin is going to be in good hands.

"It's going to be an amazing experience, as a dad, knowing he's going to be in a great community and be with great people," he said. "It's going to be great to enjoy it as a father and son."

The recruiting ride certainly was a wild one, with Austin Apodaca verbally committing to WSU back in June and then seeing Paul Wulff let go in November. There were Pac-12 schools including Oregon and Oregon State and a number of Mountain West and WAC schools who Michael said contacted Austin wondering if he was ready to de-commit for a possible offer.

"There were a couple schools interested and in fairness … but he was really never ready to de-commit unless he got a good or bad feeling from the (new) staff."

"We talked about once you commit that you know that's where you want to go," he added. "You need to be a man of your word and we knew other schools may come in but you need to stick to your guns."

Papa Apodaca say he and Austin were re-sold on WSU after meeting with Mike Leach. "He really is a fascinating man," Mike said. "When he came to the house there was talk of football no doubt, but the talk of our family and his family was great. I'm originally from Wyoming and that's what he calls home. He was intriguing and he really captivates you when he talks to you, really a great man."

A HUGE ASSIST in "re-selling" WSU must be given to inside receivers coach Eric Morris who was the staffer running point on Austin's recruitment. Morris graduated from Texas Tech in 2009 where he was a standout receiver and all-conference punt returner under Leach. Mike Apodaca said Morris did a phenomenal job of describing what it was like to play for Leach and what his son could expect over his career.

"Coach Morris was at the house several times in the last month and really did a great job of opening and closing a relationship which was left wide open," Mike said. "Word gets thrown around a lot on the relationship but to me that's the most important thing that sells a kid. Coach Morris did a great job of coming in, getting to know Austin and really built a relationship that made Austin know it's where he needed to be."

For Austin, WSU has been the apple of his eye since taking an unofficial visit to Pullman in June. It was love at first sight, says Mike. From the facilities to the campus, to the community vibe, it was all Austin needed to make his choice.

"When he first went on his unofficial, I was more skeptical in signing early," Mike Apodaca said. "I put the dad had on it and wanted to see some things, but after his official (in September) there was no need to go further. He fell in love with it and we fell in love with it. A lot of people might think he jumped on his first offer but it just so happened that his first offer happened to be his perfect offer."

Mike said Austin has an underdog mentality that drives him to excel. "He loves that underdog role and thought he had a great chance at WSU. The people at WSU were great … it's a great fit."

Also be sure to hit the CF.C Chat Room today from 1 to 1:45 when WSU recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick answers questions from our readers.

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