Notable insights from Cougs' recruiting class

PULLMAN – Washington State football coach Mike Leach gushed with pride over the rush-job recruiting work of his staff, but Leach was not too proud to admit that Pierson Villarrubia practically fell into their laps.

More precisely, Pierson Villarrubia's game tapes practically fell into the laps of WSU's previous coaching staff.

Leach said he only learned on Wednesday, after Villarrubia signed a letter of intent with the Cougars, that the Louisiana offensive lineman was not recruited by WSU until Villarrubia's mother (who lives in Spokane) dropped off game tapes of her son last summer.

"I'll tell ya," Leach said with a smile, "based on this, if she's got any more tapes laying around, we'd like her to bring 'em by."

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Villarrubia made a verbal commitment to Paul Wulff's staff, and the new staff honored the commitment after watching the mom-supplied tapes.

"He's just a good, solid player," Leach said. "He's one of those guys that plays from the neck up a little bit. Anybody like that, you can really expand their role. (He's got) quick feet, long arms and he's going to get bigger."

SEVERAL RECRUITS AND returning players have mentioned the comfort level they experienced when meeting with Leach, who has a reputation as a charmer with a gift for gab.

Colorado all-state quarterback Austin Apodaca saw Leach's personality come out when he met the coach.

"His dad's from Wyoming, and I'm from Wyoming," Leach said in his easy-going semi-drawl. "If you're from Wyoming, you're not a recognized minority but perhaps should be, because there's not a lot of us. We did the secret handshake. I can't tell you what it is because only people from Wyoming are allowed to know it."

Leach said linebacker Jacob Tuivaiave out of Tacoma is so athletic "he could play about eight different positions … I'm sure he's popped a little popcorn at halftime, too."

Leach said he "had a little practice session" to learn how to pronounce some of the recruits' names "because there's lots of vowels in some of these."

Leach gave props to inside receivers coach Eric Morris for his recruiting efforts. Morris was a standout receiver for Leach at Texas Tech, and Leach said Morris showed off his athletic skills while playing table tennis on a recruiting visit.

"Of course," Leach added, moving in for the kill, "one of the mothers dominated him."

NEW COUG SAFETY Feddie (nope, no "r") Davey played for a 15-0 Miami high school team that ESPN ranked eighth in the nation last season.

"Feddie was excited to get out and see the world … I don't know if there's a guy any more fired up than him," Leach said.

Leach had been living in Key West, Fla., but he said outside linebackers coach Paul Volero was a key figure in the recruitment of Davey. Volero, a former college assistant, had been coaching at a Florida high school.

LEACH SAID HE was delighted with the recruiting success the Cougars experienced in Southern California. Leach singled out outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons for his good work in talent-rich SoCal.

"Dennis is a great recruiter and really did a good job," Leach said.

Simmons, who coached under Leach at Texas Tech, spent the past two seasons at East Carolina.

SIMMONS WAS A standout receiver at Brigham Young, WSU's opening opponent next season. The two Cougars teams tangle Sept. 1 in Provo, Utah.

Tickets for road games, including the annual Seattle "home" game Sept. 29 against Oregon, go on sale at WSU on April 2. Single-game home tickets go on sale Aug. 4.

The home opener in upgraded Martin Stadium is Sept. 8 against Eastern Washington. Counting the Oregon game, three of WSU's first five games are home contests, including homecoming Sept. 22 against Colorado in the Cougars' Pac-12 opener.

A WSU spokesperson said Oregon will initially receive 5,000 tickets for the Seattle game. Obviously, Oregon fans also may access tickets directly through WSU.

The Ducks are projected to be one of the nation's top teams, and the Cougars hope to sell out Qwest Field.

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