Cougar recruiting now shifts into high gear

WITH SPRING BALL concluded, Washington State assistant coaches will now spend four of the next five-plus weeks on the recruiting trail. It'll be a crimson blitz now through the month of May, with each WSU coach averaging as many as eight high school visits per day. Scholarship offers by WSU, already greater than ever at this stage of the year, will no doubt swell.

Last year, WSU had extended a then-record 47 offers by the start of May. This year, with just under a week to go before May 1, Mike Leach has shattered that previous high-water mark, with 71 known offers known to be out.

For perspective on that trend line, consider that four years ago the Cougars had extended just 11 ofers before the May Evaluation Period.

That 71 number figures to grow significantly over the coming weeks as coaches focus full bore on the talent pool for the 2013 class of recruits.

The May Evaluation Period officially began on April 15. But a school is allowed only four of the six-plus weeks between April 15 and May 31, excluding Memorial Day and Sundays, to visit high schools and evaluate prep prospects. With Wazzu's spring ball running through April 24, Leach will backload the process, using Wazzu's four weeks to hit the trail from now until the period's end.

WSU is expected to have at least one coach (and as many as five at certain points) in California each day they're on the road. Southern California, from San Diego to just north of Los Angeles, will be a particular emphasis.

The state of Washington also is expected to get serious attention. WSU has three coaches with assigned territories in the Evergreen State.

WSU assistants will also criss-cross Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Hawaii, American Samoa, Utah, Florida and possibly more.

THE WAY THE NCAA structures this recruiting period, each school is allowed to have seven of their assistant coaches on the road at one time. So there will be rotation. One guy who won't be hitting the road is Mike Leach. A 2008 rule by the NCAA doesn't allow head coaches to be on the road during the May Evaluation period.

His assistants, though, will hit as many high schools as they can, talk to as many prep coaches as they can, watch as many practices or workouts as they can and ferry back miles of highlight tape for Leach to evaluate.

  • The Cougs' so far have one known verbal commitment in the 2013 class: Safety Trevor Walker out of Arlington, Texas.

  • During the May Evaluation Period, schools are allowed one on-field evaluation per prospect to assess athletic ability, and one more evaluation to assess a prospect's academic qualifications. Additionally, schools are allowed to place one phone call to a prospect during the period. Prospects can call coaches anytime throughout the recruiting year. No face to face contact is permitted outside of a member institution (a college campus) at this time of year, though "bumping," defined as a brief encounter, happens frequently during the May Evaluation period.

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