WSU RECRUITING: Ahead, behind or on schedule?

AS RECRUITING CONTINUES to heat up in the 2013 cycle, with schools like Michigan and Texas A&M already nearing capacity on their classes, discussion on the message boards has some folks concerned that the Cougs are lagging in the numbers chase. So is Washington State ahead, behind or right on schedule?

The answer is found in both geography and program history. And by those measures, the Cougs seem to be about where they usually are at this time of year.

WSU has two known 2013 verbal commitments in Wenatchee offensive lineman Cody O'Connell and Arlington, Texas, cornerback Trevor Walker.

Last year at this time, WSU had one commitment, from safety David Bucannon. Two years ago, the Cougs had four verbals at the end of May. Three years ago, it was four. Average them together and it's three.

Looking at the 11 other teams in the Pac-12, the range right now runs from 0 to 7 verbal commitments, with an average of 4.27 verbal per school.

The two schools in the Pac-12 that have the most verbal commitments, at seven each, are USC and UCLA.

It's understandable that those two have the biggest Pac-12 commit numbers because they happen to reside smack dab in the most fertile recruiting area west of the Mississippi.

But USC and UCLA are slowpokes compared to the SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten schools.

Indeed, a number of those schools in those conferences have already at least doubled USC and UCLA's output -- Michigan has 18 commitments, Texas A&M and Georgia have 17, Florida has 16, Texas and Alabama have 14.

And then a whole slew of others have already topped the double digit mark.

Four schools in the Big 12 have as many or more commits than the top two schools in the Pac-12. When turning to the Big Ten, the roll call climbs to seven. And in the SEC, the number swells to 11 schools.

On the West Coast, historically and geographically, things just don't generally move as fast when it comes to verbal commitments.

BUT DO YOU really want them too? Recruiting was hard enough 15-20 years ago when schools could wait to extend the bulk of their offers, and receive commitments, during and immediately after the recruit's senior season.

The simple truth is that the earlier a prospect commits, the more room there is for error in evaluation and projection. Just ask Texas.

Last year, Texas staggered to a 5-7 mark. The outcry was enormous. Coaches lost their jobs. The backbone of that 2011 Texas squad came from the 2007 and 2008 recruiting classes. The '08 class numbered 20 commitments -- and 18 of them had pledged Texas by April 23rd. In the '07 class, Texas took a full boat of 25. And 16 of them had committed by April 13.

WASHINGTON STATE the last three years has landed their QB verbal in June, July and June. It's likely that happens again this year. And he won't be alone, history shows.

Two years ago, the Cougs picked up seven commitments in June/July. One of the newer trends in recruiting -- the unofficial trips in June/July, and subsequent verbals.

By the way, the last time the Cougs waited until August to nab their quarterback was in the 2009 class.

The guess here is most everyone in Cougar Nation feels Jeff Tuel was worth the wait.

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