Recruiting Notebook

EACH AND EVERY recruiting cycle. Like clockwork. That's the plan under Mike Leach when it comes to recruiting and offensive linemen. Will 2014 bring more of the same and if so, how many might call the Evergreen State home?

Leach's Chief of Staff and recruiting point man Dave Emerick mentioned it in CF.C's chat room a week ago Wednesday – of the 85 players on scholarship, Leach likes to have 18-20 of those spots filled by offensive linemen.

Leach also likes to take 5-7 o-linemen in each recruiting class. That's a large investment. But it's importance was made crystal clear a year ago.

The biggest thing that led to WSU's 3-9 record a year ago, and the first time in his career the Leach missed a bowl game, was the Cougs' offensive line. That figures to change this coming season.

Seven new faces will arrive from the 2013 class, joining seven more from Leach's first hurriedly put together group from the year before.

So what's 2014 looking like?

It's too early to tell how highly rated an o-line crop will come from the state of Washington in 2014. Fife's Kaleb McGary, for example, isn't ranked yet but he figures to have his pick of schools. Six from the Pac-12, including Washington State, have already offered.

Beyond that, the in-state offensive line class has yet to come into focus. The Cougs just recently offered Bellevue High's Marcus Griffin but as a d-lineman.

One of the more intriguing in-state prospects is RB Devante Downs out of Mountlake Terrrace. Big, tall running backs have gone out of fashion in recent years but Downs is 6-3, 215.

Might he be a linebacker or safety at the next level? Or is he a future Pac-12 running back who may give teams problems in part because they don't see his kind much anymore? All indications are that schools like Downs as a running back.

The Cougs already have made 20 known scholarship offers to 2014 prospects. Five of those are to in-state prospects. In addition to McGary, Griffin and Downs, the Cougars have offered WR Garrett McKay and CB Budda Baker.

Baker is the early candidate for the state's top recruit. The 5-9, 175-pounder is an explosive prep running back and schools also love his play on defense. He has double-digit offers, including full rides from Notre Dame and others.


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