Recruiting now the primary focus for Cougs

WITH 15 SPRING BALL practices barely in the books, Washington State assistant coaches turn now to spending four of the next five-plus weeks at full speed out on the recruiting trail -- seven WSU coaches went out on the road today. Indeed, the focus is squarely on recruiting from now through the month of May, with each WSU coach averaging as many as eight high school visits per day.

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The Cougs will hit Washington and California hard, WSU chief of staff Dave Emerick said this week on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos. Specifically, the Cougs will send several coaches over the coming weeks to Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and Orange County.

WSU will also canvass American Samoa and Hawaii, from where they've pulled a number of commits in recent years. And they'll "dabble" in states like Texas, Colorado and Arizona.

The state of Florida could also be a key ancillary area this class. The Cougs have one known verbal commitment in the 2014 class already -- QB Peyton Bender out of Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The May Evaluation Period will result in a number of new offers extended by WSU, adding to an already large figure. How large?

THE COUGS THIS SPRING under Mike Leach have more known offers out -- 76 -- than ever before with a week to go before the start of May.

Two years ago, WSU had extended a then-record 47 offers at this point. Last year, Leach shattered that previous high-water mark, with 71 known offers.

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

It's called the May Evaluation Period but it officially began on April 15. 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 23, Leach will backload the process, using Wazzu's four weeks to hit the trail from now until the period's end.

THE WAY THE NCAA structures it, each school is allowed to have seven of their asistant coaches on the road at one time. So there will be rotation among the WSU assistants in the coming weeks.

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 then ferry back miles of highlight tape for Leach to evaluate.

  • 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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