Cougar recruiting and hitting JC sweet spot

THERE ARE A number of different strategies when it comes to developing a college football program and having sustained success. When you look at the known offers extended by Washington State, among the numbers that stand out are...

The Cougs have nearly 100 known offers out there with a couple weeks to go in the May Evaluation period.

All but two are to prep prospects.

WSU under Mike Leach is clearly taking a different tact than, say, Kansas, another program in the rebuilding process, or K-State, when it comes to junior college recruiting.

Washington State LOOKS to spot recruit to fill in the gaps. And except for a handful of prospects, the bulk of the JUCO offers from the Cougs appear likely to come down the road for the class of 2014.

What positions might the Cougs look for JC talent in this class? That's hard to guess. It depends, among other things, on how they do with their prep targets, the quality that's available and how the depth at certain positions plays out.

WSU was looking for two junior college o-linemen last season and took one, Jacob Seydel. So there might be one o-lineman target. Then again, they might not. If WSU scores with their prep o-linemen this class, and considering that position is always a minimum 5-man priority for Leach with the Cougs bringing 12 OL in the past two classes, they might not need to add one next February.

A junior college nose tackle or linebacker, like Ioane Gauta or Justin Sagote, have been nice pickups. And WSU figures to take at least three d-linemen and 3-4 linebackers this class. WSU also figures to take 4-5 defensive backs so there might be a junior college pickup there -- but the quality has to be there. The Cougs won't take a guy just to take a guy.

THE COUGS TOOK four JUCOs in the 2013 class. Kansas, meanwhile, signed 18 junior college players the first week of February.

Eighteen. That's a monster gamble. But it could also pay off. Charlie Weis, strangely, said soon after taking the Kansas job that he would serve out his 5-year contract and then leave Kansas, handing it off to someone on the coaching staff. That's usually not the way to entice prep prospects to sign in the coming years, with them already knowing the head coach won't be around.

But K-State went 11-2 last season starting eight junior college players. There were 12 JUCOs in their two-deeps. It's something Weis is trying to duplicate and he has his fans when it comes to how good Weis is when it comes to recruiting.

Still, K-State's success is an anomaly, most programs don't succeed by going wholesale on junior college talent. For K-State, their success basically boils down to Bill Snyder being a genius.

Remember that after Snyder retired, Ron Prince came on and proceeded to go down the same path, signing 37 junior college players over three classes. The majority of them didn't pan out and he was fired. And Snyder returned.

JUNIOR COLLEGE RECRUITING is tough because of the time frame. You generally only have them for two years and most don't want to redshirt. Many often spend their first season getting acclimated to the speed and talent at the new level. If you're fortunate, they begin to shine in their second season.

There is junior college talent out there, including offensive linemen, that would be good gets for the Cougs. But how many and at what positions the Cougars settle on for the 2014 class remain to be seen. One thing is certain when it comes to the junior college recruiting question, it will be talked about in depth on the CF.C message boards plenty in the coming months.

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