Griffin says Leach's in-home has big impact

ITS NOT EVERY DAY Mike Leach walks through the front door and into your living room. But for defensive lineman Marcus Griffin, that happened Sunday night. The three-star prospect, who decommitted from WSU last month, has been adamant that he's still giving the Cougs a hard look, and the in-home visit he had with Leach and a pair of WSU assistants was, he said, an eye-opener.

Sunday was the first day of the in-home visit period on the recruiting calendar, when coaches can meet face-to-face with a prospect off their college campus. Griffin and family on Sunday night played host to Leach, defensive line coach Joe Salave'a and area recruiter Eric Russell. It was, Griffin said, a great visit and the impact Leach made on him and his family was a big one.

"It was the first visit that Coach Leach has made to a home this season," said Griffin, whose Bellevue team will face Eastside Catholic in the state 3A title game after dismantling Shadle Park 66-0 on Saturday.

"I was the first recruit he's seen. He told me that he wanted to let me know that I'm still a big priority and I truly mean a lot to them.

"Man, it was kind of crazy to have him over. I didn't expect to have a head coach come see me on the first day they could do these visits. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my recruitment."

BACK IN APRIL, Griffin verbally committed to the Cougs, but on Nov. 10, he decommitted. He insisted at the time that it didn't mean WSU was no longer in the running. The Bellevue High road grader reiterated that notion Sunday evening.

"They still show me a lot of love and I have really developed a great relationship with the coaches," Griffin said. "I'd say right now schools sticking out to me are Cal, Wazzu and Mississippi State. I wouldn't say that's my top three or anything like that, but those are the schools that are intriguing me the most.

"With WSU, they were telling me tonight how things are turning for them. Coach Leach said that Mr. Bill Moos has been a huge part of the change over there and how the athletic department has put in a lot of effort into improving things. Coach Leach is excited with how everything is shaping up and he's happy to be there."

The three-star prospect also cited his bond with Leach, Salave'a and Russell for why he's still looking hard at the Cougs.

"The relationships with those coaches has been great," Griffin said. "When I decommitted and told them I wanted to open things up, they didn't yell at me or anything like that. They were very supportive, but told me they still wanted me to be a Coug.

"For them to respect my decision and be supportive like that was huge for me. It tells me a lot about their character and how they care about me."

COUGAR COACHES aren't the only ones who in Griffin's ear right now about the Cougs. He said he remains on contact with all of the WSU class of 2014 verbal commits and they all still want him to join them out on the Palouse next season.

"I talk to Kevin Griffin a lot and I spoke with Greg Hoyd yesterday actually," Griffin said. "I still talk with all of those guys and nothing has really changed there. Some asked me why I decommitted when I did, but they were all supportive too."

In addition to WSU, Griffin was also visited by Cal's d-line coach, Barry Sacks on Sunday. Griffin added that he expects visits from Cal defensive coordinator Andy Buh, plus some Mississippi State assistants and Salave'a and Russell next week. A head coach can visit only once. Griffin is also in the process of scheduling official visits and has a tentative trip planned to Pullman.

"We spoke about that tonight and we're thinking about Dec. 13," Griffin said. "That's not set in stone right now, though. We're still trying to figure that all out, but if I were to go, I think I'd be going over with Devante Downs."

As for when he is planning on making his final decision?

"I don't have a date in mind right now," Griffin said. "I just want to take things slow. There's no timetable. Whenever I feel ready, I'll do it."

NOTABLE NOTE: CF.C was unable to reach Downs on Sunday evening but a prep source told that Leach also paid the 6-3, 220-pounder an in-home visit on Sunday. Downs, who is a soft verbal to Cal, recently said that WSU is recruiting him as an athlete, with the potential to line up at either running back or outside linebacker.

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