Coug coaches soon take to recruiting trail

ONE WEEK FROM today, the Cougs will wrap up spring ball with a final practice in Pullman. Immediately after that, Mike Leach will send his assistant coaches out on the recruiting trail. And the Cougs won't stop visiting high schools and evaluating prospects out on the recruiting trail until the final day of May.

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The May Evaluation Period began on April 15 but for schools like Washington State who were in the midst of their spring football sessions, it won't really begin until the shoulder pads and helmets are put away and coaches can go out on the road. It runs through May 31, excluding Memorial Day and Sundays.

A school is only allowed four of the six weeks out on the road, so it works out for schools whether they finish spring ball early or later. The WSU coaches will cover a ton of ground in that time. Each WSU coach can average as many as eight high school visits per day.

You can expect the Cougs to be prominent in-state and to hit California hard, with Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and Orange County all seeing lots of attention from Cougar coaches.

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

ALL THE visits to high schools and evaluating players will result in a number of new offers extended by WSU, adding to an already very large figure.

Here in the last week of April, Mike Leach has extended 113 known offers, shattering the previous high set last year. Last year, the Cougs had more known offers out -- 76 -- than they ever had previously.

Three years ago, WSU had extended a then-record 47 offers at this point. Leach extended 71 known offers in his first spring at Washington State.

For even more perspective on that trend line, consider that just five years ago the Cougars had extended all of 11 offers before the evaluation period. Eleven.

THE STRUCTURE of the evaluation period: Each school is allowed to have all nine of their assistant coaches on the road at one time, a change from when it used to be only seven assistants.

But 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 evaluation period.

His assistants, though, will hit as many high schools as they can, talk to as many prep coaches as possible, watch as many practices or workouts as are taking place -- and then ferry back miles of highlight tape for Leach to evaluate.

  • During the 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. If the coaches do both evaluations on the same day, they're permitted an additional athletic evaluation of the prospect.

  • 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 evaluation period.

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