Leach '15 recruiting class is turning heads

THREE OF MIKE LEACH's four known verbal commitments in the 2015 class are rated four stars and WSU's class is ranked No. 27 nationally. Sure, that ranking is subject to change at literally any moment. Schools move up and down wildly over the course of the year as they and others gain verbal pledges. But it's worth taking a moment to stop and smell the roses.

WSU has customarily made their bread and butter on the unheralded gem flying under the radar – the Will Derting's, Deone Bucannon's and Jerome Harrison's of the world.

And guess what, so has Mike Leach.

His Texas Tech classes were never stuffed to the gills with four-star prospects. Leach instead built the core of his teams with guys like WR Michael Crabtree (2 stars), OL Louis Vasquez (3 stars) and DE Keyunta Dawson (2 stars) and developed them into CFB stars.

But what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if, in addition to that unheralded gem others miss on who develops into something special at Washington State, you added a couple fistfuls of highly regarded prospects other Pac-12 teams wanted but lost out on to Leach? You might really have something there.

Leach has already won a good number of Pac-12 recruiting battles in his short time out on the Palouse. And in the 2015 class, there are a lot of stars next to the names of NT Thomas Toki, CB Austin Joyner and S Kameron Powell on the WSU commit list. Consider that at as of today:

  • Washington Stats is ranked third in the Pac-12 in the recruiting rankings, behind UCLA and USC, who have seven and five commits, respectively.
  • The Cougs are ranked ahead of Oregon, Utah and Arizona State, who occupy spots 4-5-6, and who have four, six and six known verbals, respectively.
  • Oregon is ranked four spots below Wazzu in the national rankings, and they also have four pledges.
  • Washington State is the highest ranked team in the nation with four recruits or fewer.

    For the team recruiting rankings, CLICK HERE.

    It's clear Leach doesn't give a rip about what other schools have offered a kid – that's been evident from Day 1 in looking at the offers he's extended to prospects, many of whom were off the radar upon receiving a WSU ride. But in terms of buzz, and the kind of buzz that can affect recruits and also build upon itself, WSU and Leach are nonetheless making some early hay in the 2015 recruiting wars.

  • "The next step this fall – with a loaded offense – is winning games that mean something," writes The Sporting News' Matt Hayes in ranking Leach No. 19 on his list of the top 25 coaches in college football.

  • WSU's three four-star pledges ties the most ever for a Coug recruiting class, and it's only May. Scout.com's database goes back to the 2002 recruiting class. Back then and for a number of years afterwards, junior college prospects were regularly assigned three stars. That has since changed, and 4- and 5-star JUCO prospects have become considerably rarer. But back in 2002, four JC recruits combined with three coming out of high school to give that WSU class seven four-star prospects.

  • The four-star WSU commit list:
    2002 - Jesse Taylor, Carl Bonnell, Cody Boyd, Jermaine Green, Sammy Moore, Jonathan Smith, Kevin Sperry.
    2003 – Patrick Afif, Keola Loo, Chris Bruhn, (note: All JC commits.)
    2004 – Michael Bumpus, Randy Estes, Tyron Brackenridge, Jerome Harrison.
    2005 – Arkelon Hall, Fevaea'i Ahmu, Bryan Tarkington.
    2006 – Andy Mattingly, Charles Dillon.
    2007 – Terry Mixon (5 stars).
    2008 – Bernard Wolfgramm.
    2009 – Gino Simone, Brandon Rankin.
    2010 – Aaron Dunn, C.J. Mizell.
    2011 – Chester Sua.
    2012 – Gabe Marks.
    2013 – Tyler Bruggman.

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