With 4-stars aplenty, Cougs' recruiting soars

IF THE FOOTBALL RECRUITING season ended today, Washington State's 2015 class would rank No. 29 nationally, just behind Arizona State and just ahead of Michigan State, on the Scout.com ratings. The Cougs' 23 known commits have an average star rating of 3.09. But let's look a little deeper than that ...

It should be said right at the top: the numbers figure to fluctuate dramatically between now and Signing Day for the two simple reasons: 1) verbal commitments are non-binding and seven weeks remain until letters of intent are signed; and 2) many schools are still far from full at this stage. WSU has 23 known commits but Michigan State, right below WSU at No. 30, has but 14.

Still, WSU’s recruiting haul has been impressive, particularly over the past 10 days or so. And there has never been a 24-hour period at Wazzu like the one Mike Leach and Co. hung on the board this week, landing in rapid-fire fashion a pair of 4-star prospects in LB Kyahva Tezino and safety Shalom Luani, plus American Samoan 'backer Logan Tago and OL Amosa Sakaria, and DT Dillon Faamatau.

The class sits at No. 6 in the Pac-12 and features 13 defensive players, nine on offense and one on special teams. There are 18 prep prospects and five JUCO players. Of the Cougs’ 23 known pledges, there are 5 four-star prospects and 15 rated three-stars.

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And get this: In terms of four-star recruits, you’d have to add up the previous five WSU recruiting classes just to match the number currently found in this one class, (2014, 0; 2013, 1; 2012, 1; 2011, 1; 2010, 2).

Transfers, meanwhile are not counted in Scout’s system when it comes to the commit list, so on paper you might think Kyrin Priester will neither help nor hurt the rankings as a NR. (However, it does have an impact since WSU’s class ranking will be determined by 24 rather than 25.)

Nevertheless, and this is a big takeaway: the Cougs this class under Leach have been winning a whole lot more Pac-12 recruiting battles than ever before, (a growing trend that began with Leach’s arrival out on the Palouse).

What Cougar fans are hoping for most down the road is that this class will turn out similar to the 1999 haul.

The 1999 WSU class was universally rated in the 30s nationally by the recruiting services of the day. Although it was also pegged by most observers at between eighth and tenth in the Pac-10, that class wound up being the backbone for the Cougars' three consecutive 10-win seasons from 2001-03. The trifecta at the time, by the way, marked the first time a Pac-10 school had strung together three straight 10-win seasons since the 1930s.

The highest rated class ever at WSU came in 2004, with Scout.com pegging it at No. 21 in the land, just ahead of Washington at No. 22. Although WSU's haul boasted four-star signees like CouGreats Jerome Harrison and Michael Bumpus, that 28-member class turned out to ultimately be a bust all things considered with signees such as Randy Estes and J.T. Diederichs never making it to Pullman.

(The rankings that year were also not kind to the Cougs’ rival. In 2008, when the members of these two highly rated classes would be fifth-year seniors, Washington State defeated Washington in the Apple Cup to finish 2-11 on the season. Washington went on to an 0-12 record. All of which to say, illustrating one more time, this whole thing can be more crapshoot than science.)

One final note: Scout.com assigns added weight to the 100 top recruits in the land. If Leach were to land sought DT Tim Settle (No. 65), the Cougs' team ranking would receive a significant, extra boost.

• 2014 – 58th, just behind Boston College and ahead of Northwestern
• 2013 - 45th, just behind Penn State and ahead of Northwestern
• 2012 – 53rd, just behind Indiana and ahead of Syracuse
• 2011 – 57th, just behind Maryland and ahead of Indiana
• 2010 – 40th, just behind Arizona and ahead of Georgia Tech
• 2009 – 43rd, just behind Clemson and ahead of Baylor
• 2008 – 74th, tied with Vandy, just behind UTEP and ahead of Troy
• 2007 – 54th, just behind Connecticut and ahead of Kansas State
• 2006 – 45th, just behind Boston College and ahead of BYU
• 2005 – 47th, just behind Kansas State and ahead of Georgia Tech
• 2004 – 21st, just behind North Carolina State and ahead of Washington
• 2003 – 58th, just behind West Virginia and ahead of BYU
• 2002 -- 48th, just behind Illinois and ahead of Oregon State
• 2001 – Unable to locate
• 2000 – Unable to locate
• 1999 – 39th, just behind Kentucky and ahead of Illinois

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