WSU’s Mastro a Recruiting Maestro

THERE ARE FIVE offensive players on Washington State’s roster who started in their first- or second-year from the same general geographical area – lightly recruited by other schools, or not recruited at all. That got us thinking and led to a bunch of research. Which in turn led us to six verbal commitments in this 2015 class, and Washington State running backs coach Jim Mastro.

Consider center Riley Sorenson, running back Jamal Morrow and wide receivers River Cracraft, Gabe Marks and Brett Bartolone – all of whom claimed starting jobs early on at Washington State. All are from the same general area, Orange County north through LA to San Luis Obispo County. Mastro was the Cougs’ primary recruiting point man on the quintet, as he was on rising wide receiver Robert Lewis.

Now consider the 2015 recruiting class: Mastro has run the recruiting point on no fewer than six pledges: LB Aaron Porter, DE/DT Hunter Mattox, RB James Williams, OL Noah Myers, WR Kyle Sweet and K Matt Abramo. A seventh could be in the offing as well by Signing Day in the form of WR Sihiem King.

It should be noted Washington State employs a group-recruiting effort. Territories are naturally crafted around an assistant’s longtime ties and relationships but a position coach will also be involved, as will other coaches at times. And of course, Mike Leach plays a crucial role.

But Mastro, it is clear to see, is one heck of a recruiter. And a little research shows he’s also one heck of an evaluator.

MASTRO SPENT 11 seasons at Nevada as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator where he was leaned on heavily by both Chris Ault and Chris Tormey in evaluating prospects. From 2011-2013, nine Nevada players were taken in the NFL Draft, 31st in the country and second among non-BCS schools. There are 13 former Nevada players in the NFL right now according to and the one thing those Nevada players have in common – is Mastro.

“The one thing about Jim that gets overlooked is what a great evaluator of talent he is,” then-Nevada coach Ault said when Mastro was named the national Running Backs Coach of the Year by in 2010.

Now let’s come back to Washington State recruiting. Today, the Cougs under Leach are winning more and more recruiting battles against Pac-12 and Power 5 conference schools. But it didn’t start out that way.

Starting with his first ’12 class, Leach first began to build the program by offering less heralded recruits with fewer Pac-12 offers -- players like the five listed above who have or are starting to become pretty darned good Pac-12 players.

So it’s not only the recruiting “gets” to consider, Leach and his staff are also doing some great scouting – a real eye for talent. And as the WSU commit list(s) and his recruiting history past and present so vividly illustrate, Mastro has been a maestro in both those areas.

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