BY THE NUMBERS
Leach: 2015 WSU class is balanced and big
He dubbed his fourth class at Washington State his best ever -- a statement partially supported by Scout.com, which ranks this class the same as Leach's 2013 crop at No. 45 nationally -- and then tackled the Great Flipping Epidemic that found eight expected members of the class going elsewhere in the final two weeks and about half of them in the last 24 to 48 hours. The last of them, linebacker Eddie Rudinski, came several hours after Leach's media gathering, and was a true shocker. The L.A. Daily News reported late in the day that he had signed with Dartmouth. Asked if flipping caused him consternation, Leach said, emphatically, not at all. Not coincidentally, Leach announced that outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons -- a stellar recruiter for WSU in the talent-rich Los Angeles Basin -- was leaving for a job at Oklahoma. His move had been rumored for a week and is almost certainly tied to at least four late defections from the Cougar fold: Kyahva Tezino (San Diego State), Dahu Green (Oklahoma), Taeon Mason (San Jose State) and Deontay Burnett (USC). Leach, however, said it was difficult to gauge whether Simmons' move caused recruits to flip. WSU was on the end of one pleasant development today, however, when 3-star defensive end T.J. Fehoko of Salt Lake City went crimson after looking for weeks like he was destined for North Carolina State. Asked if he was surprised by Fehoko's signing, Leach said he's "never surprised when someone picks our school."
LEACH CALLED HIS CLASS balanced and said the cornerstones were the nine linemen -- five on offense, four defense -- and the five secondary players.
As of press time, the class numbered 23 players: one holdover from the 2014 class (Deion Singleton); 1 transfer from Clemson (Kyrin Priester); 5 JC transfers and 16 prep seniors. But Leach said WSU would be taking the maximum class of 25, though it's unknown if Rudinski was part of his thinking.
Singleton, Priester, JC transfer Jeremiah Mitchell and early prep grad Tyler Hilinski are already enrolled at WSU.
Leach said Hilinski, who graduated from high school in December to get a jumpstart on college, has a great attitude and is acclimating well to the team.
He said it takes a special person to make the transition now rather than in the fall. "If it's somebody that's going to wish they played a spring sport, wish they'd gone to prom, thought about missing out on the whole final chapter with their friends in high school, then they should stay in high school rather than force the issue of doing offseason and spring football," Leach said about early enrollment.
HERE'S WHAT LEACH HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE PLAYERS WHO WERE IN THE FOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS MEDIA GATHERING:
K Matt Abramo:Very strong kicker. Most notable thing about him is how strong his leg is. One of the strongest high school kickers' legs that I've seen.
OL Cedric Bigge-Duren:6-6, 310, he might be bigger than that. Big offensive lineman who continues to develop and get better and better. Already has pretty good feet.
CB Treshon Broughton:Great cover corner, quick feet, instinctive.
WR C.J. Dimry:Big target, great vertical route runner, and good at catching the ball over his head.
QB Tyler Hilinski:On campus now. Big guy (6-4, 190) but also kind of mobile. Extremely productive both when he's in the pocket and outside the pocket.
S Shalom Luani:One interesting thing about him, from what I understand, was actually on the Samoan national soccer team, so he's got great feet. Very quick, aggressive player, smart.
DL Hunter Mattox:Big, strong football player. Good hands and very active out there at the line of scrimmage.
DE Jeremiah Mitchell:On campus. Big (6-5, 260), strong, tenacious pass-rusher. Very high-motor guy and a great player.
CB Darrien Molton:As he continues to develop, he's going to get better and better. Incredibly quick.
OL Noah Myers:Has gotten bigger (6-5, 300) and stronger since we recruited him. Noah, like all these offensive linemen, are fairly flat-stomached guys, so they're fairly athletic people. In addition to their current frame, which is fairly big, we can put additional strength and weight on.
LB Nnamdi Oguayo:Big, tall, lanky, big hands, big feet. Outside linebacker who runs well and is going to turn into a very big, solid player. Has a big frame to put a lot of weight on.
OL Davis Perrott (6-5, 270):Kind of a mean streak guy. Quick feet.
LB Aaron Porter:Great at pursuing the ball, passion to play football, great tackler.
S Kameron Powell:5-11, 195, might be taller than that. Not only a very intelligent player, but also very quick at sorting it out and breaking on the ball.
OL Joseph Price (6-6, 270):Another mean streak guy that plays with a very aggressive mentality, and has great feet.
WR Kyrin Priester:On campus now. Very good in workouts. Big (6-1, 185), strong, extremely physical wide receiver, as well as being fast. Just really an outstanding athlete.
OLAmosa Sakaria (6-3, 280):Good, solid, strong player.
S Deion Singleton:On campus now. Tall, lanky safety. Also great feet.
WR Kyle Sweet:Great feet, great at coming out of his cuts. Has also played a lot of positions because of his ability to pick things up and his intelligence as a football player. Comes from same school, Santa Margarita High, as current Cougars River Cracraft, Riley Sorenson and Nick Begg. is the newest addition from Santa Margarita, which is a school that Leach commends for its great football program, consistent success, and its ability to develop players better than a lot of other high schools.
ATH Logan Tago:Great athlete, can play either side of the ball. Really good athlete, versatile. The positions he can play: safety, linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end, tight end, wide receiver, inside receiver. He can play a lot of stuff.
DL Thomas Toki:Very traditional, hard-nosed, aggressive nose guard.
RB James Williams:Extremely explosive, low center of gravity, but great out of his cuts.
DE T.J. Fehoko: Has played on the end as well. He plays inside and on the end. Just a quick, athletic defensive lineman.
LEACH SAID RECENTLY HIRED assistant coaches
Alex Grinch and Roy Manning are great recruiters who definitely contributed to this recruiting class. He also said his staff, despite being down two bodies prior to Grinch and Manning being hired, didn't skip a beat on the recruiting trail.
"I think the guys we had worked harder and got more places faster. The guys we had were incredibly aggressive recruiters and I think it has paid off," Leach said.
One of those guys is defensive line coach and assistant head coachJoe Salave'a, who is widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in the West.
"Just on our staff in general, Joe's one of the most passionate football people I've ever met. Everything about him is passionate about football. I think it rubs off on our players, it rubs off on our coaching staff, and certainly on our recruits," Leach said.
Leach said the key to successful recruiting is "being persistent in making sure people understand that you value the relationship with them, and that the program is going to maintain a solid relationship once they come up here."
Leach described his offensive line recruits as "flat-stomach guys."
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