Behind WSU recruiting curtain w/ Dave Emerick

THIS IS THE time of year, in the weeks after Signing Day, when the Washington State offers to junior prospects seem like they’re flying out the door. And they are, but this year is also a little bit different, WSU football chief of staff Dave Emerick told

The Cougars have close to 65 offers out to juniors, a little less than normal for this time of year.

“We’re a little behind right now on (extending offers) just because we had so many staff changes with Alex Grinch, Roy Manning and Graham Harrell,” Emerick said.

With Mike Leach and the coaches plowing through lots of game tape here in late February, it probably won’t stay that way for long. From a big picture standpoint, Emerick says the process begins more than a year before signing day and it starts with every junior in the Cougs’ recruiting geographic footprint.

“And you whittle it down from there -- I’m not sure of an exact (starting number) but it’s in that vicinity of 1,000,” said Emerick. “When you get to spring ball you probably get closer to around 300. And then when you get to the season it’s probably closer to 100 kids you’re actively recruiting.”

FANS OF RECRUITING get attached to verbal commits. But if that player later flips, there can be a tendency by fans to undervalue the player who subsequently verbals and fills that spot.

What might not be known is that the Cougars, through their lengthy evaluation process, may offer up 10 times the number of initial counters they can take.

“When it’s all said and done we probably end up offering close to 200-250 kids, and then you get to 25,” said Emerick. “That means we need to be thorough, diligent and identify as many kids as possible that can be Pac-12 caliber kids. Because we are competing with schools like USC, UCLA, Washington, Arizona and Arizona State and all the Pac-12 schools. And they’re going to get some kids, too.

“So we do need to be sure we have enough guys in line so if we do lose out on some guys, we have backup plans in place -- ones that are capable of competing and winning in the Pac-12 conference.”

The evaluation process (in general) works like this: the area recruiting coach will identify a prospect. He then shows his tape to the position coach. The position coach, if on defense, will show it to the coordinator or if he’s on offense, to Leach.

“We like to get quite a few sets of eyes on it,” said Emerick. “We watch quite a bit of film on these kids. Obviously highlight films are great but you have to dig deeper than that and see how they play down-in and down-out. So you’ve got to watch the game film. There's quite a bit of film and evaluation, from our staff, that goes into it.”

We’ll have more of our conversation with Dave Emerick tomorrow on …

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