Comparing early WSU pledges to '15 crop

WASHINGTON STATE HAS seven known verbal commitments in the 2016 class, two more than they had at this time last year. There's another noteworthy difference when comparing this year's early verbal list to last.

The stars.

Recruiting rankings have always been more art than science. But it's also always a positive for fans of recruiting when the Cougs haul in the four-star and three-star guys. And the numbers are the numbers.

This year's early haul, so far, isn't rated as highly as was last year's.

The first five verbal commits of last year averaged out to a 3.4 star ranking (Thomas Toki, Tyler Hilinski, Kameron Powell, James Williams, Aaron Porter).

Four of seven of this year's pledges are rated two stars by The other three are three-star prospects. The average: a 2.4 star ranking (Ian Book, Jihad Woods, Jalen Thompson, Renard Bell, Stephen Houston, D'Jimon Jones, Josiah Westbrook).

Two points to mention: rankings can be heavily weighted on the camp and combine circuit. Houston, for example, didn't attend the Las Vegas 7v7. If he had and performed well, he might not be two stars.

Second, Mike Leach and his assistant coaches don't care about star ratings. They rely on their own evaluation process. The evidence points to Leach being pretty good in that area. As one example, the Cougs' last class was raided in the final weeks before Signing Day. Schools that hadn't offered when the prospect pledged WSU did so by the end.

Still, there is a lack of other Pac-12 offers when it comes to the Cougs' seven pledges in this class. The only one with another Pac-12 offer is Thompson, whom the Huskies offered.

An optimist might counter that Leach has gotten more pledges from diamond in the rough types early on, that he may also have landed them before other Pac-12 schools got around to offering and that many of the three- and four-star types who hold other Pac-12 offers will pledge crimson down the road in this class.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist when it comes to the star rankings of the 2016 WSU recruiting class? There's video to help you determine how good an early crop you think the Cougs have on board.

QB Ian Book (pictured above)

LB Jihad Woods

WR/CB Renard Bell

CB Jalen Thompson

WR Stephen Houston

WR/CB D'Jimon Jones

WR Josiah Wetbrook

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