Sure, the Cougs have 19 known verbal commitments – that’s a helluva lot. And there was a recent stretch of eight days just this month where WSU landed three verbal pledges (all o-linemen).
But I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.
The Cougs have not hosted a single known official visitor yet this season. Let me say that again: no known official visitors have tripped to Pullman this season. It’s part of Mike Leach’s new recruiting strategy this season. But even months after we first reported on it, it’s still an eye opener.
But with the Apple Cup here, that was then and this is now. The first official visit weekend after the regular season is Dec. 4, followed by the Dec. 11 weekend before recruiting shuts down for the holidays. By the time Dec. 14 rolls around, there will have been a sudden flurry of official visitors out on the Palouse. You’ll want to stay tuned to CF.C, especially on Sunday afternoons and evenings, and on into Monday. But wait, there’s more.
Before that first official visit weekend, Cougar assistant coaches (and perhaps Mike Leach too, see notable note below) will have already been out on the recruiting trail and in the living rooms, meeting with both prospects and verbal pledges, and their parents.
The official start of the in-home visitation period is Sunday – two days from now. We’ll be burning up the phone lines looking to track all the in-home visitation news as well here on CF.C and our good friends, Scout.com's Brandon Huffman and Greg Biggins, will be reporting and posting on the Luxury Suites too.
Oh, and then there’s the bowl practices. WSU hasn’t released their practice schedule for the bowl (we don’t know what bowl the Cougs are even going to yet) but you can bet those practices will also have a recruiting component to them.
It’s always beneficial to bring in official visitors and have them watch a bowl practice as part of their recruiting weekend. And the coaches will be shuffling back and forth from the recruiting trail to the Palouse for bowl practice sessions.
In January, there are three official visit weekends after recruiting opens back up Jan. 14 ahead of Signing Day (Feb. 3). If last year is any indication, Jan. 14-Feb. 3 is going to be nuts. This is when the decommits, flips and poaching of verbal commits truly begin in earnest.
Last year, the Cougs came out on the short end of the stick when it came to that – it was an integral part of the reason Leach changed his recruiting strategy this year, with he and his staff focusing on the season and back loading the official trips.
What will happen this year? Will WSU instead be the one gaining from other schools’ decommits? No one can say. But we can say this:
First of all, win or lose in today’s Apple Cup, WSU is already sitting on eight wins and recruits have noticed. As just one example, we have heard from multiple prep sources that a number of high-value LA prospects (committed elsewhere and uncommitted) have been reaching out to WSU ever since the Cougs, in thrilling fashion, knocked off UCLA in Pasadena. Check out this CF.C recruiting nugget in the Luxury Suites for more detail.
Secondly, WSU recruiting has been cruising steadily along this season – again, 19 known verbals at the end of November is impressive. But there’s been something missing, as if WSU recruiting has been steadily driving down the road at 40 mph. That something has been the lack of officials: We haven’t been able to bring you those great recruiting Sundays this season, oftentimes replete with new verbal pledges after the official trips come to a close. But they're coming. The first is just one week away.
CF.C’s Braulio Perez has been on pins and needles about it all, counting down the days and gearing up.
Washington State recruiting is about to go from 35 mph to 100 mph. Buckle up.
In previous years, Leach has stayed in Pullman that first week of in-home visitations to handle various duties. But WSU’s recruiting strategy has already changed in significant ways this year, so we’ll have to wait and see. We’ll be checking with our sources (and of course prospects) -- if we receive any reports of Leach out in the recruiting wild this coming week, we’ll definitely let you know on the Suites.