WSU recruiting trail: Here comes Leach

THE IN-HOME VISITATION period in recruiting opens up Sunday, signalling a new phase in Cougar recruiting. And there's a change in Washington State strategy from previous years out on the trail -- and it involves Mike Leach.

Leach will be out on the road Sunday, CF.C has confirmed.  That's a change from pervious years, when Leach has waited until the start of the second week to pack a bag and join his assitant caoches already out on the road.

Sunday is the first day coaches can make in-person visits off campus to prospects and high schools (often referred to as the "in-home" visit period). The period is split up around the holidays and final bowl games, running from Nov. 29 – Dec. 13, and from Jan. 14 – 31.

Head coaches only get one in-home visit per recruit, an assistant coach can have as many as six, so strategy comes into play.

Leach will visit some prospects right away and in December, for others that single off-campus face-to-face with Leach will come down the road, with the majority expected to come in January.<br><br>

But the fact Leach is headed out right away could be noteworthy.

Leach in the past hasn't generally sat down with any recruit in December who plans on making his decision in mid- or late-January. So there could be some decisions between now and Dec. 13 for some WSU targets (and some possibly coming during Leach in-homes).

On the other hand, there's this: Leach will undoubtedly be visiting any potential mid-year targets. There are two known pledges in the 2016 class who have signed financial aid agreements with WSU and plan to enroll in January. They are Bellevue ATH Justus Rogers and CB Jalen Thompson out of Downey, Calif.

This year has been a sea change for WSU in recruiting strategy. The biggest change, of course, is that WSU' will hold its first official visit weekend of the year on Dec. 4, having eschewed visit weekends during the season. (Two main reasons for that: First, the coaches can spend more quality time with recruits now than they can during a game weekend. Second, the coaches can  concentrate more fully on the coaching task at hand, which turned out to be an 8-4 mark this season).

CF.C's Braulio Perez is geared up and will be working the phones in the days and weeks to come, and's Brandon Huffman and Greg Biggins will also be reporting and posting in the Luxury Suites too.

--WSU already has 19 known verbal commitments but a lot can change between now and Signing Day and (as Cougar fans were strongly reminded last year) the flips, decommits and coaching poaches are at their most frenetic from mid-January to Signing Day.  But we've getting some early indications the shoe might be on the other foot this year,

--Also, and this has always held true since Leach has been in Pullman, if an elite, stud prospect around this time of the recruiting year decides he wants to come to WSU -- a prospect that Leach also really wants to come on board, he's not going to turn the prospect away. Regardless of the overall verbal numbers and/or if Wazzu has already filled up at his position, the Cougs will find a way to make room for the big fish.

--Per the NCAA rule book, six (6) in-person off-campus contacts per prospective student-athlete are permitted between now and Jan. 31 excluding the quiet and dead periods (Dec. 14 – Jan. 13), with no more than one off-campus visit permitted in any one calendar week (Sunday through Saturday) or partial calendar week.

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