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WSU recruiting: Rankings, history, insights

SOME HAVE ALREADY called this Mike Leach’s best recruiting class. That might be a bridge too far, given there is nary a quarterback nor defensive tackle on the known commit list. But there are also plenty of positives, including on the offensive line and the upgraded speed on defense. How does Scout.com rank WSU’s expected signing class of 2016?

Scout.com currently ranks WSU's class at No. 50 in the country and No. 10 in the Pac-12.

Before you shake your fist at the sky, keep in mind recruiting rankings are more art than science. The 1999 Cougar class, which fueled WSU’s three-straight 10-win seasons from 2001-03, was ranked 39th in the land but at or near the bottom of the Pac-10.

Washington State’s highest rated recruiting class came in at No. 21 in 2004.  And that group turned into a monumental bust that helped set the table for the decade of field woes that would follow.

This year’s class currently ranks just behind No. 49 Oregon State and just ahead of No. 51 Maryland.

OSU’s class averages 2.71 stars, WSU’s 2.78. That illustrates the premium Scout.com’s rankings place on 4- and 5-star recruits. OSU has two four-star pledges, WSU has none.  Last year’s WSU class featured four 4-star signings: Thomas Toki, Jeremiah Mitchell, Shalom Luani and Kameron Powell.

Five Pac-12 schools are ranked in the top 30 nationally this class: UCLA (10); Stanford (11); Oregon (17); USC (23) and UW (25).  They are followed by ASU (31); Cal (36); Utah (41); Oregon State (49); Washington State (50); Arizona (56) and Colorado (72).

Those numbers will continue to move in the coming hours and even days, as late-choosing players commit and others pull a switch, but dramatic shifts are unlikely.

These ratings are based on subjectivity, thus to be taken with a grain of salt, but they are a decent starting point for discussion. Some highly rated prospects will turn out to be spot on in the years to come.  Others, not so much.  Consider Joe Dahl, who had no Pac-12 offers and signed with FCS school Montana. He left to walk on at WSU a year later.  After a stellar collegiate career at WSU, he’s about to hear his name called in April’s NFL draft.

UCLA’s past four recruiting classes hold an average ranking of  No. 11 nationally. Washington State’s last four average 48th nationally. Yet WSU went into UCLA’s house this past season and won the game.

One more star ranking anecdote to consider: The collective number of stars awarded to Marcus Trufant, Erik Coleman and Will Derting when they were high school seniors was less than the 5 stars given to a quarterback from that same era: future third-string Husky Casey Paus. Together, their prep star power didn't equal Paus'.

Here's the complete run-down of Scout.com's national team recruiting rankings for 2016 (which will be updated continually over the coming days).


·  2015 – 38th, just behind NC State and ahead of Miami
·  2014 – 57th, just behind Boston College and ahead of Northwestern
·  2013 – 45th, just behind Penn State and ahead of Northwestern
·  2012 – 50th, just behind Nebraska and ahead of Penn State
·  2011 – 57th, just behind UCLA and ahead of Indiana
·  2010 – 40th, just behind Arizona and ahead of Georgia Tech
·  2009 – 43rd, just behind Clemson and ahead of Baylor
·  2008 – 74th, tied with Vandy, just behind UTEP and ahead of Troy
·  2007 – 54th, just behind Connecticut and ahead of Kansas State
·  2006 – 45th, just behind Boston College and ahead of BYU
·  2005 – 47th, just behind Kansas State and ahead of Georgia Tech
·  2004 – 21st, just behind North Carolina State and ahead of Washington
·  2003 – 58th, just behind West Virginia and ahead of BYU
·  2002 – 48th, just behind Illinois and ahead of Oregon State
·  2001 – Unable to locate
·  2000 – Unable to locate
·  1999 – 39th, just behind Kentucky and ahead of Illinois

If you throw out aberrations at each end -- No. 21 in 2004 and No. 74 in 2008 -- you'll find that the 40s and 50s tend to be where WSU classes rank nationally.

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