WSU recruiting class big on Puget Sound

FROM A GEOGRAPHIC standpoint, Mike Leach's 2017 recruiting class at Washington State features three verbal commitments from the Puget Sound region. That said, the Cougs' recruiting haul is also shaping up as an eclectic group. Here are some noteworthy nuggets on the Cougs' recruiting class.

Until Monday night, four Cougar assistants were the lead WSU recruiters on 75 percent of the class (12 of 16 verbals). With WR Isaiah Hodgins decommiting on Monday, the quartet of Eric Mele, Jim Mastro, Ken Wilson and Dave Nichol still account for 73 percent (11 of 16).

Mele's recruiting territory is Western Washington, Portland and Vancouver, Canada.  Mastro is WSU's area recruiter for the Bay Area.  Wilson is Washington State's point man in California's Inland Empire. And Nichol recruits Orange County, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana for WSU.

Mele is the area recruiter on four verbal pledges, including three from in-state: (DE Kelle Sanders, DE Joe Tryon, OL Abraham Lucas, QB Connor Neville).  Wilson is the area recruiter on three (S/CB Tayari Venable, CB George Hicks, CB Zaire Webb). After Hodgins opened things back up Monday, Mastro is running the point on two Cougar verbals (RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio, OL George Moore). Nichol, with a big assist from o-line coach Clay McGuire, is the area recruiter on a pair of OL verbals (Dontae Powell, Alec Kuzmack).

Something that jumps off the page in looking at the WSU commit list: there are zero verbal commitments from the Los Angeles area. 

Our guess is it won't stay that way and for three reasons:

1) WSU historically has drawn a significant number of signees out of the Los Angeles basin. 2) Roy Manning is WSU's area recruiter for L.A. and as his pre-practice twitter videos ably demonstrate, he has a vibrant personality that should work well in recruiting from social media to living rooms. 3) Wazzu, in order to accomplish its goal of continually competing for Pac-12 titles, needs to keep the LA pipeline flowing to Pullman.

Also of note: WSU has three verbal pledges from Florida. On two, DT Lamonte McDougal and CB Zaire Webb, longstanding crimson connections help explain why they went crimson.

On McDougal, Leach actually ran the recruiting point rather than an assistant coach (a rarity). Leach has a relationship with the McDougal family (his father played for Leach at Oklahoma). For Webb, he used to be in California and was heavily recruited by Wilson before the family moved to the Sunshine State.
Here is the WSU recruiting class breakdown by state:

Washington - 4
California - 4
Florida - 3
Oregon - 1
Hawaii - 1
Idaho - 1
Texas - 1

Washington State employs a group recruiting approach, with the position coach and others heavily involved. But the area recruiter is obviously pretty damned important. Here's the full area recruiter breakdown on WSU's known verbal commits:

Eric Mele: QB Connor Neville, OL Abraham Lucas, DE Joe Tryon, DE Kelle Sanders.
Ken Wilson: S/CB Tayari Venable, CB George Hicks, CB Zaire Webb.
Jim Mastro: RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio, OL George Moore.
Dave Nichol: OL Dontae Powell, OL Alec Kuzmack, with big assists on both from McGuire.
Alex Grinch: WR Tyquez Hampton, with an assist from Nichol.
Joe Salave'a: Safety Charles Watson, with an assist from Grinch.
JaMarcus Shephard: WR Anthony White Jr.
Mike Leach: DT Lamonte McDougal.

The recruiting territories for the Washington State assistant coaches:

Grinch: San Diego
Manning: Los Angeles
Mastro: Bay Area including San Francisco
McGuire: Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield
Mele: Western Washington, Portland, Vancouver (CAN)
Nichol: Orange County, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana
Salave'a: Utah, American Samoa, Hawaii, Alaska
Shephard: San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village
Wilson: Inland Empire (east of L.A., includes the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino)

RELATED STORY: Call it the Mastro spring

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