If the previous recruiting cycle is any indication, the number might be somewhere around 40, give or take. There were 37 known official visitors to Pullman last class. And that’s interesting because its less than previous years at WSU under Leach.
In the three recruiting years prior according to the Scout.com database, Leach brought in 53 official visitors in 2015, 47 in 2014 and 50 in 2013. Leach’s first recruiting class at WSU, when he basically had two months to assemble a class after being hired, saw 38 official visitors in 2012. The NCAA allows a maximum of 56 official visits.
The chief reason for last year’s numbers might be because the 2015-16 recruiting cycle was when Leach implemented a new recruiting strategy: delaying official visits until after the regular season. It follows that Leach’s target list has been whittled down further as the calendar turns to December than it was in, say, early September.
Note: We don’t claim to know with 100 percent certainty every official visitor who has come to town under Leach. Recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick (Super Dave, Leach calls him) is a wily one and he’s slipped in official visitors and whisked them out of town without our knowledge in years past. That said, the numbers above give you a solid handle on the official visit picture.
The three prospects who tripped in for the Apple Cup were the first known official visitors of the year. For this coming weekend, we expect the WSU visit list to grow (and change) considerably between now and Saturday. The Cougar assistant coaches are out on the recruiting trail visiting prospects, high schools and junior colleges this week, with the critical in-home visitation period kicking off yesterday.
Last year, WSU brought in eight visitors on the first weekend in December. We’ll have a better feel later as to this weekend's numbers -- CF.C generally publishes an article Friday/Saturday on what we've gleaned on who the official visitors are, including video highlights.
And then after the visits, you’ll want to stay tuned to CF.C especially on Sunday afternoons and evenings (and depending on when we're able to connect with them sometimes Monday and beyond) as we work the phone lines to see where things stand, and who might have verballed. CF.C recruiting guru Braulio Perez is already planning his moves.
There are two official visit weekends in December, three in January. Official visits, and the in-home visitation period, enter a dead period over the holidays and final bowl games, from Dec. 12 – Jan. 11. But recruiting never truly stops, not ever. Whether it’s a dead period or any other time, a prospect can always pick up the phone and call a WSU coach. There is always recruiting going on at Washington State.
Oh, and then there’s the bowl practices likely to coincide with the Dec. 11 visit weekend. WSU hasn’t released its practice schedule (and we don’t even know what bowl the Cougs are going to yet) but you can count on those early bowl practices having a recruiting component to them if history is any guide.
Indeed, 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 the practice sessions. There are going to be some hectic stretches over the next two months-plus, from now until Feb. 1. Let the Cougars’ recruiting race to the finish line begin!