What's next in Cougar recruiting for WSU coaches? Before Sunday midnight, and from now until Jan. 11, there will be plenty going on

A MONTH-LONG RECRUITING DEAD PERIOD begins at midnight Sunday for Washington State and everyone else. So what are the Cougar coaches trying to accomplish over these final hours? How about from now until Jan. 12, when the contact period opens back up and recruiting resembles the Wild West? There will be plenty going on, as it turns out.

First, Mike Leach and the Cougar assistant coaches want to make sure all WSU's verbal commitments are as "solid" as can be. The Cougs have 19 known pledges including LB Cole Dubots who went crimson Saturday night. 

Second, WSU wants the eight visitors in town this weekend to have left Wazzu with a great impression, and to have "won" the recruiting weekend before recruiting goes into the dead period. That likely includes texts and/or phone calls between now and midnight.

Part and parcel of the final visit weekend of 2016: potential commitments over the next few days as recruits return home and mull things over with family.  One prospect who will make his decision this coming week is JUCO o-lineman Robert Valencia out of City College of San Francisco. He plans to sign Wednesday, the first day of the midyear signing period (Dec. 14).

Valencia, with a lot to think about, has gone silent over the past week or so. CF.C continues to try and touch base and we'll let you know if we reach him. Our take, in talking to junior college sources, is that it will come down to WSU and Cal. One of Cal's advantages, and it could be a deciding one, is that Cal is so close to Valencia and his family.  Stay tuned.

BACK TO THE big picture -- the term  "dead period" is a misnomer.  In a nutshell, a dead period means no face-to-face contact, so no in-home or in-school visits nor official visit weekends on a college campus (a recruit could take an unofficial but can't meet with a coach, so those are generally rare and of lesser value). 

But during a dead period texts, direct messaging on social media, email and letters are allowed.

So are phone calls.  

Recruits can pick up the phone and talk with a coach as often as they want, any time they want.  And in a dead period, college coaches are still allowed to initiate a phone call once a week.  A coach can also, for example, text a recruit "Call me."

So the communication lines remain wide open for Washington State coaches and its recruiting targets during the Dec. 12 - Jan. 11 dead period.

Once the contact period opens back up Jan. 12, there are just 20 days before Signing Day.  And that means WSU will be full-go in the sprint to the finish line. And so will everyone else.  It bears repeating: Get ready for the Wild West if recent years are any indication. Things will change rapidly - what appeared a virtual certainty on Wednesday morning may look completely different Wednesday afternoon.

Schools who have prospects high on their boards all year see those prospects in mid-January decide/solidify with other schools.  For the school that missed out, a full court press follows on its "Plan B" prospects – oftentimes those are recruits verbally committed to another school. WSU adjusted its recruiting strategy after watching its 2015 class commit list pillaged over the final three weeks before Signing Day -- looking to backload all, or virtually all, of it official visits to December/January.  

And so that just reinforces the point: from today through Jan. 11, it remains mission critical for Leach and the WSU assistant coaches to strengthen the bonds as much as possible with both its commits and targets. 

Dead period?  Hardly.

• CF.C’s Braulio Perez and’s Brandon Huffman continue to work the phones on WSU’s weekend visitors. We’ll bring you stories as soon as we’re able to get the young men on the phone.

• Junior college wide receiver Ravon Alexander (6-0, 185) announced on Twitter Sunday he is joining the WSU program. has confirmed through a JUCO source the Modesto College prospect has accepted a preferred walk on invitation from Wazzu.  Alexander had 49 catches for 553 yards this past season.

• TE/DL Ben Moos, son of Washington State AD Bill Moos, announced on twitter he had verbally committed to Utah over offers from WSU, ASU, Idaho, Louisville, Nevada and Syracuse.  Recruiting evaluations are more art than science. That said, the view from here is that Moos (6-3, 240) is a very good get for Utah, and that his best position at the next level looks to be tight end. Ben, a three-star TE prospect on, has also has grown up at WSU and the Pullman High product might understandably looking to play at a place where his dad isn't the athletic director. Again, a nice get for Utah and congrats to Ben and the Moos family.

• The NCAA deregulated text messaging on April 28, coaches since that time have been able to send unlimited text messages to prospects (the limitation remaining in place:  college coaches cannot initiate contact until Sept. 1 of a player’s junior year. Again, prospects can reach out to coaches anytime they want).

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