WSU recruiting by location: A fascinating visual history of Mike Leach's Cougar recruiting classes of last 5 years

WASHINGTON STATE recruiting trends have been consistent since Mike Leach was hired in December 2011 and because map apps today are so precise, it is fascinating to see the actual area clusters showing where WSU is at its most effective on the recruiting trail. CF.C examined the crimson recruiting hotspots by location over Leach’s five completed recruiting classes -- and it's visually striking to see the four geographic areas that produce the most Cougars.

They are: southern California, the Bay Area, Western Washington and American Samoa.

Note: In order to provide the most complete recruiting picture possible, CF.C included every Cougar as of Signing Day on the WSU commit lists for the past five years, including some who for various reasons did not ultimately come to Washington State.

Map Key:
Green – 4-star recruit
Pink – 3-star recruit
Blue – 2-star recruit
Gray - No star rating
All maps from

2012: 29 commits

In Leach’s first class with the Cougars, put together over a compressed 8-week time frame after he was hired, the group leaned heavily from California, along with a handful of recruits from Washington and Arizona. Nine of the class’s 29 recruits came from southern California, headlined by wide receiver Gabe Marks.

2013: 29 commits

In Leach’s first full year recruiting on the Palouse, WSU began to expand its recruiting and infiltrate cities north of Los Angeles like Santa Margarita, where receiver River Cracraft and center Riley Sorenson grew up. The Cougar coaching staff also landed what have proven to be some big-time commitments in Washington including offensive lineman Cole Madison and linebacker Peyton Pelluer. And of course, WSU also landed the mother of all 2-star commits in this cycle: Wenatchee’s Cody O’Connell.  (You may have heard, O’Connell this week achieved the rarest of the rare in becoming a unanimous All-American choice, just the second in program history).


2014: 24 commits

The 2014 recruiting class saw more growth in Northern California, and WSU’s forays into the Golden State produced a more balanced attack when it came to commitments. While the Cougars numbers in Washington went down this class, they did land Andre Dillard, an overlooked 2-star prospect who patrolled the left tackle position and protected Luke Falk’s blindside in 2016.


2015: 26 commits

The class featured a quartet of 4-star recruits from California: two from NorCal and two from SoCal. This was also the first year in the Leach tenure (and believed to be the first in program history) that saw commitments from the state of Washington. There was, however, prominent junior college talent that came to Pullman in the form of 4-star safety Shalom Luani from City College of San Francisco. Also a 4-star junior college transfer: Riverside defensive end Jeremiah Mitchell.

2016: 29 commits

The class of 2016 was a case where the Washington State coaches could make a short drive up I-5 and I-90 and hit on four recruits in Justus Rogers, Joshua Watson, D’Jimon Jones and Josiah Westbrook (the latter did not sign).  Similarly, using Los Angeles as the baseline and heading east resulted in a trail of seven Cougar commits.


2012–2016 WSU recruiting classes: 137 commits

When looking at Leach’s first five classes as a whole, 77 of 137 commits have come from the state of California, 21 have come from Washington and eight have come from American Samoa. Based on what the data tells us, those areas should continue to be heavily tapped for future Cougars by the WSU coaching staff and including in the 2017 crop, the majority of whom will sign on Feb. 1.

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