Going deep on Washington State's in-state recruiting in the Mike Leach era

WASHINGTON STATE has five known in-state commits this recruiting class -- when was the last time WSU signed five or more in a class? Is there a particular position group Mike Leach trends towards in Evergreen State recruiting? An examination of Leach's tenure at WSU reveals a roller coaster ride when it comes to recruiting inside the state borders.

After signing a trio of in-state products in 2012, Leach landed seven Washington prospects in his first full year recruiting at WSU for the 2013 class.  A dry spell immediately followed, as only a combined two in-state recruits signed with Wazzu from 2014-2015.  

The 2016 and 2017 classes feature a combined nine Washingtonians, with the potential to add more to the ’17 crop before Signing Day on Feb. 1.
Leach has tended to keep the big guys home. Of the 24 commits from Washington since the 2012 class, 10 have been offensive and defensive linemen, with the majority on the offensive side of the ball.


  • Isaac Dotson 3-star safety/QB, Bellevue.  Dotson is a converted linebacker who totaled 56 tackles in 2016.
  • Matt Meyer 3-star OT, Lynden. Meyer transferred to Eastern Washington after his freshman year.
  • Cole Madison 3-star OG, Burien. The fourth-year junior was named to Pro Football Focus’ 2016 All-American team.
  • Peyton Pelluer 3-star MLB, Sammamish. The linebacker has led the Cougs in tackling two of his three years.
  • Markell Sanders, 2-star CB Sammamish. Sanders transferred to Montana in 2015.
  • Cody O’Connell: Second unanimous All-American in program history in 2016, in his first year starting.
  • B.J. Salmonson, 2-star OT, Everson. He was the ‘first man up’ at guard/tackle on the o-line in 2016 and started one game.


  • Deion Singleton, 3-star safety, Pasco. The second-year freshman saw game action in 2016 but has not recorded a statistic.
  • Andre Dillard, 2-star OT, Woodinville. Dillard became the starting left tackle in 2016. He helped form a solid left side with O’Connell and was a part of a consistent group overall who started all but one game together this season.


  • None


  • Justus Rogers, 3-star ATH/QB, Bellevue. Rogers has moved to the secondary and redshirted his first season at WSU.
  • Joshua Watson, 3-star OG, Everett. Watson, who redshirted this season, was the top guard coming out of Washington in the 2016 class.
  • Josiah Westbrook, 3-star WR Bellingham. Did not qualify.
  • D’Jimon Jones, 2-star ATH, Federal Way. Jones redshirted this season at safety, turning heads in practice over the latter half of the season.

2017 (so far)

  • Dontae Powell, 4-star OT, Richland. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle has the versatility to play inside or outside on the o-line.
  • Abraham Lucas, 3-star OT, Everett. The lanky, 6-foot-8 tackle also starred on defense his senior season and was named All-Area by the Everett Herald.
  • Joe Tryon, 3-star DE, Renton. Named NPSL co-defensive lineman of the year and first team all-league on both defense and offense.
  • Kelle Sanders, 3-star DE, Lacey. He's captured a slew of awards and if you pair Sanders with Tryon, Leach has a pair of very long defensive ends set to sign this class.
  • Quazzel White, 3-star OG, Tacoma. Named All-Area and All-State by Tacoma News Tribune, 3A PCL offensive lineman of the year.

“I don’t think it’s a big secret on recruiting within the state who typically comes out on top," Leach said after last month's Apple Cup loss.  In looking at the 2013-2017 classes where Leach had a full year to recruit to WSU and with the ’17 class to be finalized, Washington State has brought in 21 of its 128 commitments (16 percent) from the state of Washington. Rival Washington compares with 27 of its 103 commitments (26 percent) during that time frame.  Note: UW has 14 known commitments in this class including four from in-state prospects. Totals include those who committed but did not sign, and signees who ultimately did not make it into UW and WSU.

Assistant coaches Eric Mele (Western Washington) and Dave Nichol (Eastern Washington) are WSU's primary recruiters for the state. Mele replaced former assistant coach Eric Russell midway through the 2014 season. Nichol came on board a year ago, replacing Dave Yost.

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