How does Joe Salave’a's departure affect Mike Leach's 2017 class recruiting? A look at commit list and some uncommitted WSU targets

CLOSE FOLLOWERS OF Cougar recruiting still remember well two years ago when four Los Angeles-area verbal commits to WSU flipped after Dennis Simmons, then the WSU area recruiting coach, was reported to be leaving for Oklahoma in the days before Signing Day. Fast forward to today, and Cougar d-line coach Joe Salave'a's departure to Oregon doesn't figure to have nearly the same effect on WSU's 2017 commits.

The effect will be felt more in the uncommitted targets WSU is pursuing, as opposed to those who have already gone crimson.

WSU uses a group recruiting approach, and Salave'a most definitely lent an "assist" on some Cougars on the commit list. But as near as we can tell, he ran the point on only one of the Cougs' 22 known commits: Idaho DE/RUSH Aisa Kelemete (pictured above).

Kelemete told CF.C via text on Tuesday that Big Joe's departure has him rethinking his pledge to Washington State.

"It does change things, I have a bond with that coach that I didn't have with any other coach. I am taking a visit to Boise State," said Kelemete.

Kelemete, following his Dec. 9 official visit to Pullman, flipped his commitment to WSU from Boise State. But it sounds like BSU will now get another bite at the apple. 

Kelemete didn't answer all the questions we texted him, including whether he had heard from WSU since the news on Salave'a to Oregon broke. He did say he talked to Salave'a yesterday but didn't go into detail on what the conversation was about.

"IDK (I don't know) I guess we will see," said Kelemete when asked if he thought there could now be some interest coming his way from Oregon.

AS FOR THE uncommitted WSU targets, Salave'a had been running the recruiting point for WSU on three out of Hawaii on the Wazzu visit list: LB Isaac Slade-Matautia, DT Miki Suguturaga and OL Mo Unutoa.

Slade-Matautia is a 4-star prospect while Suguturaga and Unutoa are rated three stars.  Suguturaga is scheduled to visit WSU this weekend, with Slade-Matautia coming to town on Jan. 20. Unutoa visited WSU on Dec. 9. 

Slade-Matautia is reported to have a final five of WSU, Oregon, ASU, Colorado and Nebraska. Unotoa is deciding between WSU, Utah, BYU, Oregon State and Virginia.  Suguturaga hasn't officially narrowed his list but is thought to be deciding between WSU and Utah.


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