The Cougars have three 2014 football commits thus far in the recruiting cycle and we’ve touched on each one here at ACU. Before we get too far along in the process, let’s talk a little about the possible impact these three could have if they fill out their initial potential for their position group and as a whole to Mike Leach and the Cougars. First a snapshot of each player:
While there isn’t a Tyler Bruggman among the group, it’s clear that these three players are an extension of what Mike Leach began last year. This isn’t your typical brand of Washington State prospect coming in, these are players with major upside and really good draw to other prospects who are on the fence on coming in.
Bender hasn’t been rated, and until that happens, he will be one that doesn’t have a whole lot of influence one way or the other, but he has impressed such guys as Trent Dilfer in Elite 11 camps with his lightning quick release and Leach really likes him. He was one of only four offers at quarterback, which is probably what you’ll see throughout the entirety of the Leach tenure because he likes a certain brand of QB. Leach does keep flexibility when talking about size, but he adjusts his expectations. Because of Bender’s mobility and still strong arm, he fits that profile. The fact that this kid is from Florida is an extreme boost, as the reach of Leach is important in the ability to finally put WSU on par with the rest of the Pac-12 in terms of finding talent all over the country.
Defense is a little bit different because we know Leach likes to stay in the loop but give his defense up for the most part to his coordinator/assistants. It’s been his M.O. to be fast and strong and Mike Breske requires that as well within his 3-4 scheme. Simply put, Griffin brings the strong, Hoyd brings the fast, each brings explosion and each also brings an additional element with them; free advertising. Each is vocal on twitter about their status to join Wazzu and are considered just short of elite players in their respective areas, which always bodes well early in the class because other players want to join guys like these. Don’t be fooled by the 3 star ranking from their junior seasons, both of them should jump several spots positionally by the end of their senior years and push a 4 star ranking.
Griffin is the type of defensive tackle the Cougs need and he will follow the cleat marks of Toni Pole, Robert Barber and Iaone Gauta. Darryl Paulo is also in on the mix so I expect Griffin to get the redshirt and build to around the 300 pound barometer and be a terrific option at DT in his freshman season. He could be an all-conference defensive player in short order with his upside.
Hoyd, meanwhile is a long backer who has a fantastic nose for the ball and an even more fantastic ability to use his length and shed blocks to get to it. Hoyd also has athletic ability that jumps off the tape, able to move with great agility to make plays vertically and laterally when necessary. Being that the Cougs have some really good young backers, Hoyd should also get a redshirt and come in with a vengeance his freshman season.
Overall, this trio jump starts the Cougar recruiting class in a big way. The additional bonus of Griffin being from the West side is huge as the Cougars try and take the state of Washington over. He is like that big fish in a little pond and generally the big fish like to stay together and have headed to UW (hello Bishop Sankey and Desmond Trufant). A catch here and there by WSU balances out the power there and also brings more allure to the Cougs. The Cougs are just getting started!