“Keep them coming!” Coach Leach is saying to himself as he has picked up eight commitments in the month of June so far. A total of ten players have agreed to take their talents to Pullman, WA from the class of 2013. All these recruits have all been struck by the Leach effect and want to be apart of where this football program is heading. You can tell Leach is using his connections he formed as coach at Texas Tech as a tool for recruiting in the state of Texas. Washington State is expanding their recruiting scenario from just Washington, and California to Texas and even Arizona. Leach has grabbed two players from Texas (Demarcus Ayers and Trevor Walker). Mike Leach and his staff have done a great job at filling key positions with their 2013 recruiting class so far. Here is a list of the commitments so far:
Trevor Walker *** Mansfield, Texas 6’1″ 190 lbs
-Walker shows good size and had 89 tackles, 17 pass break ups and 5 interceptions his junior year at Timberview High School. The safety was named first team 5A All-District. Earning that honor is a big deal especially in the state of Texas where football is a religion and features some of the best high school talent in the country. I really like this pick up by Leach. Walker covers the field well and has great speed according to ESPN. He has the tools to be an impact player at the safety position and I believe can help this Wazzu secondary in the fall of 2013. However there are rumors that Walker might de-commit, but the safety says nothing has changed.
Grade? : A-
Markell Sanders ** Bellevue, Washington 6’1″ 175 lbs
Sanders shows good size for a corner back and knows how to catch the ball since he also played wide receiver at Eastside Catholic High School. His biggest strength is tackling, which is what you look for a player; a kid who knows how to wrap up in the open field. This is what the Wazzu secondary struggled with last season. Sanders isn’t the fastest man on the field, but has decent speed to stay with a second or third wide receiver. Just don’t line him up against players like Robert Woods of USC or else he’ll get burned down field. Sanders plays only 3A and in a weak conference in the Metro League, but did experience some real competition last season against powerhouse teams such as O’Dea and Bellevue (Ranked 5 in the country).
Grade? : B-
Position Overview: This is the main priority that Leach and his staff must focus on with recruiting is beefing up their secondary. I expect Damante Horton to be an impact player for the Cougs this fall, but the other backs could be an issue. I like the pick up of Walker and I think he can make an immediate impact for Washington State in 2013.
Peyton Pelluer *** Sammamish, Washington 6’2″ 235 lbs
Pelluer has the perfect size for a linebacker. His biggest strength is his tackling and knows where to be at the right time. His junior year at Skyline High School, he had 153 tackles. For the high school level that statistic is insane! Pelluer has great speed and is a great pick up for Mike Leach and his staff. Pelluer plays in the toughest divison in the state of Washington (4A) and plays for a powerhouse high school football program, Skyline High School. So he knows what it takes to win and has experience playing against some tough competition.
Ivan McLennan JC Transfer, Torrance, California 6’3″ 220 lbs
McLennan also has great size for a linebacker and has the speed as well. Playing junior college McLennan has experience which will help him transition to the division-1 game. McLennan has a great football IQ and as you can see in his highlight tape he is always in the right place which is what you want from your linebacker. There is no ratings base for JC players, but I believe he is a two or three star type player that knows how to play his position efficiently.
Grade? : C+
Position Overview: This is the second area Leach and his staff must focus on. Wazzu is switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense which means having solid linebackers is the key to the success of executing that defensive scheme (3-4). Not only do these linebackers need to play a lot of coverage, they need to focus on stopping the run and rushing the quarterback. The addition of Pelluer is perfect for this defense because as you can see he had 153 tackles in one season. I believe Pelluer can make an immediate impact for this program in the fall of 2013.
Cody O’Connell *** Wenatchee, WA 6’8″ 340 lbs
O’Connell has great size for an offensive lineman. 6’8″ 340 pounds? This kid is a monster and definitely has the strength to protect his future teammates Connor Halliday and Tyler Bruggman. I believe O’Connell can come in and immediately make an impact in the fall of 2013. He has great hands and is able to stay on his feet while blocking. Watch out for this player because he might be the player that makes the biggest impact his first year or two at Wazzu than any other player in the 2013 class.
Grade? : A-
Cole Madison ** Burien, Washington 6’6″ 260 lbs
Madison is a tight end from Kennedy High School. Madison committed to WSU last night, but is still considering other schools including UW. He is the 82 best tight-end in the 2013 class and has great size for his position. Not only can he catch, but he is very good at blocking as you can see in his highlight tape. It’s uncertain to where Madison will play. Some project him to be a linebacker, or wide receiver with his size. His biggest strength is his catching. The reason I have him at such a low grade is because nobody has a lot of information on this kid. Overall good pick up by Leach.
Position Overview: This area isn’t much of a worry for Leach and his staff, but always adding offensive lineman is a plus. However WSU is isn’t as strong at tight-end, so the addition of Madison helps this team. I love the pick up of O’Connell though, I’m excited to see what this kid brings to the table and I truly believe he is a future All-Pac 12 first team offensive lineman. Washington State does need to work on adding to the tight-end position and they are on the right track now with the addition of Madison.
Gerarad Wicks *** Long Beach, California 5’11 195 lbs
Wicks is a tough running back that will do everything he can to get that extra yard. He will need to put on some weight and can easily do that his senior year at Long Beach Poly High School. His junior year, Wicks rushed for 772 yards on 100 carries and rushed for 11 touchdowns. Wicks does do a great job at blocking which is what Coach Leach needs in a back because the system he runs (Air Raid) is mainly passing. Wicks will need to work on his a catching little more in order to fit in with the Air Raid offense. Of course this guy is a great runner and has been compared to Maurice Jones-Drew. He isn’t a flashy runner, but a type of running back that takes the hits and looking to push through the defender. Good luck tackling this kid by yourself in the open field.
Position Overview: The Cougars are pretty set with running back, and isn’t much of a worry for Leach. There is a lot of depth at the running back position. Still I am very happy with this get by Leach and believe Wicks will be seeing the field his sophomore or junior year. If he can block and CATCH, then he will definitely ha get a shot, he just needs to put on some weight his senior year at Long Beach Poly.
DeMarcus Ayers *** Lancaster, Texas 5’11 173 lbs
Ayers is an athlete and will play for Wazzu as a wide receiver. In high school Ayers plays almost every position on offense and is a play maker. He has the speed and will be used in multiple ways on offense for Leach system. We should see him definitely line up at receiver, but look for him to run jet sweeps, option reads at QB at times and even line up in the wildcat. ( Here is my full article on the commitment: https://allcougdup.com/2012/06/14/leach-lands-speedy-wide-receiver-from-texas/ )
River Cracraft *** Rancho Santa Margarita, California 6’2″ 205 lbs
Cracraft is also an athlete and will play for Wazzu as a wide receiver. Cracraft’s biggest strength is his blocking, which will help out when the offense runs screen plays. Cracraft is solid at catching the ball as well, but may not see the the field his first year at WSU and end up redshirting his freshman year. Give him some time to develop. His junior at Santa Margarita Catholic he had 46 catches for 654 yards and 6 touchdowns. Former Wazzu basketball player and now Golden State Warriors guard/forward Klay Thompson went to the same high school as Cracraft and even put a good word in for the wide receiver on twitter.
Grade? : B
Position Overview: Right now Washington State is set at Wide Receiver with Gabriel Marks and Marquess Wilson. Wilson may leave for the draft after his junior year leaving an starting spot open, but there are a ton of wide receivers on this roster. This is one of the most important positions in Leach’s offense. He’ll use 3 to 4 wide receiver sets frequently, and I bet will use multiple receivers, so the more receivers that come to Pullman the better. Leach doesn’t need to go all out with recruiting for this position, but adding a couple more wide receivers to this roster, or even a highly rated one will be perfect for the program.
Tyler Bruggman **** Phoenix, Arizona 6’1″ 190 lbs
Bruggman is the highest rated player to commit to Washington State University so far this year. He is the 13th best quarterback in the country and has excellent pocket awareness. The QB does have an above average arm and a weird delivery, but can read defenses well. There are rumors he might switch to a different school if he gets a better offer. Bruggman would fit great in Leach’s system with it being a pass first offense. I am certain he would be successful with the air raid offense. Last season at Brophy College Prep he passed for 2497 yards and threw 37 touchdown passes.
Grade? : A
Position Overview: Leach doesn’t need to focus on the quarterback position anymore, now with the addition of Bruggman. Bruggman has the talent to become a successful college quarterback. The problem is when would he get his chance. He would have to compete for the starting job which won’t be easy against Connor Halliday. I hope Bruggman makes it official and signs with Wazzu because I believe he can do some great things for this program and give us some deja vu moments of Bledsoe and Leaf.
Here are the rest of the areas Wazzu will need to focus on with recruiting. (Listed in order from biggest priority to small)
1. Defensive line: I know Wazzu’s switching to a 3-4 but you always need a strong defensive line. No commitments so far from the class of 2013, but its still June and commitments are still coming in hot. This is the third area of concern for Leach and his staff.
2. Special Teams: Washington State is pretty much set with their kicking and punting and doesn’t need to address this area at all.
–Evan Baron (@BaselineBaron09)