Every team deals with commits changing their mind at some point and decommitting. The recruiting fans’ frustration has been well documented among many a twitter post, facebook scolding and message board rant, but the fact is, it’s a part of college football.
That rings especially true in today’s college football, as more and more media attention is thrust upon the elite high school athlete, even down to his freshman year as a 13 or 14 year old adolescent. College football fans starve for more, which one could argue has made today’s younger athlete’s more willing to pull the trigger too early, calculated or not, on their engagements to a college campus. All it takes is a visit to ESPN recruiting nation to realize that decommits are taking place all over the country, especially at the places that are finding their way back onto the map but haven’t quite “arrived”.
Washington State has gotten better over just the past two recruiting cycles, there’s little doubt about it. They are now at least competing for some high profile, “elite” recruits. Maybe that’s why even though the 2013/2014 cycle brings a solid class in, the recruits that could have come in will have Cougar nation looking back at a class that could have been so much better, at least on paper.
The Cougars were “very close” to having their best class ever, had everyone stayed on board and/or the Cougar coaching staff had been able to reel in a couple more that went down to the wire. DT Marcus Griffin (signed w/ Arizona) and LB Chandler Leniu (signed w/ Cal) were both 4-star talents, CB Darren Gardenhire (signed w/ Washington) was a highly sought and thought of 3-star safety and K Tristan Vizcaino (signed w/ Washington) was supposed to take over both punting and kicking duties before flipping. There were five more that were known.
But don’t fret, Coug fans, don’t fret in the least. Make no mistake, Leach got the guys that want to be Cougars and he got a terrific core of guys that will both immediately and eventually make a name for themselves in our hearts. Heck, most of the class was so excited this morning that 23 of the 24 faxed national letters of intent were in by 11 am. Twitter was blowing up with recruits who were jacked about their Crimson pledges, talking to each other, talking to Cougar nation.
These are the kinds of kids we need at WSU and Mike Leach does not offer kids who he feels will “fill out the depth charts”, so to speak. Leach is all about getting better at every position, with every signing. Much the way Pete Carroll did it at USC and continues to do with Seattle, Leach is a guy who’s looking for competition. In this class, competition is everywhere. As most high school talent is, a lot of it is raw and still needs a lot of polishing just to form Pac-12 level consistency, but the level of athlete is there.
So don’t look back at the “coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s Cougar faithful. Look ahead to what’s coming. Look at all the positives that come out of this class. The unheralded (but huge) Jalen Canty, the unexpected transfer of Sebastian LaRue, the once highly recruited gems Deion Singleton, Barry Ware and Ngalu Tapa that fell off the recruiting trail via random reasons , a special talent in Squally Canada, a starting caliber Will LB in Greg Hoyd III and more.
Maybe we make too much out of it, but the Cougar class is vastly underrated in my opinion.