The Washington State Cougars finished up what Mike Leach called his best, most balanced and most polished class yet in Pullman, but that’s not to say they don’t have room to improve. In pretty much every case in which you would evaluate this class, the Cougars must get better in the years to come, but there’s no doubt this class has several candidates that will look to help out in 2014.
Interestingly, even with Leach’s glowing eval on his new kids, the Cougars really didn’t score any higher nationally than they historically have over the past couple of decades. In fact in a lot of ways they were worse (more on that below). Here’s where they scored in the major recruiting services:
- ESPN: #61 between Syracuse at 60 and BYU at 62. Good enough for 9th in the Pac, ahead of Utah, OSU and Colorado.
- Scout: #58 between BC and Northwestern. This is good enough for only 10th in the Pac, ahead of Utah and Colorado. *Scout failed to add Markell Sanders to their commitment list. As a 2-star, he would probably bring the Cougars up to around #54.
- 247sports: #65 between Minnesota and BYU. 11th in conference ahead of only Colorado. *247 does not calculate any of the delayed enrollees (4 grayshirts). That leaves four player out of the ranking which would change this rank significantly.
- Rivals: #71 between BYU and SDSU. Dead last in the conference. *Again does not calculate grayshirts.
None of the sites list Texas A&M transfer WR Sebastian LaRue, who is a redshirt freshman, as a part of the class, even though the NCAA mandates that he count towards the final class numbers which is set at a 25 signing maximum. The reason is that the services don’t want to deal with re-ranking (I think it would be fairly simple if done correctly, but there are arguments to the contrary obviously). If we were to add LaRue’s rankings from 2013, he would boost the class in a huge way. Same could be said for any other teams with incoming transfers.
So in looking a little deeper, the Cougars probably had more of an upper 40’s class when the entire class is realized, which is fairly respectable. There’s much work to do in Pullman, but the class doesn’t grade out as low as the recruiting services are saying and that’s not just “an optimistic view”, it’s reality.
In LaRue, DT Ngalu Tapa (who fell off after a legal issue that was ultimately cleared up) and S Deion Singleton (who fell off the recruiting map after moving from Tallahassee, FL to Pasco, WA to deal with academics), the Cougars get three legitimate and previously highly ranked 4-star talents (in LaRue’s case 5-star, top 150 and top 10 WR at ESPN in 2013 class). So bottom line, the Cougs are much higher on a realistic scale.
Regardless of numbers though, Mike Leach may not have got everyone he really wanted, but nobody does (ok, yeah Nick Saban does and it looks like Sarkisian might have got a majority). However Leach still got a class full of guys that he did want and that wanted WSU in return, not to mention the improved talent pool.