Leach ‘pretty happy’ with WSU’s recruits

Contributing writerFebruary 7, 2013 

PULLMAN — Signing day for football letters of intent Wednesday was short on surprises at Washington State University.

For starters, the Cougars did not become the first team in history to declare their latest recruiting class to be lousy.

Secondly, the first day for high school players to sign went pretty much as planned, although Arizona State made a last-minute run at prized quarterback prospect Tyler Bruggman of Phoenix.

Bruggman, Scout.com’s only 4-star recruit (5 is highest) among Washington State’s signees, said the Sun Devils renewed contact with him Tuesday after learning that quarterback Josh Dobbs was wavering on his verbal commitment with ASU. Dobbs signed with Tennessee.

“It was a very stressful process – a long (Wednesday) morning and day yesterday,” Bruggman said in a phone interview. “But I’m excited to be a Cougar and looking forward to the future up in Pullman.”

Bruggman made second-team all-state after passing for 2,803 yards, 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season at Brophy Prep. Bruggman said his parents, both Arizona State graduates, did not pressure him to attend ASU.

The Cougars announced 24 signees (the new NCAA limit is 25, down from 28). That excludes running back-kick returner Daniel

Jenkins, who plans to transfer to WSU for his senior year after earning his degree at Arizona.

Asked to assess the first recruiting class his staff had a full year to work on, coach Mike Leach said, “Real happy doesn’t exist. Pretty happy? Yeah. I think it went well.”

Adam Gorney, a recruiting reporter for Rivals.com, said WSU’s recruits are “not a stellar class, but I think a solid class.”

Scout.com recruiting reporter Brandon Huffman told Cougfan.com that players “want to play for” Leach and the Cougars have “one of the better classes I’ve seen from WSU in some time.”

Added Huffman: “The mindset is changing in terms of who goes to play at Washington State. It’s no longer a ‘fall-back’ school.”

Scout.com, which generally keeps closer tabs on WSU recruiting, had the Cougars’ recruiting class ranked ninth in the Pacific-12 Conference and 39th out of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Rivals.com ranked WSU 10th and 48th, respectively.

Offensive and defensive linemen were key targets.

Leach said it’s “always tough to predict” which freshmen might have a chance to start early this season, but he said junior college transfers Vince Mayle and Ivan McLennan are “two good candidates” to start at wide receiver and outside linebacker, respectively.

EXTRA POINTS

Highly touted California running back Olito Thompson, who had made a verbal commitment to WSU, did not sign Wednesday. Academics may be an issue. … Linebacker Jacob Tuivaiave, who signed with WSU last season but failed to qualify academically, plans to play at California junior college power Mt. San Antonio this season. Tuivaiave starred at Washington High in Parkland. … Cornerback Marcellus Pippins told Cougfan.com he’s changed his commitment from Utah to WSU and plans to enroll in January. … Former WSU linebacker C.J. Mizell signed with the Akron Zips. Leach kicked Mizell off the team last February after he was arrested for punching a student at a WSU fraternity. … Leach said “we’re addressing” the recent DUI arrest of kick returner and reserve running back Leon Brooks. … Longtime Nevada assistant coach Ken Wilson has been hired to coach WSU linebackers, replacing Jeff Choate, UTEP’s new defensive coordinator.

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