Leach ready to land respectable recruiting class in first year
Cougars ranked No. 59 by one service
Seattle Times staff reporter
When Washington State announces its 2012 football signing class Wednesday, it will hardly rock the nation. Scout.com puts the WSU group at No. 59.
But it's apparent that the name of Mike Leach, the new coach, carries some cachet. With a solid foundation of commitments from the Paul Wulff staff and a respectable effort in the two months since Leach was hired, the Cougars are likely to be relatively pleased with their first haul under Leach.
"He's done great," said Greg Biggins, director of recruiting for ESPN.com. "He's gotten two or three guys that I think could play for anyone. He's generated a lot more buzz in the last month than Washington State has had in the last few years, probably."
Tuesday, the Cougars lost out on Lakes receiver/defensive back Cedric Dozier. But they regained safety Taylor Taliulu of Aiea, Hawaii, atop a commitment Monday from linebacker Jeremiah Allison of Dorsey High in Los Angeles, a straight-A student whose coach says had 60 career sacks.
"Leach is a coach whose name carries weight," said Jake Worthen of Scout.com. "People know who he is. When a coach has a name like Mike Leach does, and when he's known nationally ... plus, Washington State had a pretty good class in order before he came in."
The Wulff staff had 19 commitments, of which Leach's staff opted to retain about half.
Analysts are most impressed with a four-star recruit, 5-foot-11, 175-pound receiver Gabriel Marks of Venice (Calif.) High, plus linebackers like Kache Palacio (6-2, 225) of Gardena, Calif., and 6-4, 205-pound linebacker Khalil Pettway of Culver City, Calif.
"Marks is a great-looking kid," said Worthen. "He's going to catch a ton of balls."
The class also will be heavy on offensive linemen. Six had committed to Wulff's staff before he was dismissed, and most were retained under Leach.
Allison's coach, Paul Knox, said his player was impressed with the full-court press Leach's staff applied to him.
"Dennis Simmons (wide-receivers coach) made the initial contact right when they got the job, and right behind him came coach Leach and several other coaches," Knox said. "I think that really impressed Jeremiah."
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org