Leach has high praise for staff & new QB

PULLMAN -- Mike Leach, talking with reporters Wednesday about his first recruiting class at Washington State, said quarterback Austin Apodaca “is one of the most accurate guys I’ve ever had the opportunity to recruit, and I’ve had some accurate guys.” He also had high praise for the work his staff did in pulling together the class in such a short period of time.

“Probably the best (recruiting effort) of my career when you consider what we were up against,” Leach said after the Cougars announced the signing of 28 players (which includes two bounce back signees from a year ago) to national letters of intent or financial aid agreements.

Leach said linemen were a recruiting priority for the Cougars. The result was the signing of eight offensive linemen and three defensive linemen. Three of WSU’s five junior college transfers are O-linemen.

“Our staff did a tremendous job as far as putting this class together in a month and a half,” Leach said. “When you consider most of our competition had a year-and-a-half head start, I think it’s a very impressive effort.”

Leach said “it is too early” to name recruits who might start next season.

“The junior college guys, we’re looking for them to have an impact early, either as starters or to provide depth,” Leach said.

There are five JC transfer in the class: OT Sam Jones, DT Ioane Gauta, OL Niu Sale, kicker Mike Bowlin and RB Theron West.

“The freshmen, I’ve always found who adjusts the quickest is the guy that has the first impact.”

The Cougars picked up five wide receivers, including Rahmel Dockery, a bounce back from the 2011 class. The Tacoma speedster was ruled academically ineligible last season as a freshman out of Curtis High School.

“Just a really good crop of receivers,” Leach said. “Our expectations with receivers are understandably high.”

If Dockery is only counted with last year’s class, WSU landed just three in-state recruits for the second straight year. Leach said it is essential for the Cougars to land more Washington players.

“No question about it,” he said. “You do your best to lock down the state.”

Leach said he was pleased with the inroads his staff made in recruiting Southern California and American Samoa.

“You’d like more time,” Leach said, “because recruiting is about relationships. The longer you have to establish those relationships, the better it is.”

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Leach the Cougars "were approached by a number of people (quarterbacks) looking to transfer. But with (Jeff) Tuel and (Connor) Halliday, we weren’t really looking for a transfer.”

  • The final three prospects in the Cougar orbit to announce their college choice were Kenny Lawler and Raymond Ford, who both opted for Cal, and Alphonso Marsh, who is headed to Utah.

  • Here's the roster of new Cougs: WSU's 2012 COMMIT LIST
  • In addition to the new players, Leach confirmed previous reports that Jason Loscalzo is the new strength and conditioning coach for football. Loscalzo held the same title the past three seasons at Boston College.
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