Mike Leach and his staff made the rounds for in-home visits over the last week and in so doing addressed an area of need in the 2014 class by getting verbal commitments from a pair of lightly recruited offensive linemen over the last couple of days.
Andre Dillard of Woodinville (Wash.) High School committed last night (first reported here) while Brandon Evers of Enterprise (Redding, Calif.) High School committed today, (first reported by Cougfan.com).
The Cougars have had success on the field this season in getting back to a bowl game for the first time since 2003, but they've had a devil of a time bolstering the offensive line in this recruiting class. One-time commit Braden Eggert flipped to Oregon, leaving Sean Krepsz as the lone lineman in the class. And WSU hasn't been seriously linked to any high-profile linemen.
That's left Leach apparently looking for under-the-radar kids who the staff thinks they can develop. Dillard is 6-foot-5 but just 240 pounds and is unrated by either Rivals or Scout; Evers, at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, isn't rated by any of the recruiting services.
To be completely frank, these are the kinds of recruits Paul Wulff staked his career at WSU on. Dillard's other offers were from Eastern Washington, Portland State and Idaho (according to 247sports and Rivals), while Evers' other offer was from San Diego State (according to Rivals).
If that worries you, I'd say there's a key difference between then and now: Mike Leach's staff hasn't exclusively recruited these kinds of guys. There's already a fair amount of offensive line depth on the roster -- Gunnar Eklund and Joe Dahl have the left side of the line locked down for two more years, while there appears to be young talent on the roster (Carlos Freeman, Riley Sorenson, Jacob Seydel, etc.) -- and that should allow WSU to take on a few projects in this class without any lasting effects.
Do you want to do this every year? Of course not. We already know what that does to a program. But the team appears to be in position to survive this for one recruiting cycle, especially considering what this staff did in turning the current offensive line into a serviceable unit.
If you're looking for another silver lining, 247sports -- the only service to rate Dillard -- rates him as a three-star prospect, owing to his potential. They like his athleticism and believe he has the frame to fill out into a Pac-12-sized lineman. If you think he needs to put on a ton of weight to get to a size where he can legitimately contribute, consider that the starting right guard this year, Matt Goetz, was 6-4 and 270. We know Leach loves big linemen, but he'll use the best five, as he did when he benched Rico Forbes in favor of Goetz this year.