The first ever early signing day for college football is in the books and Mike Leach didn’t mince words off the top of his conference call with the media.
#WSU coach Mike Leach calls this the best recruiting class he's had in his time with the Cougars.— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) December 20, 2017
Coach speak is usually just that but, in this case, Leach is probably right. Washington State had the 38th ranked recruiting class in the nation according to 247 Sports coming into today and with 19 guys officially in the fold, there’s still a chance it could get better.
There was general worry that Leach’s apparent flirtations with the Tennessee Volunteers in the days following the Apple Cup could result in some defections. Leach signed an extension with WSU earlier this week and says the buzz around his potential departure, along with that of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, wasn’t an issue.
“I didn’t find it to be much of a problem,” said Leach.
The crown jewel of this class is arguably the best quarterback Leach has recruited to WSU, Cammon Cooper from Lehi, Utah. Leach said on his call that Cooper “broke so many records I can’t keep track of them” and had high praise for his incoming southpaw signal caller.
“I think he’s the best (quarterback) in the country this year, that’s what I thought,” said Leach.
Leach also said incoming wide receiver Rodrick Fisher will likely line up outside because of his speed, saying he’s still growing. Asked if Fisher could see the field early, Leach said “we’re going to figure out our best eight receivers and put them out there in the best configuration we can”.
This is the first iteration of the early signing day for NCAA football, one that we previously thought might feature just a few players submitting their letters of intent but actually turned into the primary signing day for many schools, including WSU. Coaches had to figure out how to best recruit with the new signing day and fit in time with their current players, something Leach still isn’t sure he’s a fan of.
“On one hand it’s good to have in our case 19 guys set as far as the recruiting portion goes,” said Leach. “I think there’s a weight off there. I also know I’ve been on the road a month and I feel like we would’ve gotten more field work with our young guys had our recruiting not been elevated this time of year.
“I’ll have a better idea after February. In our case, I don’t think it went badly.”
With some spots left to fill between now and February, Leach and his staff will still be recruiting. A few verbal commits still haven’t submitted their letters of intent, most notably Colorado running back Max Borghi. The state Player of the Year was expected to sign today but didn’t after late recruiting pushes from the Stanford Cardinal, among others. What are the coaches looking for throughout the rest of the recruiting cycle?
“We’ll recruit a running back. We need one running back,” Leach said.
Whether Borghi signs with WSU remains to be seen but the Cougs might need to be ready to find another running back for their 2018 class.