Reports last week connecting Mike Leach and the Tennessee head coaching vacancy has resulted in a de-commitment from the Washington State Cougars recruiting class.
Alec Anderson, a three-star offensive lineman from Etiwanda, Calif., announced on Twitter early Sunday that he was backing off his WSU commitment, then just hours later announced that he was committing to UCLA and new head coach Chip Kelly.
On the surface, Anderson’s flip to UCLA should come as no surprise, however, according to the Daily Bulletin, Leach was expected to make an in-home visit to Anderson last week, but did not show up. Anderson instead hosted Clay McGuire and Ken Wilson, then reports of Leach’s interest in the Tennessee head coaching job surfaced later that evening.
“That just really bothered me,” Anderson told the Daily Bulletin. “I really want a coach that is going to be around when I get to my junior year, and I was afraid that was not going to be the case [with Leach]. He is a great guy and that’s why I committed there first, but looking down the road I thought it was better to look at my options again.”
Though Leach no longer appears to be a candidate for the UT job and is not connected to any other coaching vacancies, negative recruiting will be an issue as we approach the early signing period. Opposing recruiters will absolutely use Leach’s commitment concerns against WSU on the recruiting trail, so the timing here is less than ideal.
It should be noted, though, that several commitments in this recruiting class have been vocal on Twitter amid all the rumors, saying they were still firmly committed and confident that Leach wasn’t going anywhere. Regardless, it should still be a concern.
While Anderson’s flip stings, WSU remains in decent shape on the offensive line as Cade Beresford, Syr Riley, Nick Lewis and Jarrett Kingston all remain committed with three weeks left until the early signing period opens on December 20, which runs for 72 hours.
The 2018 class now sits at 21 commitments, which you can in its entirety over here.