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How successful was Mike Leach's first recruiting class?

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Part 1 looks at the defense

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Four years ago, Mike Leach took the job at Washington State University and had just a few weeks to put to together a recruiting class. Definitely not an easy task for a new coach taking the reigns of a moribund program under Paul Wulff.

I thought it would be fun to see how this class has turned out going into it's fourth year.Today in part one, we will take a look at the defensive recruits from that year and how they fared.

LB Jeremiah Allison: All Pac-12 honorable mention as a junior and now the senior leader of the defense.

DT Robert Barber: The redshirt junior was slowed by a knee injury his freshman year but is currently listed as the backup nose tackle going into the fall.

CB David Bucannon: The brother of Cougar legend Deone is currently listed as the backup cornerback to Charleston White. The redshirt junior had spent most of the previous three years at safety.

S Feddie Davey: Played special teams for two years before transferring to Florida Atlantic.

CB Rahmel Dockery: Left the Cougars after one season to play wide receiver at Oregon State.

LB Keith Ewing: Mike Leach's first verbal commit left the program after one season.

DT Ioane Guata: JUCO transfer was a starting nose tackle for the Cougars for every game of his two year career. Was a rock-solid defender who recorded 16.5 tackles for loss while in Pullman.

CB Alex Jackson: Spent two years at WSU before transferring to Santa Monica CC to play wide receiver.

LB Kache Palacio: Senior poised for a big season after leading the team in sacks last season.

LB Kahlil Pettway: Had to retire from football after his freshman year due to injuries.

S Taylor Taliulu: Originally a Wulff recruit who Leach kept on board, Taliulu has started a lot of games going into his senior year and remains atop the depth chart.

LB Jacob Tuivaiave: Failed to qualify and went the Junior College route.

DL Destiny Vaeao: Comes into his senior season as WSU's top defensive lineman.

LB Justin Sagote: Late JUCO signee ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in tackles his senior year.

What we end up with is five quality starters, one marginal starter and two backups. We also have five players lost to attrition.

How would you guys rate Leach's first class on the defensive side of the ball? Next week we take a look at the offensive class of 2012.

*****

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