We thought WSU put the finishing touches on its 2014 recruiting class months ago, but that apparently isn't the case. The Cougars added a huge piece on Saturday, with 4-star linebacker Chandler Leniu signing with Washington State, according to Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch ($).
According to Ransford, Leniu signed with WSU after signing with California in February. Because he already signed a letter of intent, he likely inked a financial aid agreement with WSU. Complete details of the last-minute switch aren't out, so we'll have to wait for confirmation on whether Leniu will be eligible this season. It likely doesn't make much of a difference as with WSU's depth at linebacker, there is a good chance Leniu will redshirt next season regardless.Update: According to Bruce Feldman, Cal granted Leniu his release and he will be eligible immediately.
If you remember back to the recruiting cycle, Leniu committed to WSU fairly early in the process. He remained solid for much of the season, before starting to waver late in the year. Proximity to home became a big factor and the idea of playing close to home ultimately proved to be the winning factor on signing day with Leniu flipping to Cal. At some point, something apparently changed his decision and he will now be headed to Pullman. Grades often play a factor in late switches like this. Without having full details, one could speculate that Leniu didn't qualify at Cal, but met the requirements at WSU so he made the switch. Cornerback Ray Ford was in a similar situation a couple of years ago and wound up in Pullman briefly after not qualifying at Cal. We'll update with more information as it comes available.
On the field, this has the potential to be a major coup for WSU. Leniu was highly-rated by the recruiting services and was one of the top middle linebackers in the country. He is a very physical player who plays downhill yet has the instincts to read and react quickly. In a lot of ways, he is a similar player to current WSU middle linebacker Darryl Monroe.