For Leach, in his first full year to recruit at Washington State, finding a counter-argument to the big city draw of a place like L.A., was simple.
“Everybody talks about college towns,” Leach said. “Well this is a college town and it feels like a college town; it feels like a family like it should.”
Not only does Pullman offer a family environment, but also the safety appeal and laid back nature of the Palouse is a hit to prospective student-athletes according to Leach.
“Especially people from the city,” Leach said. “People that are tired of sitting in their cars… I mean you’d be surprised how many folks like that who come up here. It’s literally, ‘What? I can just park my car and walk across the street to all the football stuff, the library, the student union and all my classes?’”
“Especially to all those Southern California kids,” Leach said. “It’s an incredible relief to get out of the whole urban setting and all the sudden life’s simple. You have the rest of your life to live in a city.”
Washington State had nine commits this recruiting cycle from the Southern California region, including sought cornerback Daquawn Brown.
But Southern California wasn’t Leach’s only landing spot.
In collecting a class of 24 student-athletes according to WSU’s final signing day release, Leach became well-traveled, drifting about the country to different homes and high schools in an effort to better acquaint himself with the families of his recruits. Whether it was over coffee and tea, or a colossal dinner, Leach said in-home visits clearly have their perks.
“We had some great (meals),” Leach said. “The volume and quality was impressive.”
He didn’t stop there.
“(Tyler Bruggman’s mother’s lasagna) is one of the top one’s ever,” Leach said. “I only got to go to the house once. My staff got to go an additional six times. I can personally vouch it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.”
Evidentially the recipe was so good, Leach received it via fax from Mrs. Bruggman last night around midnight, though sarcasm dripped from the over-the-top head man’s lips. Leach even went as far as to say he had no nerves this afternoon because he was too busy enjoying the lasagna he had cooked up.
While Arizona, California, Texas, and even Oklahoma all have their perks, Leach had a bit of a tiff toward the travel arrangements this season.
“I’m kind of waiting for my trip to (American Samoa),” Leach bickered.
Traveling aside, Leach seems extremely satisfied with the crop of talent he’s brought in this recruiting cycle.
A few names specifically heightened Leach’s curiosity and guise, noting they may have the ability to play immediately.
“(Daquawn Brown) is a guy with great skills, very explosive,” Leach said. “Great hips for a tall guy. We needed a corner and we got one in Brown.”
Leach seemed enamored with the abundance of size and speed his coaching staff had brought in, specifically in the trenches and skill positions.
“Cody O’Connell is probably the biggest I’ve ever coached,” Leach said. “You’re talking about a guy who’s got good feet. And (Cole Madison) might be bigger than (listed). He’s bigger every time I see him.”
Leach was especially excited for the flair that had been brought in at the receiver position. He believes he may have wrangled up a couple game-changers.
“Robert (Lewis) might be the fastest player on the team now,” Leach said. “(Vince Mayle) just pancakes guys he blocks. He’s built a lot like Michael Crabtree, strong hands.”
He added Mayle is ‘absolutely’ going to petition for an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA. As of now, he has two to play two.
After the incredible transpired this morning with Bruggman, Leach was reluctant to speak much on how it all transpired, but added Bruggman is a man of his word and has been with the Cougs since the beginning. He said he and his staff never doubted he would sign.
“Tyler is a guy anybody would want to play with,” Leach said. “He has the highest GPA and test scores of all the guys in the class I believe, and the ball comes out of his hand real quick.”
Though this recruiting cycle is coming to a close, Leach said the process is ongoing; a never-ending endeavor to bring the best and brightest to the Palouse.
“Film and that stuff has already started,” Leach said. “In some cases it started weeks ago.”
Washington State has at least 18 known scholarship offers out to the class of 2014, with an additional three out to the class of 2015.