FROM PULLMAN -- Here's more of what Washington State coach Mike Leach had to say after WSU signed 24 players to letters of intent. Read on.
(On getting full year to recruit) “Typically classes are a year-and-a-half in the making,” he said. “It was a little over a year on this one which was key. I thought our staff did a tremendous job. We got quality guys, they’re good in the classroom for the most part as well as fit our needs. We needed offensive linemen and defensive linemen and I thought we did a good job of doing that. With defensive linemen we wanted to get some speed and I thought that turned out for us also.”
(On what position Robert Lewis will play) “He returns kicks, he returns punts, he’s played safety, which I don’t think necessarily he’s a safety. Certainly he has the ability to play in the secondary, he can play slot receiver, he can play running back. We just gotta get him in shape, put a little weight on him and see where’s the best place for him. He’s played running back more than anything but he does kind of look like a classical wide receiver, kinda a DeSeanJackson type guy but really quick, really fast."
(On Tyler Bruggman’s hesitation) “I don’t know what Arizona State did. All I know is at midnight I got a lasagna recipe from Mrs. Bruggman which I can personally vouch is one of the best I’ve ever had. ... Tyler was of course sporting the crimson and gray as well as a crimson and gray tie. As a person who doesn’t exactly embrace wearing ties… if a guy’s going to wear a tie somewhere he means business. We’re excited to have Tyler and couldn’t be any happier to have him on board."
(What about Bruggman made staff want to go after him?) “First of all he’s a real self-starter guy, he’s a really intelligent guy. Might have the highest GPA and test score combination on the team although we do have some high ones. Really just the leadership quality and the way he commands his team. The ball comes off his hands efficiently. Really the most important thing a quarterback does is command an offense, which I think he does a good job of."
“I think just the fact that he’s on our roster helps because Tyler’s a guy that anybody would be excited to play with. I think that he’s kind of a presence guy. He’s one of the guys who committed to us early. What impact it had as far as him being one of our commitments is kind of hard for me to gauge.”
(Who cooked you the best meal?) “It’s be hers, yup it sure would. And I’ll tell you this, that’s impressive because we’ve had some great ones. We had some great ones. Volume, quality I thought was impressive. I’ve had some great ones over the years but hers was one of the top ones ever and I only get to go to the house once but our staff gets to go over six times and that was reinforced each time."
(On recruiting Samoa) “It’s kind of a combination of everything. You look at film. There’s some contacts around Washington certainly with the Samoan Islands, a lot of phonework, a lot of various relatives that are familiar with what we’re doing here and things like that. Film can be an adventure but I’ll tell you when ya get it its impressive. If you see a guy doing things out there -- I mean even their DBs are pretty big people. The big guys are even bigger sometimes.”
(Did you get to make recruiting trip out there?) “I’m kind of waiting for my trip over there. Film, phone and other coaches make trips over there but I haven’t."
(On signing anyone else) "We’re pretty well full. With these new rules I think it’s going to be kind of an adventure, kind of a scramble, but we’re fortunate to pretty much have our entire class."
(How does this class identify needs?) “I think it did good. You figure we needed a cornerback, Daquawn Brown, we got a tall, quick guy. As far as d-linemen, we got an inside guy with Daniel Ekuale. Lyman Faoliu, who’s on campus now and has three to play two, and then Paulo Lepua who can play inside or outside is just a real versatile guy. Gerald Sterling, strong, physical, can dunk a basketball. Emmitt Su’a is a d-end guy I would think, quick long arms.
"Offensive line, first of all we didn’t have very many bodies. We played last year with six guys that averaged about 270 so we needed numbers as well as quality. Carlos Freeman who is in one of the best wrestling states in the world is one of the favorites to win the heavyweight championship, so he’s pretty athletic and mean on top of being a good o-linemen. And then Matt Meyer, typically these guys that play basketball that are offensive linemen go to the middle of the key and stand there with their hands up. That’s not really what he does. He’ll get you an MVP from time to time and scored 18 points in the finals from what I understand, real athletic. And then of course Cody O’Connell as far as height and weight is the biggest lineman I’ve ever coached. I’ve had some that are heavier but not the combination of that height cause you’re talking about a guy that’s got good feet that has a pretty flat stomach. That’s impressive. Jacob Seydel, B.J. Salmonson we got the offseason to work with him and get him in shape. Jacob Seydel did a really good job with a good Riverside Community College team and then he’s three to play two as well so we got some time to work with him. He’s a qualifier so he was a smart guy to begin with. Riley Sorenson, a very big body especially for a freshman so I think all those guys combined — we needed numbers and quality and I thought we got both."
(On recruiting the west coast) “We definitely focused on the west coast. Our priorities really are Washington and then in particular southern California and then in between based on the pac-12 footprint in general, but then also context of people we have connections with that reach out to us, things like that. We’ll recruit anywhere but they have to have particular interest to come here, like Gerald Sterling for example.”
(On how the budget worked out) “I have no idea. We didn’t have trouble getting anywhere or getting anyone up here so it worked out so far so good.”
(On which freshmen might play next season) “It’s always tough to predict. It’s the guys that adjust the quickest. I think the guys that don’t make too much out of it and can get their abilities on the field quickly without too much anxiety as far as adjusting to college and then just go out there and do the best you can and don’t get too high or too low, keep it consistent, keep battling away. I think some will. We played 15 freshmen last year and I’m sure some of the class this year is going to contribute.”
(On where Cole Madison fits in) “Cole can play tight end, he can play d-line and he can play o-line. Cole’s kind of a moving target because last time I saw him he was about 20 pounds heavier than the time I saw him before, so we’ll see. Might be taller, too.”
(On how Vince Mayle compares to past receivers) “He’s big and physical like Crabtree is kind of. If you look at him he’s built a lot like Michael Crabtree. Of course he’s got his own style. Big hands, sees the field well, one of those guys that if somebody hits him he can shake people off of him. Great worker, really committed to football. The thing obviously is catching the ball and running through people is incredibly impressive but you see the pride he takes in blocking. He’ll just run people right off the screen if he doesn’t put them on their back first.”
(On whether some JC guys are ready to play now) “You never know. But the JC guys in general you bring in and expect them to contribute early. I think two good candidates. But I think all the JC guys we have some expectations on them but you know in most cases they have a little wiggle room as far as three to play two. Vince of course doesn’t but we do think Vince just has to keep doing what he’s doing and he can help us.”
(More on Bruggman wavering) “Tyler’s been solid from the beginning. High integrity kid, person of his word. No, shoot, if I was still up I could have been eating lasagna while I was picking up the fax but it didn’t quite work out that way because I eat it at night rather than in the morning but you can fry it up in the morning from what I understand.”
(On the process of receiving letters) “They’re kind of flying in pretty quick. You get these papers in pretty quick, you’re getting papers and talking to guys on the phone.”
“We were kind of tending to all of them so between when his came in, his came in a little later but at that point we’re still waiting on the Samoan ones to come in. It’s a pretty active period so you address the ones that are in and along came Tyler’s.”
(On whether he can tell right away if a recruit wants to come to WSU) “I need to think about that. That’s not a bad approach. Somebody asked me something about the budget which I don’t have much to do with. The biggest thing in Pullman is that people have heard of it but they haven’t been here so you need to get them here so they can see it. Without exception, when they come here they like it. Certainly there’s a pickup appeal to the thing. but I’ll tell you, where our reception has been really good as well, I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like it once they come here, because everybody talks about college towns, this is a college town and it feels like a college town. It feels like a family in the way college towns do. But the other thing is especially people from the city and I’m not just talking about inner-city deals where there’s a certain amount of distractions and things, I’m talking just people that are tired of sitting in their car and things like that. You’d be surprised how many folks like that come up here. Parents, kids, everybody saying, 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? And especially those southern California kids, it’s an incredible relief to get out of the whole urban setting and all of a sudden life’s simple because you’ve got the rest of your life to live in a city and cities are fine but the thing is, what makes college special and magical and all that is the opportunity to spend time with students without the aggravation of sitting in traffic, whether it be crime or poverty or whatever the case may be. This place has incredible appeal as far as that goes. The other thing is it’s a unique setting and the opportunity to come experience something that you haven’t been part of certainly is appealing to some of the people on this list."
(Did the construction of the operations building help?) “I think it’s important. I think it’s very important because we’re about to have the best football complex in the Pac-12 and one thing that I do think helped recruiting is digging a hole. Once there’s a hole in the ground there’s enough people asking what you’re going to fill it up with that it certainly gives you a lot of opportunity to talk about it and illustrate your point and it helps illustrate your vision. Even though it’s just a hole, I mean, well why there a hole there? Well this is going to be there. Oh really? What’s this? It’s going to fit there how? So pretty soon everybody starts working it out in their mind. I think it was beneficial.”
(Any grayshirts or redshirts?) “No, not that I can think of. There might be but it’d take me some time to think at this point. Nothing that comes to mind immediately.”
(Are there any areas you wish you’d recruited better?) “Really all of them when you get down to that. This isn’t really a business of satisfaction. There’s no sitting under the tree and drinking lemonade on this deal. You’re always looking for more, better and what you could have improved on. But I think it’s pretty comprehensive.”
(Was anyone concerned by the Marquess Wilson situation?) “I don’t think it had any affect. If anything I think it was positive, because I think people saw it for what it was and both reviews vindicated our staff to the point where I almost blushed.”
(On the Desoto High School coach saying WSU isn't welcome there anymore, and is that just a necessary evil?) “It certainly does. There was a running back at that school, I can’t remember where he ended up but I think that pretty well speaks for anything he might have had to say.”
(Was Riley Sorenson's commitment out of nowhere?) “Not entirely. He came up here originally when River Cracraft was up here. I guess you could make the argument we’ve been on him longer, as far as duration, longer than most people. Of course he hit kind of a holding pattern, committed, changed his mind and we’re glad to have him. Yeah, there were some turns in the road but it wasn’t like a whole bunch of them. We had a kind of contact and rapport with him for quite some time.”
(How happy are you with this class?) “Real happy doesn’t exist. Pretty happy, yeah. I think it went well. I think the efforts of our staff were key. I also think as I mentioned before, the atmosphere that exists with our team and our players and their efforts to create a great environment here for our recruits was instrumental too.”