Happy Post-Signing Day Cougs, as we hope all is well with you and yours. Quite a day yesterday, hmmm? The Cougs ended up with 27 commits from yesterday, with 24 of them announced as actually signing their letters of intent, and overall it was a pretty good day as Mike Leach reeled in the #39 ranked class in the country per Scout.com. Not exactly the highest rated class to walk the earth, but on paper anyway it's the best rated WSU group to sign on the dotted line since 2004, when the Cougs finished with the #21 ranked class coming off the 2003 Holiday Bowl win and a 30-8 record from 2001-2003. That 2004 class, btw, included the likes of Michael Bumpus, Jerome Harrison, Tyron Brackenridge, Jed Collins, Dan Rowlands, etc.....as well as the now-infamous Randy Estes and JT Diederichs, two highly touted guys who helped pump up the recruiting rankings but never played a down of football in Pullman! So you just never know.
I think overall I am personally happy with what looks to be a good haul of players where there are some weaknesses on the current roster. In particular, of course, the offensive line saw six new additions, and some good size in the group as well. As a group, they average 6-5 1/2, 300 lbs collectively, and that seems to fit in how Leach likes the good-sized o-linemen. There were five d-linemen as well, and that is a good number any way you cut it.
However it's not all great news, if you want to know the truth. As Sutra asked in comments, where are all the corners in this class who look ready to play? After all the DB's weren't exactly stellar last year, particularly out on the edge, so one hope was that they would land some instant impact-type DB's who could be ready to go this fall. But there were just three cornerback commits yesterday, and two of them haven't sent in their LOI's yet in Markell Sanders and Marcellus Pippins. But per Cougfan, it looks like Sanders and Pippins will be headed for the greyshirt route, meaning they won't even be in the program until January of 2014. So, it doesn't appear immediate help is on the way this year for the cornerback position!
I found that pic of Russell Wilson on Twitter today, as Darren Rovell tweeted it out as a cold-shower reminder before people get too jacked-n-pumped on recruiting rankings. Russell Wilson, the guy people just can't stop talking about and thinking about around the great NW, was a 2-star unknown from Virginia. So again, you just never know what's going to happen. Signing them is one thing, and it's a very big, important step in rebuilding your program or maintaining your excellence if you are already at or near the top of the mountain. But it's always been, and always will be, all about what happens once they step foot on campus and begin their own personal journey as they grow from boys to men.
Much like many of you, I don't want to get too high or too low on recruiting rankings. But I think it's pretty fair to say that they are pretty accurate at the very high end of all the analysis. I mean you look at the consensus top 10 teams and their rankings from yesterday, teams like Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, LSU, etc, and there is at least one clear truth out there - the best teams usually sign the best players available! Sure, there are the Russell Wilson's or even locally, the Marcus Trufant's, Rien Long's and Will Derting's of the world, you know, the unheralded two-star types who rise above it all. But the best teams traditionally sign the best high school hotshots, year in and year out. Sure, we can pick out the outliers ourselves and try and shoot down the star "hype" and all that, but that's just confirmation bias more than anything else, know what I mean?
That said, Mike Bellotti was on ESPN radio yesterday with Colin Cowherd, and he touched on a few of those things in regards to getting TOO excited over recruiting rankings. I would HIGHLY recommend you take 5+ minutes out of your day today and give it a listen. Bellotti spells it out pretty well about not just the so-called "flips" we saw yesterday by some high-rated recruits and why that happens, but also the traps and pitfalls of the 5-star types and what they are about to face as they go on to the next level. I know Bellotti isn't exactly Mr. Popular around the NW schools, but it is a very good listen about what signing day is really all about.
For reactions-n-such around the web on the Cougs, let's check out some links, shall we?