Washington State head coach Mike Leach said he wasn’t worried Wednesday morning when Phoenix’s Tyler Bruggman didn’t fax in his letter of intent right away.
Ranked by Scout.com as the nation’s 25th-best passer, WSU’s most sought-after recruit reportedly was thinking about attending his parents’ alma mater, Arizona State, instead.
Little to ASU’s knowledge, the author of the Fat Little Girlfriends Cookbook had already bonded with Bruggman’s chef. Leach hinted Wednesday it made the difference.
“I don’t know what Arizona State did,” Leach said coyly. “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.”
ASU head coach Todd Graham’s late push for the four-star quarterback came after Josh Dobbs, an incoming recruit, switched his verbal commitment and signed with Tennessee.
Such is the nature of national letter of intent day. The immense pressure on 17- and 18-year-old high school athletes to make life-altering decisions under intense scrutiny from unhinged fan bases and national media outlets can make even those who seem as cool as Russell Wilson waver.
Bruggman’s knees momentarily buckled early in the day when he abruptly left his signing day party. However, he made his commitment to WSU official a couple hours later.
Leach said he was focused on the other letters faxed in throughout the morning and was never caught up with his newest signalcaller’s indecision.
“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,” Leach quipped.
In Bruggman, the Cougars receive a heralded recruit capable of challenging redshirt junior Connor Halliday and redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca for playing time. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, the Brophy College Prep product has everything Leach values in a quarterback.
“First of all, he’s a real self-starter guy. He’s a really intelligent guy. Really just the leadership quality and the way he commands his team,” Leach said. “The most important thing a quarterback does is command an offense, which I think he does a good job of.”
Bruggman heads a list of 24 recruits who committed during Leach’s first full recruiting cycle. Scout.com ranks the Cougars’ class 39th in the country and 10th in the Pac-12, though they sit just one spot behind Oregon State.
The school’s upcoming $60 million football-only operations facility in Martin Stadium’s west end zone, on which construction crews broke ground last week, helped Leach to entice recruits away from other major universities. It also offered him a chance to preach as only he can.
“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,” he said. “Even though it’s just a hole, I mean, well, why is there a hole 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.”
Beneficial enough for WSU to land its most-touted recruiting class in three years.
Impressive, considering WSU managed three wins and narrowly escaped a program-threatening abuse allegation from its best player.
“I don’t think it had any affect,” Leach retorted when a reporter asked if Marquess Wilson’s abuse allegations hurt recruiting efforts. “If anything, I think it was positive, because I think people saw it for what it was. Both reviews vindicated our staff to the point where I almost blushed.”
Go here for WSU’s full commitment list.
Loftus Kicked Off Team, Brooks’ Future in Doubt:
Drew Loftus, the former walk-on wide receiver who instantly became a Fulmer Cup legend when he tried to steal two bottles of tequila by shoving them down his pants, was dismissed from the team earlier this week.
Leach said Wednesday he hasn’t decided the fate of punt returner/running back Leon Brooks. The senior was pulled over by a Whitman County Sheriff last week and charged with a DUI.