Mike Leach targets OL in first WSU recruiting class

Feb 2, 2012, 10:55 AM | Updated: 11:02 am

By Brady Henderson

It would be natural to assume that Mike Leach’s spread offense would lead the coach to make quarterbacks and receivers his top priority in recruiting.

His first recruiting class at Washington State, which was completed Wednesday with the addition of 28 players, suggests otherwise.

Leach and the Cougars received letters of intent from seven offensive linemen, a total that makes up a quarter of their total signees. That wasn’t by accident.

“This is a little-know fact — and part of it is because our quarterbacks have gotten tremendous stats over the years, we’ve got two marquee receivers in the NFL with Wes Welker and Michael Crabtree — but the single position we have the most guys in the NFL is offensive line. It’s probably the position I cherish the most because I coached offensive line for 10 years,” Leach told “The Kevin Calabro Show” on Wednesday.

“Offensive line and defensive line is why they have football to begin with, so you can see huge people collide with others of various shapes and sizes.”

According to ESPN.com, three of Texas Tech’s 13 NFL players are offensive linemen. The most notable is San Diego’s Louis Vasquez, a guard who has started in each of his three NFL seasons.

Leach said offensive and defensive line were top priorities, as was establishing a presence in southern California and the Hawaiian and Samoan islands. Washington State will lose at least two starters to graduation. A third, starting right tackle Wade Jacobson, is applying for a medical redshirt.

The offensive linemen who signed with Washington State on Wednesday include guards Denzel Dotson (Glendale, Ariz.), Alex Mitchell (Portland, Ore.) and Niu Sale (Wilmington, Calif.) and tackles Barrie Salmonson (Nooksack Valley HS), Samuel Flor (O’Dea HS), Pierson Villarrubia (Mandeville, La.) and Eduardo Middleton (Oceanside, Calif.).

The highest rated of that bunch are Mitchell and Dotson. Mitchell is ranked by Rivals.com as the 16th-best guard prospect in the country. The same site ranks Dotson 46th.

Here’s video that includes Mitchell doing some pass-blocking drills:

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