Road win will attract new recuits

Freshman+cornerback+Daqwuan+Brown+attempts+to+tackle+a+USC+defender+during+last+weekend%E2%80%99s+game+at+the+Los+Angeles+Coliseum%2C+Saturday%2C+Sept.+7.
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Road win will attract new recuits

Freshman cornerback Daqwuan Brown attempts to tackle a USC defender during last weekend’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Saturday, Sept. 7.

Freshman cornerback Daqwuan Brown attempts to tackle a USC defender during last weekend’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Saturday, Sept. 7.

Freshman cornerback Daqwuan Brown attempts to tackle a USC defender during last weekend’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Saturday, Sept. 7.

Freshman cornerback Daqwuan Brown attempts to tackle a USC defender during last weekend’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Saturday, Sept. 7.

By Evan Baron, Evergreen columnist

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The 10-7 victory the Cougar football team had against USC Saturday was more than just a big step for the program. It was a big step for the game of recruiting.

Besides fans, several of the best high school football players on the West Coast for the 2014 and 2015 recruiting class were in attendance on Saturday night to witness the Cougars’ upset victory over the Trojans.

According to recruitingnation.com, both the No.1 safety in the entire country for the 2014 recruiting class, John “Juju” Smith, and the No. 2 cornerback in the 2014 recruiting class, Adoree’ Jackson, were in attendance. Both players have been in contact with WSU throughout the year and each hold a scholarship offer from the university as well. This victory over USC could have these two players rethinking their options about which school to play for.

To see the No. 25 team in the country lose at home to a team that went 3-9 last season and hearing chants about firing the head coach was not an experience most of these recruits expected.

“It was kind of a letdown,” an in-state ESPN 300 recruit who wished to remain anonymous said to sbnation.com. “It’s really thrown me off of them [USC].”

The site “WE ARE SC” reported that after the loss to WSU, four-star defensive lineman Tashon Smallwood decided to decommit from the Trojans. Smallwood is an ESPN 300 recruit and has a scholarship offer from WSU.

“The overwhelming reaction [from the recruits in attendance] was that there was not a lot of positivity taken from that loss,” ESPN.com West Coast Recruiting Coordinator Erik Mckinney said in a video on recruitingnation.com.

Recruits losing interest in playing for USC opens the door for Washington State to grab these high-profile recruits.

“Washington State gets a big recruiting win from this [victory],” Mckinney said.

Stanley Norman, four-star cornerback and No. 5 cornerback in the 2015 recruiting class, was impressed by the Cougars’ performance on Saturday, McKinney said. Norman was also intrigued by the fact that WSU had the confidence in true freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown to match up against the All-American wide receiver, Marqise Lee, said Mckinney. WSU has offered Norman a scholarship.

Brown starting shows that the WSU coaching staff has faith in playing true freshmen, which can catch the eyes of recruits that want to play their first year in college and not sit on the bench.

This victory means the Cougars are back in business. The fact that the Cougars traveled down to Los Angeles to play in a tough USC environment and come out with a victory over a historic football program can persuade recruits to look at WSU seriously.

In only his second year of coaching at WSU, Mike Leach is on the verge of building something special in the Palouse, which recruits will want to be a part of.

The win at USC helps Leach create a stronger pitch to these recruits by saying WSU has the ability to compete with the top programs in the Pac-12 conference. That memory of winning only three games last season can be erased.

This game was nationally televised, which means football recruits on the East Coast and in the South had the opportunity to see what WSU has to offer. Leach made his mark on the other side of the country already by receiving two verbal commitments from the state of Florida for the 2014 recruiting class: two-star quarterback Peyton Bender and three-star wide receiver Keith Harrington. More exposure from winning games on national television can help land talent from all over the country.

This win was huge for WSU in the gruesome battle of recruiting, and if they can continue to win against the top teams in the Pac-12, especially on national television, it’ll increase their chances of landing four or five star recruits.