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Leach Effect is in full bloom at Wazzu

The Cougars are trending upward under their new head coach. Dave Miller

Print This June 15, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

A program like Washington State doesn't ordinarily get a commitment from a player such as Tyler Bruggman. Then again, this isn't your ordinary Wazzu program anymore.

Not with Mike Leach in town.

Despite not having yet coached a game in Pullman, the former Texas Tech head coach is quickly making the Wazzu campus a destination among Pac-12 schools.

Tyler BruggmanTyler Bruggman chose to give his verbal pledge to Mike Leach and Washington State.

No, it isn't USC. But neither is any other school on the West Coast. What the Leach hire has done for the Cougars, however, is put the school back on the map. Keep in mind that this is a program that has made it to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl. And if Leach continues the momentum he has built on the recruiting trail, a return trip to the Granddaddy of Them All may not be as far-fetched as it was before the former Red Raider arrived in town.

The commitment of Bruggman was such a landmark pledge because Leach was able to go into Arizona and get Bruggman to bypass a chance to play for Todd Graham at Arizona State as well as Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, two fellow first-year head coaches at their new schools in Bruggman's home state. The Brophy Prep School (Phoenix, AZ) star also had offers from Michigan State, BYU and Arkansas.

The 6-1, 190-pound pocket passer, who is considered the top quarterback prospect from the state of Arizona, threw for almost 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns during his junior season in 2011. His early commitment can only help Leach during this cycle as he looks to bring in skilled playmakers for this offense.

Part of the reason why Leach is so coveted around coaching circles is because he has the ability to take lightly regarded recruits and make them productive in his offense. So no matter the stars attached to a recruit's name, Leach is likely to get production out of him. However, being able to bring in higher-quality players should make his job a bit easier as he transitions into the more demanding Pac-12.

Paul Wulff didn't exactly leave the cupboard bare in Pullman, as Leach has solid offensive personnel to work with in his debut season. But there's no question that Leach has more star power than Wulff. And that's going to translate into better success on the recruiting trail, which should help Wazzu move up the Pac-12 standings sooner rather than later.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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