WENATCHEE — Since his hiring in November, Mike Leach has brought the excitement back to Washington State football, along with his high-octane pass-happy offense.
In 2013, Leach’s presumptive second season on the Palouse, he and the Cougars will welcome Wenatchee offensive tackle Cody O’Connell in the hopes that the 6-foot-8, 350-pound rising senior can be an anchor of the front five.
O’Connell committed to the Cougars in early May while attending a junior day on campus in Pullman.
“It was really unexpected,” said O’Connell, who also had scholarship offers from Idaho and Wyoming. “It feels great to know that I’m going to keep being able to play the sport I love.”
O’Connell said he enjoyed the small-town feel of Pullman.
“I really like the campus size, the coaches and the style of play,” he said. “They’re going to get up to the line quick and get stuff done.”
O’Connell said that on the day he was offered the scholarship, he got to sit down with Leach, and reports that the brash coach is “pretty cool.”
Wenatchee head coach Scott Devereaux said that O’Connell fits what the Cougars are looking for in their offensive system.
“The way their offensive line coach put it to me is that they need their tackles to be battleships,” Devereaux said. “Their offense is built so much on reads and getting the ball out quick that they need linemen that people can’t run around. Not many people are going to run around Cody when his arms are out in front of him.”
O’Connell was All-Big Nine 4A second team as a junior in 2011, and will look to build on that success as a senior.
The Panthers are in their second week of spring practice, which O’Connell said is going well.
“We’re looking pretty good,” he said. “Some of the guys are a little rusty, but when we get going out there you can feel the vibe.”
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