Mike Leach has coached at all levels, recruited all levels – and, for good measure, the perpetually quotable, offensive-minded head coach also has a law degree and a well-known affinity for all things pirates.
Leach, Mississippi State’s coach seeking to help his Bulldogs rebound this week after a road-loss at LSU last weekend, now is weighing in on the current world of college football recruiting – and particularly the expenditures associated with hosting coveted prospects for on-campus visits.
Earlier this month, in a detailed report that followed a Freedom of Information Act request from The Athletic, it was revealed that the University of Texas had lavished hundreds of thousands of dollars on prospective student-athletes and specifically one Arch Manning, the consensus five-star quarterback and scion of the famed Manning Football Family.
“I read that article, too,” Leach told Neil Price, an East Tennessee native and head of Mississippi State’s broadcasting department, Thursday during Leach’s weekly coach’s show. “I have a little bit of a hard time believing it. I mean, I don’t know what they (the Texas Longhorns) would have spent all that money on.”
The irrepressible Leach hardly was finished. He pointedly took aim at Texas’s spending on hotel rooms for its recruiting.
For what it’s worth, Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns’ 2023 recruiting class currently is the nation’s consensus No. 2 verbal recruiting haul.
“Have you ever been to or head of (hotel) rooms that can eat up that much of $280,000,” Leach asked on his show, as first chronicled by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “Let’s make [the rooms] really expensive; there’s eight rooms, hypothetically. Let’s make those rooms $3,000 apiece. Right there you still haven’t even dented it.”
Per Leach’s math, if Texas spent $3,000 per room per recruit, and the Horns officially hosted eight prospects for the NCAA-allowed two-night stay, that’s still only $48,000 for a weekend of visits.
Where, then, the remaining $232,000?
“I think this is embellished,” Leach said. “But, I would be curious if someone managed to be creative enough to find a way to spend that much money in that period of time on that number of people.
“I’d be curious exactly how it was done and what they did. I have some serious, serious, serious doubts about this.”
Leach’s Bulldogs (2-1) host MAC-program Bowling Green Saturday while Texas visits longtime rival Texas Tech in what could prove to be perhaps the two in-state programs’ final conference clash.