Happy New Year everybody!
Recruiting heats back up in 3 days, with “dead period” coming to a close and coaches heading back out on the trail to secure their current verbals and hopefully a few more interested prospects to fill out their recruiting boards. We’ve analyzed most of the current verbals to this point and begin 2013 with a look at the defensive backs coming into the program.
Defensive Backs: The Cougars have simply not been a good defensive team over the past several years, due in large part to below average (in the Pac-12) athletes in the defensive backfield year in and year out. Again in 2012, this group had problems containing the explosive receiving corps of the Pac, even with marked improvement across the board. So this area has to be one of major concern for the coaching staff.
So far it hasn’t been a terrible haul of verbals with four committing. However we know they are not done looking and this list could be added to with 2 to 3 more names before signing day. As it is there is some excitement with these guys coming in, especially the two at corner.
- Daquawn Brown is a 6’0″ 170 lbs, 3-star CB out of Dorsey High in L.A., who has a chance to step in immediately and be an impact player. WSU needs a full time cornerback with better athleticism and size than what they currently possess, at least on one side of the field. Brown has that type of skill set and also has the ability to stay on top of a receiver. Since you can’t teach size and WSU’s best cornerback from 2012 graduated (Daniel Simmons), if Brown can show early that he can keep consistent contact with a receiver, look for him to be a starting candidate for opening day.
- Markell Sanders from Eastside Catholic in Bellevue, WA is an even bigger CB. At 6’1″ 190 Sanders may have risen to 3-star status in his senior season as a starter at corner with his team going 13-1 and finishing 2nd in the state. However a shoulder injury 2 games into the season promptly ended his high school football days. He is expected to make a full recovery but didn’t want to risk his college career by playing before it was ready. Markell played all over the field his junior season, kind of like a Rover. Because of his size it’s easy to see him as a Nickel defender in the slot or an extra box defender like Casey Locker with a single FS over the top. If he improves him man to man though he’s a big time candidate as a starting CB in 2-3 years.
- Myron Turner is a 2-star player that Leach took a flyer on. He is out of DeSoto, TX and is a good athlete with good length and instincts. DeSoto has produced at least five BCS level athletes in the defensive backfield in the past 2 years, including Turner. However Turner only has 1 season of true playing experience at the position and therefore is somewhat of a project athlete for DC Mike Breske, who also doubles as D-backs coach.
- Darius Lemora is another 2-star prospect out of Port Arthur, TX. He’s a little bit bigger with a 6’0″ 185 lbs frame and has good range and another hybrid player that could eventually come up in the box as an 8th defender. Very unlike the CB position, the Cougs have a senior laden safety position with good talent coming back for ’13. It’s probable that these other two guys (Turner, Lemora) will be redshirting, giving them a great opportunity to mature, improve their awareness as the last level of defense and beef up to Pac-12 level players at this position.