The Cougs are racking up better pre-season accolades than in any previous season in recent memory, now with three Washington State nominees up for national awards by the end of the season. All are seniors.
Deone Bucannon is up for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s best defensive back. Bucannon has been a solid and ever improving free safety in Washington State’s system and seems to make every other play. It’s not typically ideal to have a safety making the most tackles on your team, it’s nice to have a guy who can make them back there. With 106 tackles last season, he became the first Cougar in six years to record triple digit tackles (Eric Frampton had 100 stops in 2006). It was also the most tackles by any Cougar since 1996 when James Darling tallied up 136. Notice the difference in when a linebacker makes those stops vs a safety? Yeah, wins.
Mike Bowlin was put up for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s best punter while Andrew Furney is up for the Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award for the second straight season. I’ve already touched on how much damage these two specialists could do in my defined expectations.
I think Furney has the best opportunity to win his award. Bowlin will need to be more consistent then he was last season and Bucannon will need the help of his teammates in the form of 8 or more wins to get the recognition he needs to be able to win it.