Washington State Football: 7 Cougs Make Phil Steele’s Preseason All Pac-12 Conference Teams


Sept. 22, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (84) stiff arms Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Kenneth Crawley (2) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Steele put out his Preseason Pac-12 All Conference teams yesterday, and seven Cougs made the grade. The list is four teams deep and can be found here.

For Washington State fans that is going to seem like a light number, but it’s honestly close to expected and maybe even surprisingly high from my outlook. I don’t say that because I believe that any of these seven guys shouldn’t be here (I actually think at least 9 should make Phil’s postseason list, more on that below), but rather because the national perception of Wazzu isn’t a winning one. That makes it very difficult to put anybody’s name on the all-conference lists when you don’t know much about the team.

After all, the Cougars are a team that is still very young and needs to prove itself at every position, in every game, from play to play. To make these kinds of lists, consistency is paramount. Needless to say, the consistency has lacked for WSU in the recent past.

Here’s a breakdown of the Cougs who are featured on Phil Steele’s four-team all conference list:


  • WR Gabe Marks (3rd Team)
  • OL John Fullington (3rd Team)
  • WR Dominique Williams (4th Team)

Sounds about right, although it’s tough to fathom the Cougs getting two receivers on the list without Connor Halliday making it on somewhere. Especially when considering that the 3rd teamer Hogan (Stanford) doesn’t have a single guy at receiver or tight end on the list and 4th teamer Kelly (ASU) only has tight end Chris Coyle to his credit.

Look for Halliday to battle with Keith Price for 3rd or 4th team status at the end of the year if this receiver/tight ends list holds to form and Connor can avoid the game to game turnover bug. Also look for incoming JUCO transfer Vince Mayle to put his name into the discussion by season’s end with his big frame and speed. Mayle reminds me of Reggie Williams when he was at UW or Robert Woods of USC for the last few seasons and even further enhances the Halliday debate for 3rd or 4th teamer.

It’s also tough to fathom John Fullington not playing much this upcoming season, being he’s considered to be a 3rd team Guard, but Mike Leach is gonna make him work for the rights to be there. Fullington ran with the 2’s for most of the Spring, even though he has the most starting experience along the offensive line.


  • FS Deone Bucannon (2nd Team)
  • LB Darryl Monroe (3rd Team)

Bucannon is the heart of the Wazzu defense, no question, but don’t be surprised if Monroe steps up to semi-elite status by the end of the season, with a markedly improved defense around him and skills that will allow him to find the ball regularly. One guy that isn’t named but will definitely be somewhere on this list by the end of the season (assuming he stays healthy) is redshirt sophomore defensive end Xavier Cooper. The kid has Travis Long’s motor, more athletic ability and explosion and is poised to wreak havoc upon opposing backfields this upcoming season

Special Teams

  • K Andrew Furney (2nd Team)
  • KR Leon Brooks (4th Team)

That looks awesome for Washington State, especially if Leon Brooks ends up as the 4th best returner or better in the conference. We already know that Furney is solid and I would think will get closer to 25 tries in 2013 as the Cougs move the ball more often into scoring range and take points more often (he was 14-20 in 2012). Adding a return game would be a much needed boost to the offense that we don’t necessarily see coming at this point. Heck, we’re not even sure Brooks will be the one taking the kickoffs back, but if whoever does makes this much out of it, we’ll be a happy fan base.

Go Cougs!