Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) celebrates with teammates after blocking a Colorado State Rams punt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to 2014 Washington State faithful and all ye who enter All Coug’d Up! The new year is upon us (thankfully) and we’re in need of some good spirits around here, so let’s talk about some of my bold predictions for our Cougs in 2014! If even half of these come true we’d be looking at a VERY FUN 2014 SEASON. I have NO inside information, just a whole lotta of predictions.
1: Despite rampant reports to the contrary, 4-star MLB Chandler Leniu stands with Washington State on signing day. Much maligned Cougar fallout DT Marcus Griffin recommits Crimson and CB Rashead Johnson is left without a spot at USC, sending him WSU’s way as well. Wouldn’t OL Kaleb McGary put frosting on THAT cake!? Ok, that might be too much to ask… even for three of them. At least two of these guys are Cougars on signing day, which would still be a pretty good haul. Smart money’s on McGary and Leniu…
2: Leach continues to get more explosive freshmen and sophomores involved as we start up Spring ball and some spots are in jeopardy. In particular, Robert Lewis, Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and Tyler Bruggman jump up the depth chart while Theron West and John Thompson continue to impress. By sometime shortly after Spring ball, we see at least three offensive players with game experience transfer out of the Washington State program.
3: Connor Halliday has already tied Ryan Leaf at 34 touchdowns in a single season. His 2014 encore season as full-time starter, he flirts with the NCAA record and throws for 54 touchdowns to lead the nation! He also keeps his interceptions relatively low, only tossing 13 to cap the greatest WSU QB season of all-time.
4: Squally Canada bursts onto the scene and much like River Cracraft did in 2013, becomes a go-to offensive freshman as the 3rd running back near the end of the season. Before that though, he plays a key part in special teams, returning and covering kickoffs. He brings back the first kickoff return touchdown in forever at some point in the season.
5: LB Peyton Pelluer, OT Cody O’Connell, OL Carlos Freeman, S Darius Lemora and LB Greg Hoyd all crack the starting lineup by game 3 as freshmen. IF LB Chandler Leniu and/or CB Rashead Johnson sign with WSU, they join that group. And of course kicker Tristan Vizcaino adds to that list as a place kicker and possible punter while Squally Canada gets the opening day start at KR.