Ioane Gauta was a massive loss, but the returning line corp is equally massive. Xavier Cooper and Toni Pole lead a group of big guys that has become famous in their anonymity. We don’t hear their names as often, but that is mainly due to them taking up two or three blockers allowing the linebackers to claim glory. Mike Leach and Mike Breske have set these guys on edge, and they are hungry, ready to light up Pac-12 QBs and tailbacks in ways yet unknown.
Ngalu Tapa has seen a rocky path, including time in a juvenile correction facility. Coach Leach holds no quarter for certain actions, but looked beyond the single incident, and determined that this honor student belonged in Pullman. Most importantly, for those still concerned, Tapa has taken responsibility for his previous trouble and is ready to move on. No excuses, just apologies.
Tapa’s High School teammate Calvin Green is already in Pullman, as an early enrollee. This type of pipeline helps with recruiting, but also with transition to Pullman.
What Coug fans should be excited for is the space he will take up wherever he appears on the field, which could easily be this coming fall. His high school coach called him unblockable and possibly the top defensive lineman he has ever seen. He had previously entertained interest from the entirity of the Pac-12 and a good chunk of the SEC. Tapa may, in reality, be a true blue chip player, ready to annihilate offensive lines beginning in Seattle come August.