Spring football practices will start up in just under three weeks, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about which youngsters you might be thinking about in terms of production over the month leading to the WSU Spring Game. These are also top candidates to see the field come Fall. The list includes any true and redshirt freshmen that are available for Spring workouts and was not easy to whittle down because we continue to be excited about so many.
1: WR Sebastian LaRue: This kid is as electric a prospect as you will find in the Pac-12 Conference. He comes via Texas A&M a year after the Cougs lost him to College Station a few weeks before Signing Day, but all that is irrelevant now as Leach got one of the kids that can really change the way the Cougs are able to approach every phase of not just offense but possibly also special teams. It would be a huge bonus to obtain his services in the Fall if the NCAA grants his waiver, but for now that’s not important. Just seeing LaRue on the field seems like it will be a pipe-dream come true.
2: OT Cody O’Connell: There were a few linemen I could’ve gone with here, but O’Connell’s frame is too hard to ignore. The Cougs are in really bad need of a big performance at right tackle after losing the entire right side to graduation. At 6’8, 345 lbs the redshirt freshman will be the biggest kid the Cougars have on the field this Spring. How can he not be one of the top players to watch?
3: CB Charleston White: This Spring is going to be White’s opportunity to shine and prove that he can at least be a rotation player for the Cougar secondary, similar to Daquawn Brown last season. With a bevy of talented corners set to arrive later this Summer, White really needs to show a wealth of consistency to give himself a shot. After his Fall work in 2013 it would be surprising to not see him as the No. 1 field corner to start the Spring season, but how quickly he can put a strangle-hold on that spot may determine his future fate.
4: S Darius Lemora: If you’re looking for a kid who can hit like Casey Locker did but still be able to cover, Lemora just might be the guy for the job. He had a beat on the free safety position last season and was all set to get a whole lotta playing time against Southern Utah at home, but he got hurt and never could recover enough to justify burning the redshirt. He can play either position but would really help himself and his teammates tremendously if he can step up as the strong safety where Deone vacated.
5: QB Tyler Bruggman: Let’s forget about this ‘starting’ notion, shall we? Unless there is a significant injury to Connor Halliday at some point, Bruggman will be the backup, and for good reason. Anybody that says differently doesn’t know a thing about football at the Pac-12 college level. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t watch him though. I’m sure Leach will also try and get him as much early experience as possible once the season rolls around, but for now one highly regarded quarterback will be taking at least half the snaps in Spring ball. We can’t wait to see what he does with them.