Washington State Football: Who Will Be The Cougars Breakout Players?

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On the defensive side of the ball I have to go with Xavier Cooper. The 6-4, 300 lb junior defensive tackle has been a solid player on defense so far in his career and is only looking to expand on his success.

Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) is tackled by Washington State Cougars defensive end Xavier Cooper (96) during the second half at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper had 50 total tackles last season including 13.5 tackles for a loss and 5 sacks for the Cougars defense. He also had one of his best games against now-4th ranked Oregon where he recorded 8 tackles and had a fumble recovery and ran it in for a touchdown. When the Cougars played against Arizona State last Halloween he tallied 7 tackles and 1 sack in a Cougars loss.

Cooper had some struggles his first year for the Cougars and had to sit out due to academics but has improved with every season he has played in. In 2012 he had 34 total tackles including 8.5 tackles for a loss and 3 sacks. Cooper is looking to jump his 2013 numbers just like he increased his 2012 numbers.

The defensive line for the Cougars has struggled in the past and allowed offenses to run on the Cougars but with Cooper getting better every season and the defense having returning lineman Toni Pole and Destiny Vaeao will be a huge boost for the defense and will help Cooper out as well.

I see Cooper having himself a great year and being the anchor to the Cougars defensive line and holding offenses running game down and helping out the rest of the defense.