Washington State Football: Taking A Look At Returning Defensive Starters


After yesterday’s post about the returning starters on offense I switch my focus and take a look at the returning defensive starters.

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The Cougars defense took a big hit with the loss of 1st round NFL Draft selection Deone Bucannon and will look to replace the talent that Bucannon brought to the table. Three of the five defensive players that were lost were in the secondary and it will be a challenge to replace those players.

The defense will be returning 6 players from last years team.

Below is a chart detailing which starters from last year will be returning and those that won’t be.

Returning StartersStarters Lost
FS - Taylor TaliuluSS - Deone Bucannon
DL - Kalafitoni PoleCB - Nolan Washington
DL - Xavier CooperCB - Damante Horton
DE - Destiny VaeaoLB - Justin Sagote
LB - Cyrus CoenDL - Ioane Gauta
LB - Darryl Monroe

Destiny Vaeao will look to replace Ioane Gauta on the defensive line with Lyman Faoliu and Darryl Paulo will be backing him up. We saw Paulo a little bit last year but he was mainly backing up Gauta. The good news for the defensive line however, is that Sophomore Xavier Cooper, who led the d-lineman in tackles with 50 total tackles, will be returning with the Kalafitoni Pole who was 3rd of the d-lineman with 28 total tackles.

The second biggest blow to the Cougars defense is the loss of second leading tackler Justin Sagote, who was right behind Bucannon with 106 total tackles. Kache Palacio and Ivan McClennan will be taking over Sagote’s linebacker spot with Palacio looking to be running with the first team.

The rest of the linebacker crew will look the same with Cyrus Coen at Sam, Tana Pritchard at Will and Darryl Monroe at Mike. Mitchell Peterson and newcomer Paris Taylor will be backing up Coen. According to the preseason depth chart there is an “or” between Peterson and Taylor. Taylor, who took a redshirt season last year, could also be used at other positions as he was a safety in Junior College. Chester Su’a will back up Pritchard and Jeremiah Allison will backup Monroe at Mike.

Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) is tackled by Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon (20) at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Cougars 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest hit to the Cougars defense is the loss of SS Deone Bucannon, who led the team with 114 tackles and 6 interceptions. This is still a big confusion on who will start as the depth chart has “or” listed between each of the three players, all of which are Sophomores; Isaac Dotson, Beau Glover, and David Bucannon, who is Deone’s younger brother. All of these players saw playing time last year at SS so it would not be surprising to see them share time back there throughout the year.

Washington state lost both corners last year with the graduation of Damante Horton and Nolan Washington. Daquawn Brown was listed as the number 1 boundary corner (BCB) but has switched to number 1 at the field corner (FCB) with Marcellus Pippins now being the “or” with Brown to replace Horton. Brown was 3rd on the team with 3 interceptions last season and is the only returning player who had an interception last year. At the BCB the Cougars have Tracy Clark “or” Charleston White replacing Washington.

Darius Lemora who was the number 2 SS earlier this year will now be backing up Taylor Taliulu at free safety. Taliulu was 5th on the team with 54 tackles last season.