Deone Bucannon following in huge footsteps

TALK ABOUT BEING both prescient and off-base at the same time. On football Signing Day back in February, CF.C characterized a new WSU defensive back as "one of the Cougars' most significant recruits in this class." In the very next breath we added, "but that doesn't mean he will play immediately."

The player in question was described that day by Cougar head man Paul Wulff as a "rangy" kid who runs well, is very physical, and is "a big-time tackler."

That's hitting the proverbial nail on the head.

To call Deone Bucannon a big-time tackler is no understatement. He led the Cougars with 67 solo stops and 84 total this season.

But the Pride of Fairfield, Calif., was much more than just a hitter. He was a high-energy playmaker who also broke up 5 passes and deflected 7, forced 2 fumbles and recovered 1, and picked off 2 passes -- including a spectacular end zone theft of Jake Locker that wound up turning the Apple Cup into a nailbiter.

On Monday, he was named WSU's defensive MVP. An initial combing of the records and dusting off of the memory banks reveals no other true freshman ever winning the award at WSU.

Moreover, as the defensive MVP winner, Bucannon now has his name etched alongside some of the greatest ever to wear crimson, including four who are crackin' heads in the NFL right now -- Husain Abdullah ('07), Eric Frampton ('06), Erik Coleman ('03) and Marcus Trufant ('02) -- and another who spent five seasons in the NFL, Lamont Thompson ('01).

Like Bucannon, all five of those luminaries were Cougar defensive backs. Unlike Bucannon, they were all seniors when they were named WSU's defensive MVP.

The 6-1, 186-pound Bucannon led all Pac-10 freshmen and finished 14th overall in the conference in tackles. He had back-to-back games where he registered 16 (Arizona) and 15 (Stanford) total tackles.

OTHER HONOREES MONDAY AT WSU's annual season-ending awards banquet were:

  • Sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel, offensive MVP after throwing for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 59.8 percent of his passes.

  • Laurie Niemi Award (Cougar Attitude): Hallston Higgins and Micah Hannam

  • Frank Butler Award (Cougar Spirit): Myron Beck

  • Fred Bohler Award (Cougar Inspiration): Chantz Staden

  • Randal Simmons Award (Coaches Award): Daniel Blackledge

  • Leon Bender Award (Defensive Lineman of the Year): Travis Long

  • Mike Utley Award (Offensive Lineman of the Year): Zack Williams

  • Tim Petek Award (Strongest Man Award): James Montgomery

  • Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year: Blair Bomber

  • Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Martinez

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