CF.C Spring Summary: CORNERBACK

PULLMAN -- There was solid corner play and compelling WR-CB battles this spring out on the Palouse. There are also two very big questions looming over the position as the Cougars head into voluntary offseason workouts and later, fall camp.

First up, Nolan Washington and Damante Horton.

All indications are Washington is going to be a good one this upcoming season. He was arguably the No. 1 corner on the field this spring for the Cougs.

Washington's coverage was tight, he's quick and with good make-up speed and the 5-10 Washington can ably battle taller receivers -- there were some great, great battles this spring between Washington and wide receiver Jared Karstetter (6-4).

As for Horton, the coaching staff is very high on him.

He's still young (he'll be a second year sophomore this season) and he made some mistakes of youth, but those mistakes became less and less as the spring went along.

He also took turn in some epic battles, all spring long, with WR Marquess Wilson.

In the end, Horton ably held down one of the starting jobs this spring, with Washington on the other side. They went up against a multi-talented group of receivers and yes, they lost some of the battles. But they also got better because of it. Both are listed atop the post-spring depth chart at the cornerback spot.

When Washington got dinged up, Aire Justin and Tracy Clark saw more time with the 1s. Justin had his best spring ever at WSU, and the fifth year senior looked to have taken a good-sized step headed into his final year. It wasn't enough to displace Horton, but he had a rock solid spring.

But Justin is also one of the two big question marks. He has been reported to be in the appeals process for failing an NCAA test for banned substances, though that has not been confirmed by WSU due to the Family Education and Privacy Act. The particulars of Justin's situation are not known, but the NCAA has historically denied just about all such appeals, regardless of whether the substance in question was found in an over the counter protein drink or what have you.

If the Cougs were to lose Justin, it would be a blow in that it robs them of depth – Justin also probably has the highest vertical leap in the secondary, he showed some serious hops this spring.

And if Justin were unavailable, that then places even more importance on a full return to health by Daniel Simmons, who missed the spring rehabbing a shoulder injury. Simmons has been a No. 1 corner for the Cougs when healthy.

How Simmons returns and if he challenges for the starting mix is the other big question for the Cougs at corner headed into spring ball. But there are other issues in play as well.

Brandon Golden's return to full go from a pectoral injury is also key – can he shore up the depth and/or compete for a starting job? He too missed the entire spring.

And then there's Clark.

Clark got in a lot of action with the 1s towards the end of spring. He showed steady improvement, but he wasn't to the level of Horton or Washington this spring.

However, WSU assistant coach Jody Sears spent time – a lot of time – working one-on-one with Clark towards the end of spring and the results were positive. With the importance on quality depth at corner, how far Clark progresses between now and on into fall camp will be another storyline worth following.

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