6 crimson forecasts for camp and the season

HALF THE FUN of this time of year is the speculation that runs wild in the run-up to college football season. So with the start of fall camp almost upon us -- WSU commences on Sunday with a helmets-only session -- it's time to pull out the crystal ball and make a few forecasts about what you'll see in camp and over the season from the 2011 Cougars.

1. Most Impactful Newcomer: DE Ian Knight

A JC transfer who enrolled in January, he was penned in as the No. 1 end opposite Travis Long at the start of spring ball, ostensibly because Brandon Rankin was hurt and everyone else was young. Knight had a solid spring and comes into fall camp holding on to the No. 1 spot. He checks in at 6-2 and 244 highly sculpted pounds, but it's his speed that makes him stand out. He had a team-leading 14.5 tackles-for-loss at powerhouse Butler College in Kansas last season. Originally from Wichita Heights, Kan., he was offered scholarships by Illinois and others coming out of high school before heading the JC route. He chose WSU over Kansas, Purdue and others.
Runner up: Linebacker Chester Su'a

2. Most Interesting Position Battle: Center

The quest to succeed Zack Williams features a wily old veteran, Andrew Roxas, and JC transfer Taylor Meighen. Roxas saw the majority of reps in spring ball with the first string but Meighen, who enrolled in January, was pushing him hard. Meighen was an all-conference performer at Kilgore JC in Texas last season. Roxas is a fifth-year senior who has considerable experience under his belt, including 10 career starts dating to his true freshman season of 2007.
Runner up: Tight end, Andrei Lintz vs. Aaron Dunn

3. Most Likely to have a Breakout Season: RB Rickey Galvin

The second-year freshman started to turn heads in fall camp a year ago and then broke his arm on his very first collegiate carry in the opener at Oklahoma State and was lost for the season. He came out of the spring listed No. 2 behind senior Logwone Mitz and may very well remain there, but there is no doubt he'll get his chances in 2011. He gives the Cougars an explosive, breakaway threat. If he can keep his 5-8, 162-pound frame healthy he'll rack up some stats. He was rated one of the top 75 running backs in the nation in the 2010 recruiting cycle after piling up more than 2,000 ground yards as a senior and 1,200 as a junior.
Runner up: WR Kristoff Williams

4. Most Desperate to Stay Healthy: WR Gino Simone

The sure-handed junior from Skyline High had a miserable 2010 season due to hamstring and ankle woes that dogged him from start to finish. He caught only 13 balls for 132 yards, compared with 36 receptions for 330 yards as a true freshman playing in a woeful offense in 2009. He looks to be fully healthy and ready to fight for his old starting spot at flanker.
Runner up: OT Dan Spitz, who missed spring ball with a shoulder injury.

5. Most Likely Walk-on to Make a Name for Himself: WR Bennett Bontemps

The sophomore from Puyallup is a student of the game who has impressed on special teams and surprised at wideout. He could find a niche at gunner.
Runner up: OL Elliott Bosch, a third-year sophomore who can play center or guard.

6. Most Likely to Backup Jeff Tuel

Marshall Lobbestael, a fifth-year senior and proven team leader, is the obvious choice – at least for the first half of the season. In the spring he made more plays than in past years, both in the short- and long-distance passing games. He also cut way down on mistakes. Second-year freshman Connor Halliday has tremendous potential and all the tools. Unlike Tuel, he still tends to force the ball in some situations, and that gets him into trouble. How soon he realizes he doesn't need to make the perfect play will determine how soon he takes that next step. That, and perhaps his weight. He's still rail thin.


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