O-line depth still strong w/ Rodgers leaving

THE COUGS' O-LINE depth in 2013 is a good deal stronger from where it was last season. And so the news that Jake Rodgers is transferring, likely to Eastern, isn't quite the hit it would have been in the past. But the Cougars will still lose experience and perhaps more importantly, versatility, with Rodgers' departure. Here's how the offensive line shapes up.

This spring, WSU had a true two-deep on the offensive line out on the field -- and that was with Rodgers sitting out the entire session with an undisclosed injury.

Rodgers was versatile last season, starting all 12 games across four different spots on a very thin WSU o-line. He would have been a fourth-year junior in 2013 at Washington State, with 15 games experience including 13 starts.

But to add proper context, consider a) that 2012 o-line also surrendered 57 sacks and b) what CF.C Correspondent Joe Doyle wrote midway through the spring session last month:

Meanwhile, Jake Rodgers started all 12 games last season but it looks like he's going to have some serious work to do to try and reclaim his spot. Granted, he's been held out of contact drills this spring... but he was going to have a battle on his hands regardless – the level of play and depth up front has increased.

The spring game itself didn't always necessarily illustrate that improvement, but development was seen across the board over the 15-practice session. LT Gunnar Eklund, LG Joe Dahl, C Elliott Bosch, RG Zach Brevick and RT Rico Forbes finished the spring atop the depth chart.

Behind them, John Fullington, Matt Goetz, Eduardo Middleton and JC transfer Jacob Seydel all provided evidence they'll be challenging the spring incumbents for playing time in fall camp.

Pierson Villarrubia (6-4, 285) is another guy in the fold, though he might still need one more winter in the weight room to make a long-term run at a starting job. Denzell Dotson had a decent spring but came out of the session behind Dahl at left guard and Brevick at right guard.

In addition to Seydel, who arrived in January, the Cougs are also expected to bring in as many as six other freshman offensive linemen this summer: Matt Meyer, Riley Sorenson, Cody O'Connell, Cole Madison, Carlos Freeman and 2012 class holdover B.J. Salmonson.

Most freshman o-linemen redshirt in order to make the physical transition to the Pac-12 level -- but four of the above six already check in at 290 pounds or better. And five of six are 6-foot-5 or taller.

Of that freshman group, Meyer (6-6, 290) and Madison (6-6, 270) might be the most ready to make a play for the Cougar two-deeps in 2013.

NOTABLE NOTE:
Also keep an eye out for Middleton and Fullington when fall camp begins. Middleton had a rough go of it during the spring game but has drawn a lot of praise for his practice work over the last year-plus from Mike Leach. Fullington has 30 starts under his belt heading into his senior season. It was a surprise this spring to see him running with the 2's. It won't be a surprise if in fall camp he raises his level of play and reclaims a starting job.

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