5. Gabe Marks
Marks was the Cougs' most explosive receiver this spring. He was the most explosive wideout in his first fall camp last year, too.
That isn't to say Marks has this thing all figured out. He'll have to prove that in 2013.
HE'LL ONLY BE a second-year sophomore this season. And he tired considerably in the latter half of 2012. Indeed, the wear and tear of a full and physical Pac-12 season wore on the true freshman -- and at 167 pounds, he wasn't physically equipped for the Pac-12 long haul.
He was also famously seen on TV one game last year, doing up-downs on the sidelines during a Cougar offensive possession. He had been yanked from the game for blowing an assignment.
But that didn't diminish his swagger, not in the slightest. Both Pac-12 and Cougar defensive backs can certainly attest to that in each game last year, and after each WSU practice this spring.
HE ALSO CHECKED in at 175 pounds before the WSU spring session.
That might not sound like a huge difference but for a wide receiver, it can be night and day.
Marks is more polished than you'd expect a young guy to be, and his hands are unmatched among the Cougar receiving corps.
He's not tall (6-0), he's not a great leaper and like every receiver on every team, he had some slap-your-forehead drops last year. But he's also as competitive as they come and he thrives when operating in the middle of the field – not all receivers, including some very good ones, do so in that area you're most likely to face a collision or three.
In the end, if Marks can stay healthy and not get worn down this season – and the new muscle he put on this offseason should help with that – he's an all-conference wideout waiting to happen.
MARKS STARTED EIGHT games last year and played in all 12 contests. He was third on team with 49 receptions, and second in receiving yards (560).
But he didn't show nearly all he's capable of on Saturdays last year, not when compared to the spring session and on the practice field in 2012.
And that's one of the big things that has fans of the Cougs' receivers group on edge, impatiently waiting for the 2013 season to get here.
The 10 best players on 2013 Cougars: No. 6
The 10 best players on 2013 Cougars: No. 7
The 10 best players on 2013 Cougars: No. 8
The 10 best players on 2013 Cougars: No. 9
The 10 best players on 2013 Cougars: No. 10