The Unsung WSU Yardage Machines

ON A TEAM FEATURING a record-breaking QB and a bevy of standout wideouts, it might be easy to overlook a group that nonetheless figures to collect a mountain of all-purpose yardage for Washington State in 2014. The Air Raid offense throws the ball early and often, but that doesn't mean the running backs aren't in the act.

In fact, no one on the team last season had more touches than RBs Marcus Mason (142) and Teondray Caldwell (91).

Mason was WSU's top all-purpose yardage producer and Caldwell was No. 4. Together, they accounted for more than 1,600 yards in '13.

Yet despite that multi-dimensional output, both will be pushed for playing time this season as the Cougars enter 2014 with depth that runs a legit five deep at running back.

Here's a look at who's who in the backfield:

Started 11 games in 2013 and was voted team captain five times. Led the team with 865 all-purpose yards. Was tops in rushing with 429 hashes and second in receptions with 52 for 390 yards. Missed most of the spring season with an ankle injury and will come into fall camp in catch-up mode.

Dubbed the hardest working back on the roster by assistant coach Jim Mastro. Made five starts in 2013 and collected 744 all-purpose yards: 271 on the ground, 130 via the air, and 343 on kickoff returns. Was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection at kick returner as a true freshman in 2012.

He was a special teams mainstay in 2013, blocking two punts, but came out of seemingly nowhere to start the New Mexico Bowl and didn't disappoint, rushing and catching for a combined 67 yards and one touchdown. He carried that momentum into the spring season and figures be the No. 1 RB on the depth chart when fall camp opens.

After redshirting in 2013, Morrow came into the spring season ready to stake his claim. He put together an impressive 15 practices and scrimmages, showing off speed and an ability to make hard cuts. Mike Leach said after the final scrimmage that if the season started tomorrow it would be Morrow and West getting the most reps.

Like Morrow, Wicks is coming off a redshirt season. At 5-11, 202 pounds, he is the biggest back in the Cougars' stable and could be the tailor-made goal-line replacement for departed Jeremiah Laufasa. "Physically, the most talented guy we've got. He's big, he's fast and he's strong. He's just got to understand the offense and he needs reps," says assistant coach Jim Mastro.

Cougfan Top Stories