The 10 best players on 2014 Cougars: No. 9

MANY OF THE so-called truisms of college football don't hold much water when it comes to a Mike Leach-led team. The No. 9 player on our list is an excellent example.

From now until forever, every Cougar sinside receiver under Leach is going to be compared to Wes Welker. But in 2014, when it comes to River Cracraft, those comparisons may have some legs.

Cracraft was WSU's breakout freshman receiver a year ago, appearing in all 13 games and starting 10 of them. The true freshman had 46 receptions for 614 yards and three TDs and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors.

But the number that jumps out most from 2013 is his 13.3 ypc, second-best on the Cougs.

Typically, you see an outside receiver with a high ypc on a team, not a slot receiver. But of course, Mike Leach is anything but your typical football coach.

In his third year at Texas Tech, Leach changed the way he approached the four-verticals package, and the biggest beneficiary to that was Welker. Cracraft has already shown the ability to make yards after the catch. And it might only go up in 2014.

Rather than the "sophomore slump" that many wideouts experience with increased attention, Cracraft looks to be in a position to instead turn the tables, and exponentially increase the amount of square footage a defense has to cover.

He certainly did just that on the last day of spring ball, when he made play after play against virtually every defensive back on the team.

And don't sleep on Cracraft when it comes to special teams, he could play a big role in the return game this season as well.

The 10 best players on 2014 Cougars: No. 10

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