The 10 best players on 2014 Cougars: No. 4

HE WAS KNOCKING on the door of one of the all-time program marks at Washington State in 2013, and he still has half of his WSU college career in front of him. But this fall camp is setting up as a proving ground for the No. 4 player on our list.

Gabe Marks will be a junior this season and big things are expected after he caught 74 passes in 2013, second-most all-time at Washington State (Marquess Wilson, 82).

He has 123 career grabs in two seasons, and needs 72 more to tie Michael Bumpus for the top spot in all-time career receptions at WSU.

But it’s also worth mentioning that Marks tailed off significantly at the end of the season. Marks was poised to break Wilson’s single-season record last year but caught only six passes in the final three games. He then missed much of the spring with injury followed by surgery. He got into trouble with the law this offseason where the under-age Marks was arrested at a tavern.

And he’s no longer listed as a starter on the depth chart after Kristoff Williams had a very good spring while Marks healed up.

The accuracy of a preseason depth chart can be dubious at times and it won’t be a surprise if Marks, assuming he’s healthy, is somewhere in the starting lineup for the opener against Rutgers (Aug. 28).

That said, Marks will need to earn it this fall camp, both on and off the field.

Outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons told CF.C this offseason Marks is hugely competitive and has a passion for wanting to get open. Because of that, though, he can tend to freelance and operate outside the WSU scheme. That will not be allowed, Simmons made clear in no uncertain terms.

That’s also a pretty good way to draw the ire of Air Raid architect Mike Leach.

Marks has a world of potential beyond what he’s already done on the field, and what he’s done so far is impressive. This fall camp should be fascinating to see if Marks takes that next step or if he stays on the same plane.

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