WSU football: Forecasting 5 breakout players

FOR THESE five Cougars, the combination of expectations and opportunity in fall camp figure to go a long ways towards determining if Washington State’s 2015 season ends in a bowl game.

Offensive tackle Cole Madison (6-5, 303, pictured above)

Madison did not start the final four games of the 2014 season and it showed on the right side, despite the fact he was just a redshirt freshman. If the right tackle does what we think he will do in 2015, the Cougs will be able to better stretch the field horizontally on his side, which in turn will only make the left side’s Joe Dahl and Gunnar Eklund more dangerous.

Nose tackle Daniel Ekuale (6-3, 288)

The starting nose tackle coming out of spring ball, the third-year sophomore got his feet wet last year after appearing in all 12 games. A confident Ekuale utilizing leverage and proper technique should dent the pocket more, and more consistently, than Washington State saw last year from this spot, and only good things can come from that.

Cornerback Marcellus Pippins (5-10, 170)

Few were as impressive as Pippins during Midnight Maneuvers this winter and he now sits atop the post-spring depth chart at one corner spot opposite Charleston White. Pippins had his redshirt burned late last season and turned in solid play in the final three games. He still needs some seasoning, and he will continue to need to grow up fast as a second-year sophomore. We think he has the skills set to fare better than most.

Running back Keith Harrington (5-7, 180)

With fellow running backs Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow also in the fold, think of Harrington like a sixth man in basketball. At his best, Harrington is a bundle of moves wrapped inside a whirling dervish. But there will also be times he’ll need to put his head down for two yards rather than always try for the home run. Bottom line: he is capable of developing into the spark that enables the offense to seize momentum.

Safety Sulaiman Hameed (5-10, 193)

His true freshman season was cut short by injury but when he was on the field, he offered a glimpse of the future at safety. This spring, he had a nice assortment of tackles combined with interceptions and pass break ups. But what can put him over the top in 2015, now that he has some playing time under his belt, is his coverage skills and closing speed. He sits behind Taylor Taliulu at strong safety on the post-spring depth chart and we see a battle royale coming in fall camp for the starting job.

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