Cougs coming full circle at the Rose Bowl

IN EARLY JUNE OF 2012, with so many incoming new Cougar football players hailing from southern California, commissioned WSU graduate Steven Squires to get as many of these youngsters as he could to the Rose Bowl for a photo shoot.

"When you live in the backyard of the fabled old stadium, it's really something special," we wrote at the time.

"The symmetry of it all -- a critical mass of athletes in one class from one area, coupled with their proximity to the ultimate destination -- made the idea of a one-day coming together too much to pass up."

Not everyone could make it, but seven of them did: Jeremiah Allison of Dorsey High, Robert Lewis of South East High, Brett Bartolone of La Habra High, Theron West and Niu Sale of L.A. Harbor College, Kache Palacio of Junipero Serra High and Gabe Marks (we called him Gabriel at the time) of Venice High.

West graduated a year ago and Sale wasn't around long, but all the rest -- including Bartolone, who suffered a career-ending injury but is now a special assistant on the coaching staff -- contributed to the Cougars' dramatic win at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

None of course was more visible than Marks, who caught 12 passes, including the game-winning pass from Luke Falk with three seconds left on the clock.

So in a nod to the power of good things coming full circle, and young men believing they would be the ones to turn around a once-proud program, we dusted off our photo of the young Marks standing in front of the Rose Bowl, draped in a Cougar blanket, and paired it with a shot taken immediately after his game-winning catch Saturday that propelled the Cougars back into the national top 25.

As fate would have it, Marks today was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, emblematic of the nation's finest receiver. The fourth-year junior has been spectacular in 2015, hauling in 81 receptions for 957 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 81 receptions has him ranked No. 4 in the country and his 13 touchdowns has him tied at No. 4 in the nation. Part of the selection process includes a fan poll. To vote, CLICK HERE.


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