The legend of Joe Dahl & other Cougar notes

HOW TOUGH IS Cougar left tackle Joe Dahl? So tough that he played the final quarter of the Stanford game with what is believed to be a broken foot. He missed the subsequent four games and was in a boot at his last public appearance, when seniors were introduced before the Colorado game two weeks ago. But while mostly out of sight, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Spokane product is hardly out of mind.

WSU athletic director Bill Moos said on his radio show Monday that he expects Dahl to be back in action for the Cougars’ bowl game. He also opined that he thought Dahl would be a first- or second-round NFL draft pick come April.

In addition, Steve Palazzolo, a senior analyst with Pro Football Focus, tabbed Dahl for his national ”Dream Team” of best players at each position. He updates the list each week and notes that Dahl is hanging in despite his injury.

“Missing another game due to injury, Dahl still makes the team, though his status is up in the air for future Dream Team iterations,” writes Palazzolo, who also is contributor to ESPN.

He gives the “smooth-moving pass protector” a +15.7 pass-blocking grade, which is No. 1 in the nation among offensive tackles. “He did give up a sack and three hurries against Stanford, putting him at three sacks, two hits, and 12 hurries for the season, but it’s the 509 attempts in pass protection that make those numbers impressive. He’s now at a solid +5.0 as a run blocker as well.”

Prior to the injury against Stanford, Dahl started 33-straight games for the Cougars. Last season, en route to honorable mention all-conference honors, Dahl surrendered one sack in 701 pass attempts.

The one-time walk on will get a first-hand opportunity to show NFL coaches and scouts what he can do on Jan. 23 when he plays in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg.

Bryan Perez of is high on Dahl. In a column last month he wrote, “Dahl isn’t a household name in the NFL Draft community just yet. In fact, he’s rated as the 39th OG in the class by and is rarely mentioned among the better offensive linemen available in this year’s group. After watching his tape, I’m confident that will change. One of my favorite aspects of the scouting process is the quest to find players that are either underrated or completely unknown. Dahl is terribly underrated right now ...”

If drafted, Dahl would be just the third WSU offensive lineman in the last 15 years to be selected, joining Zack Williams (sixth round, Carolina, 2011) and Calvin Armstrong (fifth round, Philadelphia, 2005).

SPEAKING OF ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS, the San Jose Mercury News’ Pac-12 beat writer, Jon Wilner, came out this week with his choices for 2015. Shockingly, neither Dahl nor Luke Falk was one of them, but three other Cougs were: junior receiver Gabe Marks, junior safety Shalom Luani and senior defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao.

OF NOTE: Two hours after this story was published, the Pac-12 announced its all-conference choices and Dahl, Falk and Marks were all named to the first team. Eight other Cougs earned second-team or honorable mention honors. The full run down is on the CF.C front page.

Marks leads the Pac-12 in catches (99) and receiving TDs (14) and is second in receiving yards (1,125). Vaeao is among league leaders in tackles for loss (11) and Luani ranks in the top 15 in the conference in tackles, interceptions and passes defended.

THE SEATTLE TIMES ALL-AREA TEAM was unveiled today and future WSU offensive lineman Josh Watson out of Cascade High is among the selections. Writes the Times, “The four-year letterman developed into one of the state’s top linemen and dominated at times with his 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame. Watson earned All-WesCo accolades on both sides of the football for the Bruins from Everett and weighed several Division I offers before committing to Washington State.”

The Times’ pick of Watson comes on the heels of a similar honor last week, when KING5-TV selected Watson first-team all-Western Washington, writing “ Watson is a big playmaker on both sides of the ball, earning first-team all-league honors for both.” Another future Cougar was picked by KING5 to its second-team, but defensive back Danny Sinatro of Skyline High won’t be playing football at WSU -- he's headed to Pullman to play baseball. His father is former Mariners player and coach Matt Sinatro.

THE CONFUSION OVER WHETHER LUKE FALK was or wasn't cleared by medical staff to play in the Apple Cup is confusing no longer. Two independent sources have told CF.C that Falk absolutely wasn't cleared to play.

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