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Four new Coug JUCOs have one thing in common

MIKE LEACH typically signs few junior college players and in the class that was completed on Wednesday there were four. It’s notable that all four will line up on defense.

WSU allowed opponents 27.7 point per game this past season, a monster improvement over the 38.6 ppg allowed in 2015. But that still slotted the Cougs No. 7 in the conference in scoring defense.

The Cougs generated 24 turnovers last season, as compared to just eight in 2015.  And while those 24 takeaways tied for fourth in the conference, the Cougs want more.

It’s clear the course defensive coordinator Alex Grinch charted after arriving at WSU last year was built most on one thing: more speed.

As Leach, the WSU assistant coaches and football chief of staff Dave Emerick all said this week when it came to the defense, the Cougs were primarily looking to get faster on D with this signing class.

In terms of the 2016 season, both Robert Taylor and Chima Onyeukwu look to be speed upgrades at the WIL and safety spots where WSU is replacing graduating seniors Jeremiah Allison and Taylor Taliulu.

Taylor and Onyeukwu are both smart players on the field, their junior college coaches tell CF.C, and Grinch in his first year made the message/coaching/communication simple and direct. That should also help both in transitioning to the Pac-12. 

WSU also added Suliasi Tamaivena, who at 6-2, 225 could also play the WIL or MIK.

The million dollar question of course is will the increased speed equal better in 2016.  It’s a question that can’t begin to be answered until at least August, when fall camp kicks off at Washington State, though we could get a partial glimpse this spring.

The fourth member of the JUCO signing group is DE Garrett McBroom. He signed as a midyear transfer and will get the valuable benefit of going through a full offseason -- including spring ball. 

McBroom isn’t small, at 6-3, 268.  He’s not the DT the Cougs wanted in the class, but he is well-suited for the end position where the Cougs lose starter Darryl Paulo (6-2, 255) to graduation. (Leach also said when asked about the lack of a d-tackle that the emphasis this class was on d-end).

McBroom has speed, too. He’s got an explosive first step and is strong in both pass rush and back end pursuit (He tallied 10 sacks and 19 tackles-for-loss among his 66 stops at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M last season).

Four speedy junior college signings – for each level of the Cougar defense. Now if only the 2016 campaign would hurry up and get here.


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