ESPN tabs quarterback as the Cougs’ greatest strength.
“With Luke Falk returning for his junior season, expect Washington State's offense to grow even more reliable. He's a steady centerpiece of a unit that demands one to be effective,” says ESPN’s David Lombardi.
The greatest need is also found on offense, says Lombardi, on the left side of the offensive line where the Cougs are replacing LT Joe Dahl and LG Gunnar Eklund. ESPN tabs LT Andre Dillard and LG Cody O'Connell as its "key players" to address the need.
"Dahl's back-up was Dillard, who saw some action last year," says Lombardi. "The 270-pounder is undersized for this position, but Washington State is optimistic about him -- especially if he can pack on some weight this offseason.
"Eklund's vacated guard position is set for an interesting battle. The frontrunner there may be 6-foot-8, 346-pound behemoth O'Connell. If he blossoms into the force that those measurements suggest he can be, O'Connell can help the Cougars' offensive line maintain its high level of play."
Meanwhile, heading into spring ball and post signing day, ESPN also updated their early Pac-12 power rankings.
Washington State is No. 4 on ESPN’s list.
“Luke Falk will enjoy the returns of receivers Gabe Marks and River Cracraft in 2016, and he should also be excited about the addition of four-star Isaiah Johnson during this recruiting cycle. Incoming running back Romello Harris will throw his name into a crowded backfield mix. The Cougars' class ranked No. 56 nationally, but this team's immediate needs -- especially on offense -- are already set by a veteran roster, so optimism flows as we head into 2016,” says Lombardi.
ESPN has Stanford at No. 1 in its Pac-12 power rankings, followed by Oregon, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and USC.
Arizona leads off the bottom half of the conference power rankings at No. 7, followed by Utah, Cal, ASU, Colorado and Oregon State.