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CF.C's Skyler Cracraft projects WSU depth chart on defense headed into fall camp

PULLMAN – Fall camp at Washington State figures to feature position battles on every level of the defense. WSU has not released an official pre-fall camp depth chart but new CF.C scribe Skyler Cracraft offers his projection of how he sees the defensive depth chart headed into fall ball on Aug. 6 in Lewiston.

End
1. Hercules Mata’afa
2. Nnamdi Oguayo

Mata’afa has yet to start a game but he might already be one of the best defensive ends in the conference in my view. The way he uses his strength and leverage to get into the backfield is something that you don’t see often. His motor never stops and he brings it every play.

Nose Guard
1. Robert Barber
2. Ngalu Tapa

These two guys are a great combination for WSU's interior d-line in my book. Indeed, the rotation between the two should give WSU little to no drop off when one has to come out. Both guys know how to move bodies around and are very athletic for their size.

Tackle
1. Daniel Ekuale
2. Garrett McBroom

This position should be interesting to watch, with McBroom having a good first spring in Pullman and Ekuale missing most of the spring session. We know that WSU needs rotation on the D-line, but who will be the number one guy when the season kicks off? Fall camp figures to answer that question.

Rush
1. Dylan Hanser
2. Logan Tago

This battle figures to be a barn burner. Both guys were working out some kinks in spring and getting more comfortable with the defense. No great mystery: the starting job will come down to who can be the most consistent and who can make big plays when WSU needs them.

Mike
1. Peyton Pelluer
2. Nate Derider
3. Isaac Dotson

In my book, Pelluer is a stud and an absolute animal on the field. The backup spot is likely up for grabs between walk on Nate DeRider and Isaac Dotson as he transitions from safety to linebacker. Regardless of how it shakes out, Dotson needs to find a way to get on the field. He is an extremely talented athlete and has massive size.

Will
1. Frankie Luvu
2. Paris Taylor

Both of these guys have potential to be the starter in my view. Luvu and Taylor both play "big" on the field and both are monsters in the weight room. Just one more compelling battle on D to watch this fall camp at Washington State.

Nickel
1. Parker Henry
2. Kirkland Parker
3. Colton Teglovic

Henry has a pretty good grip on the nickel position headed into camp. But one thing that d-coordinator Alex Grinch does like to do is to put a DB-type at the nickel on third downs and passing situations.  Parker to me seems to fit that mold, and Teglovic is just as capable.

Free safety
1. Charleston White
2. Jalen Thompson (pictured above)
3. Willie Roach

Just like with Dotson, White is a guy that needs to find a home on the field. We all saw a lot of great things from Thompson during the spring and he could very well earn the starting gig as a true freshman.  This will be yet another great position battle in camp.

Strong safety
1. Shalom Luani
2. Hunter Dale

I don't say this lightly: Luani might be the best player on the defense. Luani does everything well and yet he's also an extremely explosive player, two things that don't always go hand in hand. I expect him and Pelluer to be the heart and soul of the Cougar D in 2016.  Hunter Dale is another guy who can get more playing time here. Dale doesn’t have top-end speed, but he makes up for it with good technique and a solid understanding of the defense.

Cornerback
1. Darrien Molton
2. Deion Singleton

Molton is arguably the best WSU corner headed into fall camp. But Singleton has the potential to be just as good by the time the book closes on the 2016 campaign.

Cornerback
1. Marcellus Pippins
2. Treshon Broughton

Pippins is a solid starter in my view headed into fall camp.  But just as with Singleton, I'm looking for Broughton to get into the rotation and be used in various defensive packages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Skyler Cracraft spent the past two seasons at Washington State as a defensive back, walking on in 2014. His younger brother River is a star wideout entering his senior season. Skyler also hails from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., but prepped at Tesoro High unlike his brother (Santa Margarita High) where he posted 67 tackles with five interceptions in his senior season. Skyler is in Pullman covering the Cougs for CF.C this season.

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