WSU fall camp: For this trio of outside receivers, the future is now

SURE, YOU’D LIKE to see every true freshman redshirt and have five years at Washington State. But some players are ready from the jump. Take safety Jalen Thompson, who blew up in spring ball and has thrust his name into the starting conversation headed into fall camp. Don’t be surprised if a trio of first-year wide receivers - Grant Porter, Dezmon Patmon and Isaiah Johnson - travel a similar path.

Gabe Marks is a lock to start at the Z and Tavares Martin is the projected starter at the X headed into fall ball.  But who else is in the mix? After all, Mike Leach generally uses an 8-man rotation at the four wide receiver spots.

After spring ball, Cougar outside receivers coach Dave Nichol said on Bill Moos’ radio show the incoming freshmen wideouts would “have every opportunity to play.” With CF.C reporting Kyrin Priester’s departure on Saturday, there are now more outside receiver reps to be had, more chances to show Nichol and the coaching staff why they shouldn’t be fitted for a redshirt.

Porter (6-2, 185, pictured above) coming out of high school was a three-star prospect but had he not gotten dinged up before and during his senior year, analysts say he would have been far more heavily recruited (offers included Utah and Boise State). When healthy, Porter was one of the fastest WRs in the Sacramento area and one of the top receiving prospects in California.

Porter has the skills to play either inside or outside receiver but is expected to get his first look in fall camp on the outside. He’s a polished route runner -- with an equal willingness to go over the middle or stretch the field. 

Patmon (6-4, 202) was very physical and became a more complete player his senior season in high school – whether he was outmuscling a DB in making a highlight reel catch or being called upon to block a guy onto his wallet. His prep coach, taking to CF.C before Signing Day, compared Patmon to Michael Crabtree - heady praise indeed. analyst Brandon Huffman watched both Patmon and Dom Williams live during their senior years in high school.  Williams concluded his WSU career ranked No. 3 on the school's all-time receptions list (192), No. 2 in receiving yards (2,889) and No. 2 in TD catches (30). “Patmon is a more consistent pass catcher than Dom Williams was coming out of high school and Williams was a huge part of the Cougs’ success this past season,” Huffman told CF.C.

Johnson (6-3, 214) has a leg up after getting an early start – he arrived to Washington State in January and went through spring ball.   Midway through the spring, Leach told a Spokane audience with a smile that Johnson was a big target indeed.  Johnson has a big wing span, with the ability to make tough catches seem routine. 

WSU chief of staff Dave Emerick at a recruiting event highlighted both Johnson and Patmon as big, physical wideouts with the ability to play as true freshmen.  Johnson was highly sought coming out of high school, with offers from Florida, Auburn, Miami and others. Johnson is also close with Martin, both are Dwyer High grads (Florida).

C.J. Dimry and walk on Kaleb Fossum are also expected to be in the thick of things are outside receiver in fall camp.

RELATED STORY: Nichol tells incoming WSU outside WRs to get ready

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