WSU fall camp preview: Keith Harrington’s motivation is crystal clear

PULLMAN – When Washington State running back Keith Harrington returns to the field Saturday after missing out on spring ball, he’ll be playing with a new purpose.

Harrington, out of St. Petersburg, Fla., said family is what motivates him to succeed not only on the field, but off the field and in the classroom as well.

Specifically, Harrington wants set a good example for his younger brother and sister who also want to go to college. Harrington says he wants to be someone they can look up to by showing them that going to college outweighs all the bad things that can happen on the streets of St. Petersburg.

“There’s things way better than doing bad things in the streets. Going to school may seem harder, but it’s actually the easier route and it’s so much better for your future. I just try to show my little brother and sister that want to go to college, you can do anything when you put your mind to it,” said Harrington.

HARRINGTON MISSED THE spring to injury but when he takes the field Saturday in Lewiston, he said he’s going to come out hungry and look to be a guy who can offer more than what he did last season. He has put on 16 pounds over the offseason -- and says he feels faster (he was listed at 5-8, 180 last season).

As someone originally recruited to play receiver, Harrington pointed out that he shines most on the field when he has the ball in open space.

But aside from making big plays and scoring touchdowns, Harrington says the No. 1 thing that he wants to improve on for the upcoming season is blocking.

And by getting quicker and putting on more weight, he says it will help him in blitz pick-ups and allow him to attack the hole a lot harder.

WITH ALL THE BUZZ surrounding the WSU running backs this year (the Cougs have four who could start in Gerard Wicks, Jamal Morrow, Harrington and James Williams) effective run blocking from Harrington might allow him to see more time on the field.

Harrington was pretty successful in the screen game last season and had some solid carries as well, but ball security was definitely an issue at times. From where I sit, if Harrington can do a better job of holding on to the ball, and improve in his blitz pick-ups, I expect Cougar fans will see him a lot more of him this season.

“One thing about the running backs is that we are a really tight group and are constantly pushing each other to get better,” said Harrington. “When it comes to who’s going to play, you just have to leave that to the coaches because they will find ways to get our playmakers the ball.

“This is probably the most talented group I’ve been a part of, and Coach Mastro really knows the X’s and O’s. So with him and the talent we have, I think our running backs are going to be one of our biggest strengths this season.”

HARRINGTON SAYS as long as the Cougs don’t take any team lightly, they can win every game on the schedule. He said the staff has been continually hitting the team up with varying messages throughout the offseason, imploring them to prepare to come out fast and start strong.

The one that sticks with Harrington most is Mike Leach’s favorite slogan: “Respect everyone, fear no one.”

Fall camps kicks off Saturday in Lewiston and I’ll be there to bring you all the action on WSU kicks off the season at home vs. Eastern Washington on Sept. 3.

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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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