Cougar Football Notebook: 3 Cougs picked top 25 players in Pac-12

ZACH CHARME, WSU's starting punter in 2015, is no longer with the team as CF.C reported earlier and per the new roster released on the eve of spring practices. In addition, receiver Kyrin Priester, whom Mike Leach said Wednesday would be limited this spring as he works on academics, was added to the official roster on Thursday morning.

After punting 47 times and averaging 39.6 yards per boot as a freshman in 2015, Charme was used sporadically in 2016 -- punting just eight times (and averaging 37.1 yards) -- as the Cougars opted for receiver Kyle Sweet and his rugby-style punting. Placekicker Erik Powell also got into the act, punting seven times down the stretch of the season.

The departure of Charme, who hailed from Timberline High in Boise, means punting chores this spring will fall to Sweet, Powell and Tommy Park, a freshman walk on from Mount Vernon.

In addition to Powell, the placekickers on the roster this spring are senior Mitchell Cox (Kent), sophomore Brett Schafer (Edmonds) and freshman Jack Crane (Sammamish).

Besides Charme, one other player from the offseason roster is not on the updated spring roster: walk linebacker Alofagia Faalavaau of Tacoma.

THREE COUGARS, LED BY quarterback Luke Falk at No. 3, are among the top 25 players in the Pac-12, according to Athlon Sports' 2017 power rankings. Only USC and Washington -- with four each -- placed more on the list than WSU.

Everybody's All-American, guard Cody O'Connell, was picked No. 6 and defensive end Hercules Mata'afa No. 12. In addition, Cougar offensive tackle Cole Madison was named honorable mention.

"Considering the firepower on the other side of the ball, Washington State’s defense is often overlooked. However, Mata’afa has emerged as one of the conference’s top linemen and led the team with 13.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks in 2016," Athlon wrote.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold and UW QB Sam Browning were Nos. 1 and 2. Click here to see the complete list. Athlon also is out with its list of 20 redshirt freshman to watch in the Pac-12 this season and two Cougars are on the list: receivers Renard Bell and Grant Porter.

Bell (5-8/155) is from Cathedral High in Los Angeles and Porter (6-2/184) from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Upland High.

Writes Athlon: "The Cougars have a few holes to fill at receiver after standouts Gabe Marks and River Cracraft expired their eligibility. The receiving corps has a solid foundation in place with Tavares Martin, Isaiah Johnson-Mack and Robert Lewis returning, but Bell and Porter – both three-star recruits in the 2016 class – should have an opportunity to push for snaps."

AN INTERESTING TWIST ON THE 2018 recruiting front came down Wednesday evening when standout Coeur d'Alene quarterback Colson Yankoff -- the No. 15-rated QB prospect in the nation -- announced he had verbally committed to UW. The twist is that The Dawgs have long held a verbal from Bothell's Jacob Sirmon, the No. 3-rated QB prospect in the nation for the '18 cycle.

Sirmon has been pledged to the Dawgs for a year and apparently spends hours and hours breaking down film with Husky coach Chris Petersen (how that is not a violation is anyone's guess but the Seattle Times chronicled it all a couple weeks ago and no one seems worse for the wear). Yankoff, who held an offer from WSU, verbally committed to Oregon last spring and then pulled it back following the Ducks' coaching change.

WSU has two known scholarship offers out to quarterbacks who are not yet verbally committed: 3-star Camm Cooper of Lehi, Utah, and 4-star (No. 13 QB) Brevin White of Lancaster, Calif.

TYRON BRACKENRIDGE, PART OF THE incredible line of defensive backs WSU produced in the early and mid 2000s, has joined the coaching staff of his old CFL team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He'll coach DBs. Brackenridge was an all-star for the Roughriders from 2011-14 following four NFL seasons with the Chiefs and Jaguars.

In a move we missed earlier this offseason, another old Cougar--receiver Vince Mayle-- was picked up on waivers by the Baltimore after being released by Dallas. Maybe was a fourth-round draft choice of Cleveland in 2015 but didn't make the team and has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Cowboys, playing in seven games, mostly on special teams.

KEVIN NIGHT PIPE, WHO IS entering his 17th season as WSU's video coordinator, is a finalist for the national video coordinator of the year award after being voted the Pac-12's video coordinator of the year. A panel from the Collegiate Sports Video Association Conference will decide the national winner in May.

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