KEITH HARRINGTON (Cougfan.com/James Snook)

Forgotten no more: WSU RB Keith Harrington's road back via Spokane

TO UNDERSTAND the true depth of the grin on Keith Harrington's face Saturday in Spokane following the final scrimmage of Washington State's spring season, you must revisit 2016, when the rising fourth-year junior touched the ball exactly four times -- on two rushes and two receptions -- for a grand total of 26 yards.

An undisclosed injury, a shuffle between running back and slot, and the rock solid work of Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and James Williams all conspired to turn his sophomore campaign into a forgettable one that blunted the momentum of his promising 2015 effort.

He's turned in a solid month of work this spring, not the least of which has been his stellar blocking, but Saturday's performance was the type to send a guy dancing into summer conditioning. With Wicks on the sidelines but not suited up and Morrow suited up but dinged with a minor wrist issue, Harrington and Williams ruled the backfield.

Harrington caught nine passes for 87 yards and slashed and dashed 9 times on the ground for 56 more. Williams turned in the same number of total yards, 143, but he did it with 10 catches for 112 and 5 rushes for 31.

Despite the big showing by Harrington, the 5-8, 194-pound St. Petersburg, Fla., product wasn't gloating, as this brief post-game video interview at Albi Stadium attests:

For perspective on Harrington's production Saturday, consider that his 18 touches doubled the COMBINED total from last season and the first two scrimmages of this spring.

Running backs coach Jim Mastro said earlier this month that the Cougars would steadfastly stick with a three-person -- not four-person -- rotation in the backfield in 2017 and that all four were neck and neck. Mike Leach tossed a bit of a wildcard into the mix last week by experimenting with Morrow -- last year's all-purpose king -- at slot receiver.

Spring ball doesn't end until Tuesday's final practice, but you can bet the running back rotation will be one of the most hotly contested battles on the Cougars when they reconvene in August.

HARRINGTON A POPULAR TARGET FOR AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS FOLLOWING SATURDAY'S GAME: 

KEITH HARRINGTON (Cougfan.com photo)


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