Defense takes a hit in already thin secondary

THE PADS DON'T go on for another five weeks, but Washington State's defense looks to have taken a big hit at a position where depth already is a concern. Tyron Brackenridge, who came out of spring ball in a dead heat with Omowale Dada for the starting spot at left corner, doesn't appear likely to meet NCAA eligibility requirements for 2005, according to WSU Associate Athletic Director Rod Commons.

Brackenridge is in school and can practice with the team, but the chances of him suiting up for games in 2005 are slim, Commons said.

Brackenridge (5-11, 185) came to WSU a year ago after two stellar years at Chaffey Junior College. He saw limited action on the Cougar defense in 2004, but excelled on kickoff returns, leading the Cougars with 14 for 311 yards.

His absence in 2005 puts Dada (5-11, 198) in the driver's seat for the starting line up, with Don Turner (6-0, 183), the junior from Spokane, slated at the backup role on the left side.

Right corner is expected to held down by senior Alex Teems, a starter in 2004. His backup is slated to be second-year freshman Ian Bell, though his status could be a bit uncertain following an ankle injury during spring workouts.

Ryan Kensok, a walk-on from Spokane, is the only other bonafide returning corner on the roster, thus putting a newfound spotlight on incoming cornerback recruits Shelton Danzy of Seattle and James Bradley of Garland, Texas.

Danzy (5-10, 182), from Rainier Beach High, was rated one of the nation's top 40 cornerback prospects in the class of 2005. He starred on both sides of the ball, but made a lasting mark on defense, where he tallied 88 tackles (63 solo) including 8 sacks and 12 tackles-for-loss. Had also had four INTs and four fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 80 yards for a TD.

Bradley (5 9 1/2, 170) has great hips and a very quick first step. At South Garland High last season he had 58 tackles, five INTs, eight pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and remarkable seven blocked field goals/PATs.

IN ADDITION, multi-talented newcomers Lorenzo Bursey (5-9, 170) and Brandon Gibson (6-1, 190), both targeted for receiver, have been mentioned by head coach Bill Doba as having the skills to play corner. Bursey is a junior college transfer and Gibson comes to Pullman from Puyallup's Rogers High.

Another incoming corner is Nehemiah Mundy of Culver City, Calif., though the plan is to grayshirt him in 2005.

Bursey is a particularly intriguing part of the equation. With a 4.4 time in the 40 and the ability to make wicked cuts at virtually top speed, he was a star running back at kick returner at West Los Angeles College, but in high school he also excelled at corner. By enrolling in summer classes at Washington State, he has been able to join the team for the summer's voluntary workouts. Bursey has three years to play three at WSU.

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