FIRST LOOK: Post-spring depth chart, analysis

INCOMING PREPSTERS are rarely, if ever, listed by Washington State on its post-spring football depth chart. But one is this year. And junior college transfers, while always listed, usually are slotted at this time of year at the bottom of their position tree. But there are four exceptions this time around, with a starter among them.

As for the incoming high school recruit who cracked the list, it's cornerback Chima Nwachukwu. He's slotted at No. 2 on the right side behind Markus Dawes.

His unexpected presence there likely speaks to both the Cougs' lack of depth at the corner spot and to Nwachukwu's rather large upside.

A full analysis follows the depth chart:

Post-Spring Practice 2007

WE  96 **  [0] MIKE GRAISE (6-3, 214, #Jr.)
    93  *  [0] Kevin Kooyman (6-5, 236, So.)
          [Tr] Jesse Feagin (6-3, 255, Jr.)

LT  75 *** [9] ROPATI PITOITUA (6-8, 291, Sr.)
    77 **  [1] Matt Eichelberger (6-4, 312,#Jr.)
    90   [dnp] Toby Turpin (6-5, 259, #Fr.)
    65     [0] Adam Hineline (6-2, 305, #Jr.)

RT  40 *** [8] AARON JOHNSON (6-7, 317, #Sr.) OR
    92 **  [3] A'I AHMU (6-1, 289, Jr.)

    99 *   [3] Bryan Tarkington (6-4, 320, #Sr.)
SE  58 **[dnp] MATT MULLENNIX (6-7, 257, #Sr.)OR
     9 ** [12] LANCE BROADUS (6-2, 219, Sr.)

          [Tr] Oga Faumui (6-2, 285, Jr.)
SLB 38 **  [0] CORY EVANS (6-1, 227, Jr.)
    45 *   [0] Andy Mattingly (6-4, 229, So.)

MLB 52 ** [12] GREG TRENT (5-11, 219, Jr.)
          [Tr] Wyman Alexander (6-2, 245, Jr.)
    50 *   [0] Brady Emmons (5-10, 211, #So.)
WLB 51 * [dnp] JASON STRIPLING (5-11, 220, #So.)
    44 *   [0] Alex Hamill (6-0, 222, #Jr.)

RCB 32 *   [0] MARKUS DAWES (6-0, 196, #Sr.)
         [dnp] Chima Nwachukwu (5-10, 192, Fr.)
    10 **  [0] Ryan Kensok (5-8, 164, #Jr.)
    47   [dnp] Jason Walters (5-9, 171, So.)

SS  24 *** [0] CHRISTIAN BASS (6-2, 213, #Sr.)
          [Tr] Terry Mixon (6-1, 190, Jr.)
    25   [dnp] Cornorris Atkins (6-2, 189, Fr.)
FS 23 *** [12] HUSAIN ABDULLAH (6-1, 178, #Sr.)
   26 *    [0] Xavier Hicks (6-0, 196, #So.)
LCB 36 *   [0] B.T. WALKER (6-1, 167, #Sr.)
          [Tr] Devin Giles (5-11, 170, So.)
    28 *   [2] Brian Williams (6-1, 167, #Sr.)
P    8 *   [0] DARRYL BLUNT (6-0, 184, #Jr.)
    32     [0] Reid Forrest (6-2, 175, So.)


SE 86 *   [2] CHARLES DILLON (6-0, 190, Sr.)
   15 **  [0] Benny Ward (6-3, 186, Jr.)
    3 *   [0] Finas Rabb III (6-6, 190, Sr.)
   81   [dnp] Greg Walker (6-4, 180, #Fr.)
LT 55    [Tr] VAUGHN LESUMA (6-5, 340, Jr.)
   67   [dnp] Joe Eppele (6-7, 277, #Fr.)
   52   [dnp] Nick Cantlon (6-5, 274, #Jr.)
LG 70 ***[10] BOBBY BYRD (6-7, 316, #Sr.)
   72 *   [0] Derek Hunter (6-3, 280, Jr.)
   64   [dnp] Jimmy Magee (6-3, 285, #So.)
   79   [dnp] Brian Danaher (6-2, 257, #Fr.)
   78   [dnp] Zach Enyeart (6-1, 254, #Fr.)
C  69 *   [9] KENNY ALFRED (6-2, 293, #So.)
   71   [dnp] Grady Maxwell (6-2, 325, #Fr.)
   72   [dnp] Chris Prummer (6-1, 236, #Fr.)
RG 74 **  [5] ANDY ROOF (6-5, 299, #Jr.)
   54     [0] Jacob McKinney (6-3, 278, #Jr.)
   56   [dnp] Jeff Bowen (6-2, 259, #Jr.)
RT 60 **  [9] DAN ROWLANDS (6-5, 290, #Jr.)
   76   [dnp] Micah Hannam (6-4, 292, #Fr.)
   75     [0] Scott Friberg (6-4, 290, #So.)
TE 41 *** [4] JED COLLINS (6-2, 251, Sr.)
   48 *   [0] Ben Woodard (6-5, 249, #Jr.)
   80    [Tr] Devin Frischknecht (6-3, 250, Jr.)
   46 *   [0] Tony Thompson (6-2, 237, #So.)
SB  5 ***[10] MICHAEL BUMPUS (6-0, 195, Sr.)
   87   [dnp] Keith Rosenberg (5-10, 194, #Fr.)
   22 **  [0] Michael Willis (6-2, 213, Jr.)
QB 10 ***[12] ALEX BRINK (6-3, 215, #Sr.)
   17     [0] Gary Rogers (6-7, 234, #Jr.)
   18     [0] Cole Morgan (6-2, 198, #So.)
   12   [dnp] Kevin Lopina (6-3, 229, #So.)
RB 31 *  [10] DWIGHT TARDY (5-11, 212, #So.)
   34 *   [0] Chris Ivory (5-11, 213, So.)
   20 *   [0] Kevin McCall (5-11, 218, #Sr.)
   30   [dnp] Marcus Richmond (6-1, 200, #Fr.)
FL  4 **  [9] BRANDON GIBSON (6-1, 204, Jr.)
   84 *   [0] Scott Selby (6-5, 231, #Jr.)
   88   [dnp] Anthony Houston (6-3, 190, #Fr.)
PAT 19 *  [3] Romeen Abdollmohammadi (6-0, 228, #Sr.)
    27 ***[9] Loren Langley (5-8, 151, Sr.)


KO:          19 R. Abdollmohammadi (6-0, 228, #Sr.)
FIELD GOALS: 19 R. Abdollmohammadi (6-0, 228, #Sr.)
LONG SNAPS:  46 Tony Thompson (6-2, 237, #So.)
             59 Peter Hill (6-1, 233, #Jr.)
HOLDER:      17 Gary Rogers (6-7, 234, #Jr.)
P-RETURNS:    5 Michael Bumpus (6-0, 195, Sr.)
KO-RETURN:    6 Charles Dillon (6-0, 190, Sr.)
              4 Brandon Gibson (6-1, 204, Jr.)
Offense - TBA
Defense - TBA
[ ] = Number of 2006 starts.
* = Varsity letters earned
# = Has redshirted
Revised: 04-16-07

Chima Nwachukwu, plus the d-ends, offensive line, linebackers and more
Nwachukwu will be starting his WSU career early, enrolling for summer school in June and taking part in voluntary summer workouts, further enhancing his chances to earn turns this year.

The 5-10, 192-pound Nwachukwu out of Allen, Texas, has been oft-mentioned by Doba as among those in the class most capable of earning early playing time. It's no wonder -- his coaches at powerhouse Allen High told CF.C last year that the lad's work against the state's top receiving talent, including a pair of 4-star recruits who signed with Texas, was nothing less than superb.

The cornerback position is one of the few positions conducive to a true freshman, albeit a special one, coming in and earning playing time and/or even a starting position. Nwachukwu might be one of those special players. From a long term perspective, his prospects look similarly bright -- Jason David did not start a game as true frosh and he certainly did okay. Marcus Trufant did start for the Cougs in seven games in 1999 and in that year, similar to how '07 looks, the Cougs were thin at corner.

  • Defensive ends Matt Mullennix and Lance Broadus are listed as either/or starters on the strong side. If both are healthy, they would figure to be the two starters, but Broadus' shoulder injury might preclude him from being ready when the season starts, and Mullennix was limited this spring as he rehabbed a knee injury. As such, Mike Graise is listed as the starter at Mkristo Bruce's old spot on the weak side.

  • Keep an eye on linebacker Jason Stripling this year. The sophomore sat out last season with a shoulder injury but is the starter on the weak side and hit like a Mack truck this spring. The Cougs have four good looking linebackers in starters Greg Trent, Cory Evans and Stripling, along with Andy Mattingly, who is expected to see plenty of playing time. Alex Hamill also showed solid improvement this spring.

  • The Cougs are thin on the offensive line in the two-deeps and particularly at offensive tackle. Dan Rowlands is solid, but he played mostly guard and center last season. He and Lesuma are the listed starters on the bookends. Bobby Byrd moves back inside this season -- he started nine games at left guard as a redshirt freshman. Kenny Alfred and Andy Roof are the starting center and right guard, respectively. With injuries almost always playing a role, the key to how well the unit performs in '06 might be found in how much backups Joe Eppele, Micah Hannam, Derek Hunter and Jacob McKinney have developed.

  • Keith Rosenberg has climbed to the No. 2 slotback behind Michael Bumpus. Chris Ivory, who missed part of the spring to be with his ailing mother, she has since improved and Ivory, who returns to campus this week, is the No. 2 to starting running back behind Dwight Tardy. Ivory had a very good showing in his limited work, and would appear to be poised to see significant playing time irrespective of Hutsona and Woolridge's situations turn out.

  • Junior college players are usually listed below current players on the roster until they get into fall camp and coaches get a good chance to see what they can do. Three, however, are listed in the 2-deeps, including 6-5, 340-pound Vaughn Lesuma as the starter at right tackle. While he didn't participate in contact drills because of a wrist injury, coaches saw enough of him in the just-concluded spring drills to project him there.

    Terry Mixon won't arrive at WSU until the fall and until he does, it wouldn't make sense to anoint him as a starter, but he certainly has the potential. He is listed as a the backup to fifth-year senior Christian Bass at strong safety with Cornorris Atkins the No. 3.

    Devin Giles is listed as the No. 2 corner on the left side behind B.T. Walker, while tight end Devin Frischknecht is the No. 3 tight end behind starter Jed Collins and Ben Woodard.

    A few players might be listed further down the depth chart than expected, usually due to injury and having had to sit out portions of the spring. Corner Brian Williams, for example, is listed third on the depth chart at corner after missing the final two scrimmages.

    Still, if Williams, who showed promise in the first part of the '06 season comes out in fall camp and blows up, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him rocketing up the chart before the opener at Wisconsin. He was the first corner off the bench most of last year.

    For other players, their injury situation might be reflected on the depth chart differently. The availability of Fevaea'i Ahmu (foot) and Aaron Johnson (back) for next season has yet to be determined and may not be resolved until sometime during the fall camp session. Both are listed as co-starters at right tackle.

    Other players, in addition to the incoming freshmen, aren't listed at all -- DeMaundray Woolridge, Derrell Hutsona are not on the depth chart. Nor is DeWayne Patterson.

    Patterson, a senior safety, did participate in spring ball but in the current academic year, he remains ineligible and until final grades come out, and that could also mean final grades for the summer sessions, Patterson will remain a question mark as do Hutsona and Woolridge. The latest word on the trio from Bill Doba came during spring ball, when he said the three have some work to do in the classroom before their eligibility can be determined.

    Another JC player, whom Doba has said has some work to do in order to make it in, is Wyman Alexander. He is listed as second on the depth chart behind starting MLB Greg Trent.

    So does that mean there's some reading between the lines to be done here? Again, probably not. More likely is that Alexander is listed at No. 2 because of his vast potential. But it doesn't necessarily mean he's any more likely -- or any less likely -- to make it in.

    The bottom line is this post-spring ball depth chart is a guide -- it's a good guide -- but it's also most decidedly written in pencil. The final depth chart prior to Wisconsin will likely see movement and look decidedly different in some spots.

    Still, and while keeping it in context, it's a very interesting first look at how the Cougs line up coming out of spring ball.

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