Cougar cornerback out for spring

WASHINGTON STATE's ALREADY-THIN secondary will be missing one of its starting cornerbacks this spring season, with Devin Giles sitting out the 15 practices in order to concentrate on academics, Paul Wulff said on Friday. Giles' absence this spring offers a big-time opportunity for three aspiring starters to stake a claim.

Pending Giles' availability when fall camp rolls around in August -- a little over five months from now -- spring on the Palouse could now conceivably see the first auditions for not just developing the CB pecking order as to depth, but also as to who could start on the island opposite Chima Nwachukwu, a true freshman who started every game for Wazzu at the right cornerback spot in '07.

Giles, who used his redshirt year in junior college, has two years of eligibility remaining.

TWO OF THE CORNERS JOINING NWACHUKWU on the field this spring will be Tyrone Justin and Romeo Pellum. Justin redshirted in '07 while Pellum saw limited action.

Justin might be one to keep an eye on, he showed rapid improvement and considerable athleticism on the scout team last year. A dedicated offseason hitting the weights could help his starting goals, his roster weight last year was listed at 151 pounds spread out over a 5-10 frame.

Pellum (5-10, 162) meanwhile saw action in nine games, logging nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

And then, the (first) wildcard in all of this when spring ball gets underway on March 17 is Markus Dawes -- he has petitioned for a medical hardship waiver and if granted would receive an extra year of eligibility.

Dawes appeared destined to start after signing with WSU out of junior college in 2006 but a high ankle sprain in the '06 opener shuttered much of his first season. In 2007, after earning a starting spot in spring workouts, injuries to both shoulders limited his participation to two games.

Until the decision is handed down on his request for the extra year, Dawes is allowed to practice with the Cougars, and he will be cracking pads in spring ball.

AND THE PLOT COULD thicken considerably out on the island when fall camp gets underway.

That's because Washington State signed three prep corners in their 2008 class, and cornerback is one of the few positions conducive to a prep standout being able to come in and play at the college level right away -- and Kevin Frank, Terrance Hayward and Daniel Simmons all arrive this summer.

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