Scouting the PAC 10: Washington State

A PAC Ten title, the graduation of their top players on either side of the ball as well as the defection of a veteran head coach…how can Wazzu recover? It may be easier then stated as the Cougars bring back a talented team NFL scouts have interest in.

FSU transfer Devard Darling looks like a star for the future as the game breaking wide out consistently caught the eye of scouts with his ability to hit the home run play. A speedy receiver with consistent hands, look for Darling to have a big campaign in '03 and move up charts next April if he leaves the Paulose early. Running back Jermaine Green is a solid interior ball carrier but a slowish back with minimal explosion. Taking the place of departed quarterback Jason Gesser is Matt Kegel, a strong-armed passer who showed well filling in for the injured Gesser last season. Kegel could move into the middle rounds with a good season in '03. Finally a talented lineman, Calvin Armstrong has done a solid job on the weak-side the previous two years for Wazzu. He has a good degree of upside but must start to kick it into gear, become more physical and improve his run blocking.

The strength of the Cougar squad for the upcoming season?  The defense which contains several solid prospects. While many concentrated on Outland Trophy winner Rein Long last season they dismissed the fact that Wazzu used a rotational system up front and several players contributed to the units success. Jeremy Williams is a powerful plugger in the middle that gets a lot of push up the field, collapsing the pocket and stuffing the run. More of a straight-line defender, he must be charted this season. Isaac Brown and D.D. Achoionu are both fierce yet undersized pass rushers that project to outside linebacker at the next level.  Both have the athletic skills to succeed. Linebacker Don Jackson is undersized for the middle but runs all over the field, head-hunting for the ball and making positive plays. He's a nice fit in a three-four system. Corner Jason David is a solid cover-man with great instincts and explosion. Davis has a terrific break on the pass and mixes it up but barely 5-foot 8-inches, he projects to nickel at the next level. Safety Erik Coleman is a playmaker in center field, effective against both the run and pass but like David, comes up a little shy in the size department. One who needs a big season to be considered is lineman Tai Tupai. Once a promising prospect Tupai fell out of condition last season and as a result saw minimal action. He must get back to the level of play displayed his sophomore season of '01 and improve from there.

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