Washington State Depth Chart: The Defense And Special Teams

We already went over the offensive depth chart, so now it's time to take a look at the defensive side. While we're at it, might as well go over special teams as well.

(RS) = Player used his redshirt season. * = Player is a walk-on.

Defensive Linemen

Seniors: Travis Long, Lenard Williams, Adam Coerper (RS), Skylar Stormo (RS), Anthony Laurenzi (RS), Steven Hoffart (RS), Justin Mann (RS)*

Juniors: Ian Knight (RS), Jordan Pu'u Robinson (RS), Justin Clayton (RS), Ioane Gauta, Zach Brevick (RS)*, Matthew Brock (RS)*

Sophomores: Kalafitoni Pole (RS)

Freshman: Robert Barber, Keith Ewing, Destiny Vaeao, Darryl Paulo (RS), Xavier Cooper (RS), David Davis (RS), Eddie Releford (RS)*, Hamza Griffin (RS)*

Scholarships: 17

Overview

No position group has a bigger scholarship allocation on the WSU roster than the defensive line. Even if we assume Ewing will move to linebacker, that is still 16 scholarship guys for three starting spots. I think we can assume Travis Long will play a major role in the defense next season. It's also not a major stretch to think Pole will see significant time. The other spot, whether it be at NT or DE, is still up for grabs. The sheer amount of players on the defensive line should provide a nice rotation for Mike Breske to utilize.

2012 Recruiting Class Impact

We've already determined Barber and Vaeao are four year starters correct? Now that Kyle's brain has exploded, my guess is that the two true freshman redshirt while Gauta sees time in the NT rotation. As with the entire defensive line, a lot is up in the air with the newcomers. Fall camp will be a great measuring stick for this group.

Linebacker

Seniors: Louis Bland (RS)

Juniors: C.J. Mizell, Eric Oertel, Sekope Kaufusi (RS), Darren Markle (RS), Phillip Brandt (RS)*

Sophomores: Logan Mayes, Darryl Monroe, Chester Su'a, Cyrus Coen*, Paul Lutgen (RS)*

Freshman: Jeremiah Allison, Khalil Pettway, Kache Palacio, Jacob Tuivaiave, Tana Pritchard (RS)

Scholarships: 13

Overview

There are a few question marks here, especially with the switch to a 3-4 defense. Bland's status is still unknown, while Oertel is still listed as a linebacker on the official roster despite playing running back last season. It's also possible we will see a few of the current defensive ends move to outside linebacker. Mizell, Kaufusi and Su'a are leading candidates to start, but the shift to four linebackers makes it all a relative unknown.

2012 Recruiting Class Impact

Leach and his staff targeted a number of players who fit the mold of an outside linebacker in the 3-4. That to me says, they don't think they have the depth currently on campus. I think a couple of these guys play next season with my money being on Allison and Palacio as the two most likely to play.

Safety

Seniors: Tyree Toomer (RS), Kyle McCartney (RS)*

Juniors: Anthony Carpenter (RS), Deone Bucannon, Casey Locker (RS)

Sophomores: Tyrone Duckett (RS), Matthew Simmons (RS), Trase Pickering (RS)*, Jordan Simone*

Freshman: David Bucannon, Taylor Taliulu, Feddie Davey, Mitchell Peterson (RS)*, Max Gamma (RS)

Scholarships: 10

Overview

Both starters from a year ago return, as does Casey Locker who saw extensive playing time. There is no question, WSU's safeties had issues in coverage last season. Despite a rather large group, Toomer, Bucannon and Locker are the only three with any extensive experience on defense. The others have mostly been relegated to special teams work.

2012 Recruiting Class Impact

You would think with six scholarship players above them, the incoming recruits would be in like to redshirt. However, would it really surprise you to see an older player or two get surpassed? I still tend to think all three will redshirt, but a strong fall camp could change that.

Cornerback

Seniors: Daniel Simmons (RS), Travion Smith (RS)*

Juniors: Nolan Washington (RS), Damante Horton

Sophomores: Spencer Waseem, Tracy Clark (RS), Brandon Golden (RS)

Freshman:

Scholarships: 6

Overview

While this group struggled at times last season, it would not surprise me to see significant progress in 2012. Simmons and Washington have battled injuries throughout their careers while Horton has shown glimpses of being a solid player. Waseem, Clark and Golden are still relative unknowns, if one or more develops, depth may not be the concern it currently is.

2012 Recruiting Class Impact

With Alphonso Marsh headed to Utah and Raymond Ford picking Cal, WSU missed out on two of its main cornerback targets. This could be a high priority position in the 2013 class.

Specialists

Seniors: Alex Guaper (RS)*-Kicker, Zach Koepp (RS)*-Snapper

Juniors: Andrew Furney*-Kicker,

Sophomores: Alex Den Bleyker*-Snapper, Mike Bowlin (RS)-Kicker

Freshman: Tyler McNannay*-Kicker

Scholarships: 1

Overview

You may notice there is no punter listed. McNannay and Bowlin have experience punting so barring another walk-on punter, one of those is likely to get the call in the rare instances where WSU punts next season. Furney was glamorous last season and will likely retain the field goal job at least initially.

2012 Recruiting Class Impact

Bowlin will contribute from day one as a kickoff specialist but could easily see his role expand either to field goals or as a punter. Regardless, fixing kickoff coverage is a major issue and Bowlin will be a big part of that.

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