It's not a secret that I'm a fan of WSU's current crop of linebackers. Darryl Monroe headlines the group, but Cyrus Coen and Justin Sagote are solid starters and there is plenty of promising depth at BUCK. I probably think too highly of the group, but I was still surprised to see where they ranked when Ted Miller of the ESPN Pac-12 blog ranked the conference's linebackers.
WSU received a "good shape" rating, which is nice, but based on the order, Miller ranked WSU's 'backers ninth in the Pac-12. My initial reaction was the Cougars were at least four slots too low. Then, I read through Miller's post and remembered how many good linebackers are in this conference. It's almost absurd how stacked the Pac-12 is with linebackers.
It's one of the reasons Monroe will struggle to gain all conference accolades and the reason why the ninth-place ranking isn't as bad as it may seem on the surface. I would probably still slot the Cougars a spot or two higher, especially ahead of Arizona, but the range seems about right.
NFL.com ranked WSU's prospects with Deone Bucannon checking in as the top senior prospect. More on that later this morning.
Washington State 2013 season preview - NFL.com
Any notions that the arrival of head coach Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense could immediately reverse Washington State's fortunes were quickly and emphatically shot down, though an overtime win over rival Washington in the Apple Cup did offer some hope going into the offseason.
Washington State: We think one of the big surprises this year might be how solid the Cougars are on defense, and linebacker is one of several reasons why. Most of the 2012 two-deep is back, though losing OLB Travis Long is a big hit. Darryl Monroe is the leader inside.
The Auburn coach has watched Mike Leach's pass-first offense carve up defenses, however, and it's why the season opener has likely been on his mind for most of the offseason. "Their head coach is one of the better offensive minds in all of college football," Malzahn said. "We know we'll have our hands full."
PHILADELPHIA – Former Washington State University linebacker Travis Long signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Eagles announced Monday afternoon.