WSU Football Recruiting: Actual offensive line depth?

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

After playing last season with essentially zero offensive line depth, the 2013 Cougars should have more depth in 2013.

Between injuries, redshirts and overall ineptitude, Washington State spent most of last season with six offensive lineman. Some teams have six left tackles on the depth chart, but WSU had six offensive lineman ... total.

Depth should be much less of an issue this season as several redshirt freshman will now be active. Whether or not WSU has enough talent remains to be seen, but in terms of just bodies, the Cougars are moving in the right direction. The 2013 recruiting class should boost for the offensive line depth even more as WSU currently has a number of verbal commitments.

A complete roster breakdown for 2013 can be found here.

The returners:

John Fullington (SR)

Fullington will return for his senior season as a three-year starter. Fullington's career has been an interesting one as he's bounced between tackle and guard. Fullington was once thought to be one of the up and coming lineman in the Pac-12 but seemed to regress somewhat last season. Regardless of the depth, Fullington will still likely be in the mix to start, most likely at left guard.

Gunnar Eklund (RSSO)

Eklund opened the season as a walk-on with no game experience and ended the season as the starting left tackle. That both says something about the state of WSU's offensive line and Eklund's improvement. As you'd expect for a redshirt freshman walk-on Eklund had issues at times, but also held his own at others.

Jake Rodgers (RSJR)

Rodgers was one of the six to play a significant role last season but never seemed to settle in at either right tackle or right guard. He has some experience and should help fill out the two deep, but he will likely have to compete for a starting job this season.

Elliott Bosch (RSSR)

Bosch started at center all season and was often praised by Mike Leach for being the most consistent offensive lineman. While no one is a lock to start at this point, Bosch has a firm grip over the starting center job.

Pierson Villarrubia (RSFR)

Villarrubia was one of several players to redshirt last season. At 6'4 270 pounds, he's a bit undersized for the wide splits WSU will use, but Villarruibia has likely added some weight during his redshirt season. He, along with the other redshirt freshman will begin battling for a spot on the depth chart in spring football.

Eduardo Middleton (RSFR)

Middleton came to WSU slightly bigger than Villarrubia at 6'5 294 pounds. Several analysts were high on Middleton coming out of high school so it will be interesting to see how he fits into the equation next season.

Matt Goetz (RSSR)

Goetz started at center during his sophomore season, but struggled to break into the rotation last season. He served as the sixth offensive lineman and rotated in at times, but not being able to break into the starting lineup despite very little competition probably does bode well.

Moritz Christ (RSSO)

We haven't seen much from Christ since he came over from Germany. He remains an unknown heading into spring football.

Denzell Dotson (RSFR)

While a number of the redshirt freshman project at tackle, Dotson should factor in at either guard or center. He came to WSU with some size at 6'2 308 pounds and enrolled early so he already has a year under his belt. At worst Dotson should be on the two-deep but I wouldn't be surprised to see him push for playing time at either guard spot.

Nui Sale (RSJR)

Sale is a large human at 6'4 334 pounds. While size is not a problem, there is still some question where Sale will fit in. He redshirted last year after coming out of junior college, but also moved between offense and defense. We'll see where he lands in spring football.

Sam Flor (RSFR)

Like Middleton and Villarrubia, Flor redshirted last season and will likely compete for depth chart positioning at both tackle spots.

Rico Forbes (RSSR)

Forbes is an interesting name to remember. He came to WSU from junior college and was billed as a future starter at tackle. After redshirting his first season, Forbes appeared to be on his way to starting at right tackle last season before tearing his ACL during fall camp and missing the entire season. If healthy, he should once again be in the mix to start on the outside and may even be one of the favorites to start.

The newcomers:

Riley Sorenson (3-star)

Sorenson committed to WSU on Monday over several offers from other Pac-12 schools. At 6'5 320 pounds, he already has the size to play in the Pac-12 and with so many unknowns on the current depth chart it's not out of the realm of possibility that Sorenson could play this season with a strong showing in fall camp.

Kyle's take: Coug fans shouldn't have to wait long to see Sorenson on the field. At 6'5 and 320 pounds, he's absolutely massive. He played every position, save center, on the offensive line this past season, and helped lead Santa Margarita Catholic to a state championship.

Cody O'Connell (2-star)

Sorenson may be big, but O'Connell is huge. At 6'8 350 pounds, O'Connell will be the biggest player on the roster the day he steps on campus. He's coming off a torn ACL, however, and is likely to redshirt to ensure he is healthy going forward.

Kyle's take: O'Connell is a massive human being. Listed at 6'8 and 350 pounds, he's one of the biggest players I can ever remember coming in as a high schooler. Hell, he's one of the biggest Cougs I can remember period. I think Sam Lightbody was an inch taller, but wasn't 350. I've said it before, and I'll repeat it here: gamble on extreme size or extreme speed, please. O'Connell is a nice player, though he's relied heavily on his size throughout his HS career. During his senior season, he tore his ACL. He should be ready in time for next season, but I think they might redshirt him anyway to be safe. Perhaps hit the weight room and get even stronger.

Matt Meyer (3-star)

Meyer is the highest ranked of the offensive tackle recruits, checking in at No. 59 on Scout.com's ranking. Another player with plenty of size, Meyer will likely be in the mix to play, but ultimately end up redshirting.

Kyle's take: Meyer is one of those big, strong kids from Whatcom County that Sherwood loves to talk about. At 6'6 and 290 pounds, dude is a mauler. I think with guys like Meyer, O'Connell, and Freeman, Leach is starting to get the guys he wants on the OL. Wide splits require you to be one-on-one most of the time, and size is a premium. No longer will the Cougs have to worry about throwing out a 260 pound OT. My guess is Meyer redshirts as well, hits the weights, and sees some time in 2014.

Jacob Seydel (2-star)

The lone junior college offensive lineman of the 2013 class, Seydel enrolled early and will have the benefit of going through spring football. He has a redshirt season available, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him on the field in some capacity next season.

Kyle's take: Seydel is a JC kid that will come in and play right away giving the young linemen that redshirted last year some time to learn. I'm not sure Seydel starts, but he should be in the rotation at the very least. Another big kid for those wide splits, Seydel is 6'6 and 285. Could bulk up to 300+, as Leach likes 'em a bit bigger than Wulff did.

Cole Madison (3-star)

At 6'6 270 Madison isn't the smallest guy in a room very often, but when he comes to the 2013 crop of recruits, he's actually the lightest. That says a lot about the size of the other guys, but could also make it more likely Madison redshirts and spends a year in the conditioning program.

Kyle's take: Madison is an interesting prospect, because he was a TE in high school, and Scout is listing him as a Guard. Leach doesn't use TEs, but he does use former TEs in the Y position. Madison is a pass catching TE, so converting him to WR wouldn't be out of the question. I think he could gain some weight and play OL, but blocking wasn't his strong suit, necessarily (though he was used mainly as a pass catcher, so he wasn't asked to block much). I honestly have no idea where he winds up. Hell, they could flip him to DE if they wanted to. I'm pretty confident he redshirts, hits the weights, and then they figure it out in 2014. It's a good problem to have, though.

Carlos Freeman (3-star)

Freeman played center in high school and as a result it wouldn't surprise me to see him play this season. Bosch is likely to be the starter, but WSU doesn't have much experienced depth behind him. Dotson could potentially be the No. 2 center, but he also might factor in at guard this season. Either way, Freeman is likely to have a legitimate shot to play this season.

Kyle's take: Freeman is a really athletic lineman who also excelled as a wrestler in high school. The theme in terms of OL prospects seems to be "bigger is better", and Freeman is no exception. He's 6'3, 290 pounds already. He played everywhere on the line, much like Denzell Dotson did in HS, so he has the ability to play other spots if needed. His versatility and athleticism are big pluses. I think he winds up redshirting now that we finally have a little bit of depth.

B.J. Salmonson (2-star)

Salmonson grayshirted last season, before arriving in Pullman in January. Barring a very strong showing in spring football and fall camp, Salmonson is likely to redshirt this season.

The targets:

After adding Sorenson to the class on Monday, WSU should be nearly done for 2013. They may, however, be in the mix for one more offensive lineman as Kyle noted in the latest CougCenter podcast and again below.

Dwayne Johnson, OG, Bellaire, TX
Yes, his name is Dwayne Johnson, and if he signs with us, he'll immediately become known as The People's Champ. Johnson is a big kid at 6'6 and 275, and he hails from the same school as current Coug Keith Ewing. His offer sheet is pretty impressive: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Purdue, Virginia, Colorado, to name a few. I'm guessing he winds up in Fayetteville, but I think we have a shot.

2013 outlook:

In terms of just sheer numbers, WSU is without a doubt heading in the right direction. Counting players on scholarship or with starting experience, WSU will have 19 offensive lineman next season. Even if all the incoming players redshirt, the Cougars will have 12 active offensive lineman. For the first time in what seems like ages, WSU should be able to form a legitimate two-deep.

Now, the downside of the current roster is while there are bodies, the vast majority lack significant experience. We won't really know how the offensive line shapes up until fall camp, but at least there should be options. Assuming a few of these guys can play, WSU should have some solid depth for the next few seasons.

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