I did this with the spring practices and it seemed successful, so in the interest of continuing the tradition I'll throw out some names to keep an eye on during fall camp. These may be newcomers, players coming off redshirts, or players that may not be well known but could make an impact.
Note: The freshman names that aren't in the SBNation database link to their Coug Commit's done here at Coug Center. Click the names for more information about the players.
James Montgomery: Thanks to SDCoug for reminding me about this. Montgomery is the storyline this fall for the Cougs. By now, you all know what happened. The recovery of Montgomery -- and his subsequent return to the field this year -- is nothing short of amazing. How he responds to the rigors of the season will go a long way in determining how the offense runs this year. Even 80-90 percent of Montgomery would be great at this point. If nothing else, it's an impressive story.
Brandon Rankin: The best reason to watch the defensive line is Rankin right now. He's a mammoth in person -- easily passing the eye test -- and has had his way with the offensive line in practices. The more time he spends in the opposing backfield, the better it is for our defense. Between Rankin and Travis Long, the defensive line has talent we haven't seen in a while.
C.J. Mizell: Mizell is a wildcard this year. After being highly recruited coming out of high school (committed to FSU), Mizell was out a year and secretly committed to WSU just before signing day. The staff doesn't seem sure where he's going to play (even mentioned him at MLB), but the odds are that he's going to be plugged into the linebacker rotation. Keep an eye on Mizell to see how he adjusts after a year off from football.
Connor Halliday: Yes, Halliday is expected to redshirt, but the fall camp is the first opportunity for many to see him in action. Halliday has a big arm and a ton of potential. Seeing him in practice may be the only chance to get a look at him this year, so take advantage of it. He could have a camp like Jeff Tuel did last year and blow everyone's socks off in the process.
Aaron Dunn: Keeping it in Spokane, Dunn was the cornerstone of the recruiting class. He's big, he's athletic, and he should be a joy to watch over the coming years. Physically, he shouldn't need a year to redshirt either. I'd expect him to come in and compete for an immediate spot in the TE rotation.
Isiah Barton: The junior college transfer should come in and make an impact right away. With the lack of depth at WR, the Cougs need to add playmakers in short order. Barton attended Fresno State -- where he did not play -- before attending a year of JC and committing to the Cougs. His experience and age should provide some help to a receiver corps that needs it.
Bobby Ratliff: At WR, freshmen will need to step in right away and play. Ratliff is one that can make an impact quickly and provide some much needed depth at the position. Don't believe me? Go to the tape.
Rickey Galvin: The running back spot still has some question marks. We don't know how Montgomery will respond when he returns to action -- he will play -- and the depth behind him is a muddled mess. Galvin has a chance to step in and play right away, also adding depth to the position if needed.
Jamal Atofau and Casey Locker: My two favorite safeties. These two are fun to watch as a tandem in the defensive backfield. They may not start, but they will compete every step of the way. For some little guys, these two lay hat.
LeAndre Daniels: I didn't remember much about Daniels -- he did break his leg early in the season last year -- but one look at him during the spring game made me wonder "who the heck is that" aloud. If you haven't seen him, he's got the look of a big heavy hitting safety. At 6'2 and 208 lbs, he's an intimidating presence in the backfield. Keep an eye on him, he's hard to miss.
Wade Jacobsen: Dude's got a mean streak at the tackle spot. I feel a little bit more confident with Jacobsen protecting Tuel's blind side.
Jacob and Lucas Sealby: Yes, these guys are walk-ons, but twins! The Sealby's are also terrific athletes, especially on the track.
Austin Ehlo: Because of the family name, duh.
Keep an eye on these guys if you're in Pullman. Practice may be the only time you see some of the redshirting players, but getting a glimpse of the future is always exciting. There's a strong chance that many of these guys will also be playing on Saturdays this fall, too. For WSU to rebuild, some of these players will need to rise to the challenge on the field this year and in the coming years.
The official athletics site has the full roster heading into camp. It includes new height/weight listings for the returning players and adds the new freshmen to the roster.