Gunnar Eklund has been a key member of the WSU offensive line for the last two seasons. Here are five things that you should know about Eklund as we approach the 2014 season:
Name - Gunnar Eklund
Position - Offensive Line
Year - RS Junior
Height/Weight: 6'7", 310 pounds * as listed in 2014 Spring Guide
Hometown: Lake Stevens, WA
Five things to know
1. Former walk-on - Eklund came to WSU without a scholarship and redshirted for the 2011 year. He spent some of his high school career at Lake Stevens playing at the fullback and tight end positions before he matured into a much bigger frame.
2. Learning with Long - This article from 2013 by Bud Withers that appeared in the Seattle Times talks about Eklund's ascendance from a walk-on to a starter before the midway point of his redshirt freshman season. In the article, Withers mentions how Eklund caught the attention of coaches by putting Long on his back in a drill. Eklund credits working against Long as a major reason for his improvement as an offensive lineman.
3. A man on the move - Eklund started each of last year's regular season games at the left tackle position. For the New Mexico Bowl against Colorado State he moved to the left guard position. Heading into spring Eklund was listed as the No. 1 left guard for the Cougs.
4. WSU's best offensive lineman? Elliot Bosch was WSU's best offensive lineman last year. Bosch and John Fullington are now gone and Eklund has the most game seniority of any member of the WSU offensive with a seven game advantage over projected starting left tackle Joe Dahl. Eklund will carry with him the highest expectations of any member of the young Cougar offensive line heading into the 2014 season.
5. Into the future - As a redshirt junior, Eklund has a considerable amount of time to improve and ready himself to play at the next level. The versatility of being able to play both the tackle and guard positions may benefit Eklund as it has Fullington who is currently on the Green Bay Packers roster. NFL teams like versatility on the offensive line because it helps them with depth issues.