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Gabe Marks headed for a healthy redshirt according to Mike Leach

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The junior caught more balls than anyone on last year's team. Now WSU is willingly holding him out of games.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fans have been wondering for a couple of weeks what's going on with junior wide receiver Gabe Marks, and we now have our answer: Mike Leach revealed at his regular Monday media session that the plan is for Marks to redshirt this season.

Given the reports that Marks was practicing, even sometimes with the scout team to simulate the opposing quarterback, this seemed to be where this was heading all along. While Marks had a strong start to last year, he tailed off as the year went along, catching just three balls in the two critical wins over Arizona and Utah, and even had a fumble lost against the Utes. He then got passed on the depth chart by a pair of seniors -- Isiah Myers, who has been awesome, and Kristoff Williams -- during fall camp.

Rather than reducing Marks to a bit player, holding him out this year to get two more years out of him makes a lot of practical sense.

There also is the little issue of Marks' off-field behavior, which has included some pretty immature run-ins with Pullman police, including a minor assault charge stemming from being underage at a bar. It's unknown whether this is related to that, but it's also sometimes not the worst thing to give a young man some time and space to grow up a little without the pressure to perform.

This obviously could change with injuries. But for what it's worth, it appears Marks is taking it all in stride and practicing his butt off. That should pay dividends in the future, where he'll likely be the No. 1 Z receiver as soon as this spring.