The defensive line was arguably the best unit of last years plagued WSU defense, but it will need to reload after losing starters Xavier Cooper and Toni Pole. Redshirt Junior Reggie Coates, who is listed on the roster as a linebacker, but is second on the depth chart at defensive end, could help replace some of the lost production along the line.
Well, 2014, wasn't very newsworthy for Coates, other than his arrival in Pullman. He is one of multiple coaches and players on the current Cougar team with ties to Nevada. The Spokesman Review reported his arrival to WSU on Sept. 2, saying Coates followed WSU linebackers coach Ken Wilson from Nevada to the Palouse. Coates appears to have only played in two games in 2013 for the Wolfpack, registering six tackles. He played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2012, primarily on special teams and was credited with three tackles and a pass broken up. He was a 2-star prospect out of Crespi High School in Encino Calif. He chose Nevada over offers from Iowa State and Washington because of their coaching staff, and renowned library (:35 mark of the clip).
Coates hasn't seen live game action since Sept. 7 2013 but he is already listed on WSU's two deep so look for him to shake off the dust in 2015. He played a lot of defensive end with the second team in spring practices along with Jeremiah Mitchell and Hercules Mata'afa. After WSU's first scrimmage, it appeared that Mata'afa and Mitchell were in control of the second team end spots. However, after the spring game WSU released its depth chart which revealed Coates on the second team, above Mitchell. The Spokesman's Jacob Thorpe has hinted that Coates could potentially be brought into games situationally as a pass rush specialist. He is the smallest of the players listed on the defensive line two deep, and his linebacker background means he will likely be a bit faster than a traditional lineman.
One big question
Can he stand out among the competition? There are a lot of talented football players vying for playing time along the Cougar defensive line. Even if he doesn't become a starter this year he can be a valuable player for WSU. If he can make his name known early in the year for putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks we could be seeing quite a bit of Coates this season.
Name - Reggie Coates
Position - Linebacker
Year - Redshirt Junior
Height/weight - 6'0, 237 pounds
Hometown - Encino, Calif.