Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach said this year’s recruiting class was his “best yet” and he is still not finished. The Cougs have two scholarships left to go, and CougCenter has learned from a source close to the program that these will most likely both go to junior college defensive backs. This echoes the public concerns from the coaching staff that we heard throughout the spring regarding the defensive backfield.
New defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys was very upfront with the media on how the team lacks depth in the secondary. He talked with the Seattle Times before spring about his need for his cover guys to excel in man coverage.
“They haven’t been asked to play a lot of man in the past, and we’ve got to figure out how much man they can handle,” Claeys said. “The more man (coverage) they can handle, the more we will be able to disguise things.” Claeys will stick to the quarters based scheme WSU had under Grinch, but said down the road, he will emphasize recruiting cornerbacks proficient in man coverage.
Claeys’ comments during spring practice made it clear that he hadn’t quite found what he was looking for. From an article on Cougfan.com:
“We’ve got to get the secondary figured out, who’s where and what they do well. (We) haven’t done a very good job of that so far….we just don’t have a lot of depth right now.”
The top three corners right now are Sean Harper, Darrien Molton and Marcus Strong with Jalen Thompson, Hunter Dale and Skyler Thomas holding down the safety/nickel spots with not a whole lot of depth behind them. Defensive backs tend to be — along with offensive skill players — the most productive junior college recruits. Shalom Luani, Robert Taylor and Kirkland Parker are the most recent examples of JC guys making a nice contribution in the secondary.
Hopefully Cleays will find two guys who can provide quality depth, while maybe even pushing for a starting role.
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