Monday not only meant the first game week was finally here for the 2021 season but it also meant the release of the first depth chart. While there was plenty that we already knew about, there were a few surprises as we head into the first game of the season.
The first surprising thing we see is the freshman De’Zhaun Stribling getting the start at the “X” position and redshirt sophomore Donovan Ollie at the “Z” position. The two young receivers are put into a very important role for the Cougs this season as they are looking to replace all but one receiver that had double-digit catches last season. Calvin Jackson and Travell Harris will line up as the other two receivers.
The offensive line will look a lot like it did last year with Liam Ryan and Jarrett Kingston holding down the left side and Brian Greene at center. Last years backup Cade Beresford will take over at right guard with Abe Lucas on his right at tackle. The Cougars returning nearly all of their line is a massive win for the offense this year.
Borghi will take the reigns at running back but the surprising thing is who his backup is. Last season we saw Deon McIntosh rush for 323 yards on his 52 attempts and score three times. Wisconsin transfer Nakia Watson tallied 522 yards and 5 touchdowns on his 127 attempts during his two years for the Badgers. The two running backs have an “or” listed between them. We heard a lot of positives coming from Watson during camp this season and after what we saw from McIntosh last season the fact that the backup position is this close is a good sign for the backfield this year.
Defensively we will see a few changes from last season. Brennan Jackson and Willie Taylor III have the “or” between them at edge while Ron Stone Jr. gets the nod on the other side. As expected, we will see Amir Mujahid and Ahmir Crowder will clog up the middle as tackles. Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers will resume their roles as linebackers as well.
At the beginning of last season we saw Daniel Isom line up at free safety but he has transitioned into the starting strong safety role while Halid Djibril will line up opposite as him at free safety. Armani Marsh will take the role as the nickel with Jaylen Watson and Derrick Langford Jr. at corners. Backing up Langford Jr. is going to be two transfers that are hopefully going to play a big role in the secondary as Chris Jackson and Kaleb Ford-Dement have the final “or” between them on the depth chart.
As many expected, freshman Nick Haberer will handle the punting duties while sophomore Andrew Boyle will handle all the kicking duties. Harris will also resume his role as the returner.
Will it be Jayden de Laura, last year’s starter, or Jarrett Guarantano, the Tennessee grad transfer, being given the first shot to lead the offense onto Gesa Field late Saturday night? Cougar Nation wants to know.
Senior defensive tackle Dallas Hobbs was not listed on Washington State’s two-deep when the Cougar football team released its Week 1 depth chart Monday. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder has become known as the anchor of WSU’s interior D-line. It’s uncertain why he was omitted.
Washington State opens its second season under coach Nick Rolovich – and its first legitimate, 12-game campaign under the former Hawaii boss – against nonconference foe Utah State and its first-year coach in Blake Anderson.
Washington State returns 20 starters for 2021 season and year two under head coach Nick Rolovich, who saw the Cougars post a 1-3 record in a Covid-19 shortened 2020 season. WSU returns 10 starters on defense led by senior linebacker Jahad Woods while senior running back Max Borghi and three-time All-Pac-12 second-team right tackle Abraham Lucas headline the eight starters who return on offense.