It seems like just yesterday that Gabe Marks was the first big get of the Mike Leach era at WSU; a consensus four-star receiver, the Cougs snagged him in the short cycle of their first recruiting class. He's had a big impact in his first two years. Let's get to know him a little better.
Name - Gabe Marks
Position - Outside receiver
Year - Junior
Height/weight - 6-foot, 179 pounds
Hometown - Los Angeles
Five Things To Know
1. IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Marks arrived with a lot of hype and he didn't disappoint, catching 49 passes as a freshman from Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday, finishing second on the team in receptions behind Marquess Wilson. Many assumed he'd be an inside receiver because of his stature, but he showed a penchant to find open space down field and also an ability to go get the ball when isolated with a corner. He actually was tried briefly inside, but it was immediately clear that his skill set was best suited for the outside.
2. BIG SECOND YEAR: As expected, Marks improved on that first year, leading the team in receptions (74), yards (807) and touchdowns (7, tied with Dom Williams and Vince Mayle).
3. BUT MAYBE NOT AS GREAT AS IT LOOKS: Marks started strong, hauling in 31 passes in his first four games, culminating with a spectacular 11-catches-on-12-targets performance against Idaho for a season-high 146 yards. Unfortunately, that means he caught just 43 passes in the final nine games, a number that looks even worse when you remember that 13 of those 43 catches came against Oregon (on a whopping 20 targets, most coming late in that game). In the two critical games against Arizona and Utah, Marks caught just two balls -- both against the Utes -- for just three yards.
In short, Marks was inconsistent and his effectiveness dropped substantially as the season went on; he caught just 15 passes on 33 targets in WSU's final five games, and if you're not up on your catch percentage context, hauling in 45 percent of the balls thrown your way for 4.6 yards per target is baaaaaaaad. He's going to need to take a big step forward in consistency this season.
4. THIS IS NOT HELPED BY OFF-FIELD SHENANIGANS: Marks has had a couple of minor run-ins with the law in Pullman -- not the kind of stuff that lands you on the Fulmer Cup list, but the kind of stuff that is relatively common among students. Problem is, Marks isn't a typical student, so an MIP and getting kicked out of a bar while underage doesn't look so good. The latter involved an assault charge that resulted in 18 months of probation, and he would do well to keep his nose clean for the next two years.
5. BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO BE DEBBIE DOWNER: Here's an awesome picture of Marks and Beau Glover.