Rarely does a walk-on player make an impact on the team during their first season. Most walk-ons are just extra bodies floating around practice. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and skill to be put on scholarship and make the depth chart. The 6'1, 220 pound Kyle Celli, who played high school football in Seattle at Bishop Blanchet, could be one of just a few Cougar walk-ons that could make a contribution to the team this season.
Now, of course, there really is no 2014 recap for a walk-on player. Just like any other student, Celli's time was probably spent studying, getting lunch at The Coug, and lifting weights at the SRC in hopes of making the team as a walk-on, which he did. After doing some digging, I found his high school Hudl video, which is embedded at the bottom of this post. He's listed as a linebacker and a long-snapper on the roster but I'd be willing to bet that if Celli sees any live game action in 2015 it'll be on fourth down. I don't know anything when it comes to the technique of long-snapping a football but his snaps were accurate. Not once did the punter have to reach down to his shoestrings to make the catch, which I guess is good.
The Cougars have a plethora of linebackers on the roster, so unless the LB's get food poisoned the night before a game, Coach Grinch and Coach Manning aren't likely to trot Celli out there (at least not in 2015). He'll provide another body for practices and Thursday Night Football, which is always beneficial for the growth of the team. Where Celli could really be of help to Washington State is at long-snapper, where the job is to be won. Alex Den Bleyker, the team's long-snapper for the past four seasons, graduated in May, leaving the job wide open for fall camp.
One big question
Could Celli be the starting long-snapper against Portland State? The only other long-snapper listed on the roster is Lucas Gravelle, a walk-on from Niagara, New York with JUCO experience. I'm inclined to believe that Gravelle will be the long-snapper for the first game of the season against Portland State, just because he's played football at a higher level than high school. However, for all we know Celli could out-compete Gravelle for the starting job and win it in during camp in Lewiston. This position battle will be a good one for Cougar fans to follow considering how messy special teams have been in the past for Washington State.
Name - Kyle Celli
Position - Linebacker/Long-snapper
Year - Redshirt Freshman
Height/weight - 6'1, 220 pounds
Hometown - Seattle, Wash.