Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Biggest shoes to fill: Washington State
By Kevin Gemmell
Starters in, starters out. That's college football. Players' eligibility expires, and they leave for the rest of their lives, which might include the NFL. And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.
In alphabetical order, we've surveyed each Pac-12 team’s most notable void. We wrap up the series today with Washington State.
Biggest shoes: SS Deone Bucannon
Not only was he one of the most feared hitters in all of college football, he led the Cougars in tackles (114), solo tackles (78), interceptions (6), forced fumbles (3) and he was tied for the team lead with a pair of fumble recoveries. In other words, he was as do-all as do-all can be. Not surprisingly, he earned first-team All-Conference honors and a first-team All-America nod -- WSU’s first AP All-American since 2005. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, and he leaves ranked fourth on the school’s all-time tackle list with 384.
Stepping in: Isaac Dotson
Washington State’s secondary is in complete rebuild mode. Not only do the Cougars lose Bucannon, but they also lost corners Damante Horton and Nolan Washington. Paging Dotson, a sophomore who is a former standout prep quarterback. He appeared in seven games last year, notched 10 tackles and sits atop the spring depth chart. Redshirt freshman Darius Lemora and sophomore David Bucannon -- Deone’s younger brother -- will also get some looks. But pretty much every position in the secondary is wide open. Head coach Mike Leach said as much last week before camp started. Like every player on this list, Deone Bucannon is not easily replaced. That the secondary is being overhauled might accentuate Bucannon’s absence that much more.
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