Spring Game Advent Calendar – Eight Weeks

Miley already broke out. Who will for the Cougs?

Happy Hump Day and Leap Day, Cougs! Last week in this space I somehow managed to botch a countdown from ten. Somehow from the time I wrote the title and intro to the time I wrote the main part of the post, I got confused between the numbers nine and eight. It was surely a proud moment for all my math teachers over the years. What it leaves us with is a second week in a row where I’ll make a list of eight things to honor the countdown. This week I’ll take a look at eight breakout players to watch for this spring and ultimately in the fall. We all have high expectations for Marquess Wilson, Jeff Tuel, RG5, etc., but who are the players that may have not played a significant role before that will make the difference in taking us from a 4 win also-ran to a bowl team. I will do so………….after the jump (I see you, Seacrest).

Anthony Carpenter, Starting Safety

This here is my bold prediction. The wheels fell off the Tyree Toomer bandwagon and it went up in flames long ago. In spite of what appeared to the novice college football analyst (read: almost every single fan) to be regular lapses by Toomer, he was never supplanted in the line-up. If he’s going to lose his spot, the general belief is that it would be to Casey Locker based on his playing time and performance last season. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that the outgoing staff was just missing something with Anthony Carpenter and he will be the apple of Coach Leach’s eye. A safety duo of Bucannon and Carpenter is a pretty dynamic force (at least in my mind). It would at least be enough to freak Kenjon Barner out a little bit.

Jake Rodgers, Tackle, Mullet Aficionado

With the offensive line being the place with the most outgoing players, it’s a spot where a handful of guys with limited or no experience will have to step up. The one I think will step in and become a fringe all-conference type player is Rodgers. A tight end in high school, Rodgers is one of those guys Paul Wulff and his staff looked at and saw a frame. Over the last couple years, Rodgers has effectively filled out that frame, now listed at 6’6”, 297 lbs. When new rosters are released, I expect he’ll check in even bigger than that. He saw some time last year do to injuries and is ready to take a jump in 2012.

Logan Mayes, OLB

I look at Mayes and see the ideal outside linebacker in the 3-4. I think I’m credible to make such statements since I’ve watched the Steelers 3-4 under Dick LeBeau destroy my Bengals for about a decade. Also because I have eyes. I don’t suspect that Mayes will have bulked up enough to put his hand in the dirt as an end on a regular basis, but think he will fill in more than capably as a pass rushing specialist opposite Travis Long.

Tyler McNannay, Punter, Heart Throb

I suppose it’s somewhat in the realm of possibility that we’ll have to punt at least once next season and McNannay, the pride of Colfax, figures to hold the job. Now if you’ll give me a moment, I’ll go back to looking at his Scout.com profile and getting lost in his eyes. Wait, what?

Darren Markle, Linebacker, Power Lifter

The loss of CJ Mizell has left a gaping hole in the middle of the Cougar defense. As I’ve mentioned, I’m no math whiz but I’m fairly certain that the 3-4 defense requires the services of two middle linebackers. With news coming last week that Darryl Monroe will not participate in spring ball, the opportunity is there for Darren to make his mark at the middle linebacker position. Make his mark….get it?

Ian Knight, Defensive End

Remember this guy? Half of the JC defensive end tandem along with Lenard Williams in the 2011 recruiting class, Knight looked set to be a contributor last season before the staff ultimately decided to redshirt, shrewdly planning for the future. This didn’t work out so well for the coaching staff, but it should be good for Knight. I like Williams as well, but Knight strikes me as a natural candidate to break out since he sat out last season.

Rahmel Dockery, Punt Returner, Tiny Little Miracle

Based on past experience, I didn’t think there were actually scenarios where a guy would commit to a school only to not qualify academically and then actually show up at the school to which he originally committed. I thought those guys all just hung out with JT Diederichs and Keauntea Bankhead somewhere. Not so with Dockery. Through persistence of his own and of the former coaches, Dockery has returned to Pullman and is my leader in the clubhouse to return punts next season. I realize that Leon Brooks is still around, but I’ll take the guy whose highlight film includes jumping over a dude instead of the guy whose highlight film includes a whole crapload of fair catches and a fumble.

Bononique Bombmywilleaddy, Voltron Wide Receiver

I couldn’t decide which wide receiver to include on this list, but there are plenty of candidates to replace the production of Isiah Barton and Jared Karstetter so I give to you my main man Bononique who represents Bobby Ratliff, Gino Simone, Dominique Williams, Blair Bomber, Isiah Myers, Kristoff Williams and Henry Eaddy. Darrell Revis couldn’t cover Bononique Bombywilleaddy.

That’s all for this week. Keep in mind that I’m counting down to the Crimson and Gray game itself. To get you real fired up, we’re a mere three weeks away from the start of spring football. Be on the look out for in depth position previews from the rest of the crew over the next couple weeks.

Go Cougs.