Washington State Football: 4 Key Players to Watch in 2012

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2012

Washington State Football: 4 Key Players to Watch in 2012

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    As spring practices for the Washington State Cougars football team approach, all eyes are on how new head coach Mike Leach will get this team motivated for a run at a Pac-12 title.

    Many players return on both sides of the ball for the Cougars, but some guys will have to step into new roles with bigger responsibilities.

    Here are four players who could have sizable roles in the upcoming season and have potential to break out and make a big difference.

Marquess Wilson

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    Marquess Wilson has two fantastic seasons under his belt. As a freshman, he caught 55 balls for 1,001 yards. This past season, he topped that by grabbing 83 passes for 1,388 yards.

    Wilson caught six touchdowns during his first year and doubled that this fall.

    As Wilson continues to mature and develop as a wide receiver, Wazzu fans can only expect better numbers out of him. If he gains some weight this offseason, he should be right near the top of the list of All-American candidates for the fall.

Deone Bucannon

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    Deone Bucannon, a third-year safety, will have a big job to do in the secondary. He was responsible for 80 total tackles last season, and with the loss of linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis, he may need to make that many stops again.

    Bucannon had three interceptions, a forced fumble and a blocked kick last season. If he can be that active again and the rest of the secondary steps up, the Cougars may actually stop somebody this fall.

Connor Halliday

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    With head coach Mike Leach opening up the quarterback position to a full-fledged battle, I see the younger Connor Halliday stepping into the starting role by the time August rolls around.

    Halliday had to step in and play four games for the Cougars last season. He was fairly efficient, averaging more than 240 yards per game and throwing nine touchdown passes.

    With Leach in town, we all know this offense looks to be high-flying.

Rickey Galvin

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    While Leach will surely throw the ball around in his system, it's worth noting that Rickey Galvin had a pretty good season this fall.

    While he scored five rushing touchdowns, he averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry. If the Cougars use Galvin in an off-speed role, look for him to produce and become a factor in Pac-12 play.