With the first Washington State football spring scrimmage behind us, let's continue taking a look at some of the promising young players working their way up the depth chart.
Reviewing the returning players for the Cougs, there are opportunities to earn starting spots and important backup roles.
Spring practice offers a tremendous chance for both coaches and players.
Coach Paul Wulff and his staff are taking a close look at how far individuals have progressed during the off season. Progress isn't limited to physical gains.
That simple word is what will earn players a prominent role on the WSU football team.
Every player on the current roster wants to play Division I football in the Pac-10. What differentiates is simple as well.
To succeed at Cougar football, a player has to commit to Coach Wulff's philosophies both on and off the field. The degree of commitment will go a long way to determining a player's role.
Enough with general comments.
Let's take a look at a couple of the players who are likely to be on the receiving end of the passing attack that is the centerpiece of Washington State football:
- Johnny Forzani - One word sums it up nicely for this young man from Calgary. Sleeper. Forzani was rated a No. 3 Sleeper Prospect by The College Football Place. Not from a lack of interest, Forzani didn't play high school football. The program folded his sophomore year. Make no mistake, the 6'1" redshirt junior is quickly making up for lost time. He has all the athletic tools to become a dominant player for WSU. The first thing that comes up when asking about Forzani is his blazing speed and jumping ability. If he is a quick study under Coach Levenseller, the Cougs potentially have two of the fastest wide outs in the Pac-10 in Forzani and Jeshua Anderson.
- Jeffrey Solomon - Solomon transferred to WSU from Eastern Washington where he played in nine games as a true freshman. Because of NCAA rules, he was forced to sit out last season and now is raring to get his chance at Pac-10 football. He had seven receptions for 87 yards that first year at Eastern. Solomon played quarterback in high school and was tapped a White Chip prospect by the Seattle Times, also making their Top 100 recruits in the state list. Not only does he understand offense from the perspective of a quarterback, Solomon knows Coach Wulff's no huddle offense from his time at Eastern.
Along with Forzani and Solomon there are several young men who have a good chance to work their way up the depth chart:
- Colin Huemmer - Huemmer is a redshirt senior who was invited to walk-on this spring. He has two years of JC ball under his belt at Sierra. Colin has nice size, 6'3" and 205 pounds, for a wide receiver. He also is a proven leader serving as the team captain at Redmond HS his senior year.
- Nick Proen - Proen made the team last year as a walk-on. He played his high school ball just up the road in Spokane at Mead HS where he earned All Greater Spokane League, All Region and All State honors his senior year. Proen is another young man with proven leadership skills who was team captain his senior year at Mead.
- Michael Vandenkolk - Vandenkolk redshirted last season so has a year of learning the offense under his belt. He was an outstanding high school player at Carlsbad HS in California. His team won a state championship Vandenkolk's junior season. Senior year he was the team's Most Valuable Player, All-Avocado League, and a USAToday Top Performer.
- Tyler Thompson - Thompson walked on the team last fall. He earned three varsity letters at Shafter HS in Shafter, CA. Thompson was team captain his junior and senior years. Another proven leader encouraged to earn a scholarship on Coach Wulff's team. Thompson also starred on the track team winning all four of his events junior and senior season at both the league and regional championships.
Coach Wulff has a lot of talented student/athletes working to haul in passes, help move the chains and put points on the scoreboard.
In a few months, many of these names will become as familiar as their legendary coach, Mike Levenseller.
For now, it's all about the work.
Originally published on Examiner.com