The Washington State Cougars have a serious need for playmakers to step up in their defensive secondary for 2014. After finishing No. 11 in the conference last season in pass defense, WSU loses five seniors from their secondary group, including star safety Deone Bucannon and cornerback Damante Horton, who combined for 11 interceptions in 2013. With a void on the depth chart following the departure of so many veteran players, can senior Tracy Clark snag a starting job before a host of young DBs take it away?
Clark is the elder statesman of the group as the only senior in a secondary that is getting a flush of young talent this fall. While he failed to record any tackles in 2013, he has the most experience of any of the contenders trying to start opposite Daquawn Brown this fall with nine career tackles. This fall, Clark has made a push for playing time by sticking with the first team defense for much of the early part of camp but that is no guarantee that he’ll hold onto it.
While Washington State’s pass defense has been far from elite in recent years, they have been able to sign some fresh young talent to add to the mix that could pay immediate dividends in 2014. Redshirt freshman Charleston White spent one whole practice working with the first team defense (though Clark replaced him the next day) and incoming freshmen Pat Porter, Marcellus Pippins, and Jeff Farrar could all demand playing time as they get acclimated to the defense. Farrar, in particular, should challenge for playing time as the four-star prospect showed excellent coverage ability in high school with his length (6-foot-1) and instincts.
With the young talent coming up this fall in the WSU secondary, Clark’s window for seizing a starting job is quickly closing. If he can’t definitively prove that he is the man for the job this fall, he’ll likely be relegated to the sidelines for his final year in Pullman.