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PULLMAN — Standing out as a wide receiver under football coach Mike Leach typically takes awhile.

Perennial NFL Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker didn’t break 1,000 yards receiving until his third year in Leach’s program.

Danny Amendola of the New England Patriots managed to play as a freshman, and caught all of 13 passes.

Which makes the success of Washington State receiver River Cracraft all the more remarkable.

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The freshman from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., has 355 receiving yards on 28 catches for the Cougars and is picking up the pace. In WSU’s past two games, Cracraft caught nine passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Leach credits the freshman’s early success to his attention to detail and ability to avoid distractions. And the head coach has some lofty praise for his freshman receiver.

“A guy I had in the past he reminds me of is Danny Amendola,” Leach said. “Not necessarily perfect, but if you need him to adjust something, he’s going to do it exactly like it was drawn up on the board, full speed.

“Guys like that you’ve got to make sure how you draw the lines on the board because they’ll duplicate it exactly,” Leach added.

That ability to follow directions has Cracraft’s coaches matching his level of focus.

Perhaps the only person not surprised by Cracraft’s ability to come in and contribute immediately is Cracraft himself.

“I knew there were great receivers here but I thought if I worked hard I could earn a spot,” Cracraft said.


• The Cougars’ home game Saturday, Nov. 23, against Utah will have a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.

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