Although media members may be in wait-and-see mode with Washington State's football team as a while, picking the Cougars to finish sixth in Tuesday's preseason poll, most seem to be fairly bullish on Max Borghi and Abraham Lucas having standout seasons that could catapult them even higher in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Borghi, WSU's senior running back, and Lucas, a senior right tackle, were both selected to the preseason All-Pac-12 First Team as chosen by the league's media members.
Though Borghi and Lucas were the only Cougars selected to the First or Second Team, a handful of others made all-conference honorable mention, including wide receivers Travell Harris and Renard Bell, left tackle Liam Ryan, linebacker Jahad Woods, defensive lineman Brennan Jackson and cornerback Jaylen Watson.
Preseason all-conference ballots were submitted prior to Bell, WSU's sixth-year senior wideout, announcing on social media he'd torn his ACL and would be sidelined for the 2021 football season.
It's the second year in a row that both Borghi's and Lucas' names appeared on the preseason First Team, though it wasn't a guarantee either would return to Pullman this fall. Despite missing three of WSU's four games in 2020 with a back injury, Borghi, one of the nation's most versatile backs, was considered to be an NFL prospect and had a chance to embark on his professional career.
Borghi was recently named to preseason watch lists for both the Doak Walker Award and Biletnikoff Award watch lists, honors respectively given to the nation's top running back and receiver. No other player in college football was named to both watch lists.
Lucas, a 6-foot-7, 319-pound offensive tackle, also had an opportunity to leave school early for the NFL after starting in all four games for the Cougars in 2020. Lucas was named to the Outland Trophy watch list last season and is expected to make a return to the list in 2021 as one of college football's top pass blockers.
In a tweet on Sunday, Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy described Lucas as a "patient & balanced pass protector" who "makes it look easy in (the) Pac-12."