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Pro Football Focus notes that Washington State junior S Jalen Thompson recorded the lowest grade of any returning defensive back when targeted out of the slot.

The QB rating on such plays was a laughable 51.5 last season. Thompson (6'0/191) is one of the clear plusses on a team that could be heading into a bit of a rebuilding downturn during the upcoming season. He put up 73 tackles with a hearty four interceptions during the past season. The NFL could have some level of interest in him if he declares for next spring's draft after the coming campaign.
Jun 7 - 3:28 PM

Washington State redshirt junior RB James Williams caused the most missed tackles on catches of any running back returning in 2018.

Williams caused a tackler to miss on 33 receptions last year, 10 more than Iowa State's David Montgomery. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound tailback is extremely elusive with the ball in his hands, but he also has the strength to make tacklers miss. The Cougars are going to need a huge year from Williams as both a runner and a receiver in 2018. He's talented enough to give them just that.
Jun 4 - 11:34 AM

Washington State received a verbal commitment from three-star 2019 QB Gunner Cruz.

First of all, what a perfect name for a quarterback who is about to enter the Air Raid system. Cruz was also considering schools like Arizona State, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Baylor. He ranks as the 26th rated pro-style quarterback in 247 Sports composite rankings. At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, Cruz won't offer much in terms of scrambling, but he can see over defenses, and he reportedly is accurate with the football. Mike Leach has done wonderful things with quarterbacks of this ilk. Cruz could be next.
Jun 1 - 7:17 PM

Washington State redshirt senior WR Robert Lewis has been awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Lewis (5'9/167) was classified as a redshirt senior last season and would have been out of luck for another playing year had the NCAA not stepped in, here. He receives the sixth year of eligibility due to his being sidelined for the 2017 season by a torn ACL sustained last August. During his career with the Cougs, the wideout has seen the field in 37 contests. He's started 22 games out of the slot, with his most productive season in Pullman coming in 2015, when he caught 43 passes for 490 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Sweet, Renard Bell, Jamire Calvin, and Travell Harris will be among those he will jostle with for depth chart positioning this summer.
Source: 247Sports
May 30 - 11:27 AM

ECU senior QB Gardner Minshew transferred to Washington State as a graduate.

Minshew (6'2/216) made headlines earlier this winter when he backed off a commitment to transfer to Alabama in favor of a move to Washington State. The quarterback's officially signed, sealed and delivered to Pullman, now. At ECU this past season, Minshew threw for 2,140 yards with a 16/7 TD/INT ratio. He'll be competing with Trey Tinsley, Anthony Gordon and Cammon Cooper this summer as Washington State looks to settle upon its successor to prolific signal-caller Luke Falk.
May 18 - 11:11 AM

West Virginia sophomore DT Lamonte McDougal transferred to Washington State.

McDougal (5'10/295) had a number of transfer restrictions placed on him by West Virginia. Most notably, they were barring him not only from a move within the Big 12 -- the conference restriction is pretty boilerplate -- but also any non-conference school on WVU's schedule for the next four years. We don't usually see schedule-based restrictions that far into the future, though to be fair to the Mountaineers, McDougal is transferring out with three years of eligibility still remaining to his name. Washington State skirts all these restrictions. The former three-star recruit will have to sit out the upcoming campaign in Pullman in order to satisfy NCAA regulations. Playing as a true freshman in Morgantown this past season, he registered a healthy 23 tackles (4.0 for loss) and two sacks.
May 17 - 1:02 PM

Washington State redshirt junior QB Trey Tinsley completed 19-of-24 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns in the team's spring game.

Tinsley (6'3/210) had himself a sharp spring on the whole as he competes with Anthony Gordon for the right to replace Luke Falk as starting signal-caller in Pullman. True freshman Cammon Cooper -- very much the likely future triggerman for the Cougs -- is also in this mix, but not a realistic candidate to start this year. The real competition for Tinsley and Gordon did not participate in spring practice at all. That would be Gardner Minshew, who's transferring over from ECU (he was at one time thought to be heading to Alabama) and won't be gearing up with Wazzu until the summer. Washington State would in all likelihood be rolling with Tyler Hilinski as starter for the coming season, but Hilinski tragically took his own life in January.
Source: 247Sports
May 15 - 2:47 PM

Vikings signed Washington State OLB Hercules Mata’afa.

Mata’afa (6’2/254) turned pro as a redshirt junior after making 25 starts, tallying 47 career tackles for loss – second most in Wazzou history – and 22.5 sacks. Productive as both a pass rusher and run defender, Mata’afa was credited with 32 QB pressures and 30 defensive stops by PFF College in 2017. Mata’afa tested as a mere 20th-percentile athlete with 4.76 speed at the Combine, however, and has short arms (31 ½"). Mostly an interior player in college, Mata’afa NFL positional usage is vague, but he should offer value in a rotation on sheer disruptive ability.
May 3 - 12:33 PM

Titans selected Washington State QB Luke Falk with the No. 199 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Falk (6’4/215) walked on at Wazzu and went on to start 40 games, setting school records for career wins (27) and passing yards (14,496) and completing 68.3% of his throws with a 119:39 TD-to-INT ratio at 7.1 yards per attempt. Falk’s stock dipped as a senior as he was temporarily benched and set career-low efficiency marks. A sub-par athlete who took a whopping 107 sacks over his final three seasons, Falk’s strengths are his quick release and mastery of Mike Leach’s all-shotgun spread, but his arm strength is mediocre, and Falk attempted nearly three-quarters of his college passes within ten yards. Similar to A.J. McCarron, Falk is a probable long-term backup with an outside chance to become a low-end NFL starter.
Apr 28 - 4:50 PM

Packers selected Washington State OT Cole Madison with the No. 138 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Madison (6’5/308) made 47 starts at right tackle, earning second-team All-Pac 12 as a senior and ranking fifth among Pac 12 offensive tackles in PFF College’s pass-blocking efficiency rating (97.7). Just a 14th-percentile SPARQ athlete, Madison was a quality college starter who will likely struggle in the pros. He would do well to carve out a Sam Young-like swing tackle career.
Apr 28 - 2:01 PM

An NFL scout told Bob McGinn Football that he would select Washington State QB Luke Falk over Louisville QB Lamar Jackson "any day."

Most detractors of Jackson's game would probably admit that this is an off-the-beaten trail opinion. Falk just isn't a quarterback who has sparked all that much for us during the predraft evaluating process. Among the other scouts who spoke with McGuinn regarding the Washington State signal-caller, one evaluator said that he was "nothing special" while another said that he could potentially develop into a "10-year backup."
Apr 23 - 4:50 PM

Washington State redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Gordon is in a tight competition with redshirt junior Trey Tinsley for the starting quarterback job.

When asked who had the more impressive spring performance, Washington State head coach Mike Leach said "I thought Tinsley and Gordon" both did. Leach's non-answer suggests the quarterback competition is as tight as it gets. Both players moved the ball "effortlessly" through the air in the spring game, making it difficult to decide on a clear leader. They are looking to replace NFL-bound QB Luke Falk as the starter and will likely continue to battle throughout the summer.
Apr 22 - 10:21 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Washington State DL Hercules Mata'afa to New England Patriots DL/LB Cassius Marsh.

Zierlein calls Mata'afa a tough player to evaluate, because "his tape features him as an interior lineman who won with quickness when matched against players who were 50-70 pounds heavier than he was." Very few players were rated higher analytically, and he was among the NCAA leaders in pressures during his time at Washington State. Zierlein notes he's "much too small" (6'1/254) to play in the interior spot, but that he has a "zombie like" motor. Mata'afa will be one of the more divisive prospects this year, but someone likely takes a chance on him in the late rounds.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 3:38 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Washington State T Cole Madison to Indianapolis Colts OL Joe Haeg.

Madison was among the favorites of Pro Football Focus in his time with the Cougars; routinely landing at or near the top of their blocker grades. Zierlein calls him a quality athlete who "excels as a move blocker," and that he "reads and reacts to games up front." He does have some concerns about the 6-foot-5, 313-pound tackle's play strength, and he can be too upright in pass protection. Zierlein projects him to go in the middle of Day 3, but there's been some late-third, early-fourth round talk about Madison as off late.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 2:07 PM

An NFL offensive line consultant told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that he thought Washington State G Cody O'Connell had "no chance to recover" when beaten on the offensive line.

"When he gets beat by quickness, he has no chance to recover," the coach told Zierlein. "None. I think NFL teams will scheme him into facing mismatches on all passing downs." That's a problem. O'Connell (6'9/368) is a massive human being, and he's able to engulf defenders. The issue comes in his athleticism, and as the coach notes, he could be someone that teams scheme against. Expect a team to give him a chance as a late-round pick, but he'll have to do a lot of work to become a starter.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 17 - 9:56 PM


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