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Washington State HC Mike Leach told reporters that deceased QB Tyler Hilinski showed no obvious signs of depression leading up to Hilinski's suicide last Tuesday.

"Everyone has some dark space that they work through, I'm sure, but no one really saw anything like that," Leach said. "He didn't have signs of depression. He didn't have periods where he was moping around or anything like that. He was honestly a very steady guy. Kind of guy who would lift up others when they were down." According to Leach, Hilinski had even texted teammates to schedule a throwing session on Tuesday afternoon. On that afternoon, police arrived at Hilinski's apartment at the request of a Wazzu staffer, who had been called after Hilinski didn't show at practice or respond to messages. Hilinski was found dead with a rifle and a handwritten suicide note. He had been expected to take over as Wazzu's starting quarterback in 2018. Tyler Hilinski was 21.
Source: ESPN
Jan 22 - 8:12 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline writes that people could come away surprised by Washington State QB Luke Falk's arm strength.

Falk spent his entire career in Mike Leach's "air raid" system, which doesn't call for much vertical passing. It also turns quarterbacks into what Pauline calls "arm passers" who don't have to generate rotation with the hips as they connect crossing patterns from short-to-intermediate lengths. "I was told people will be surprised about Falk’s true arm strength this week," Pauline says. "If that’s the case, I expect Falk to leave the Senior Bowl as an early second-round choice."
Jan 22 - 2:29 PM

Washington State has officially hired Utah State OLB/co-defensive coordinator Kendrick Shaver to the staff.

Shaver will work with the safeties which is a slight surprise, especially considering former LB coach Roy Manning left for UCLA earlier. He's spent the past seven seasons with Utah State, and he spent the first six seasons working with the safeties, so he has plenty of experience coaching up defensive backs.
Jan 20 - 5:44 PM

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski passed away in his apartment on Thursday, with Pullman police investigating his death as a suicide.

Hilinski was 21-years-old. As a sophomore, Hilinski played in eight games and threw for 1,176 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. The police report indicates that he was found in his apartment with a note and what is being reported as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The case is still being investigated.
Jan 16 - 11:13 PM

Former Washington State junior WR Tavares Martin will forego his final year of eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

Martin (6'1/185) was dismissed from Wazzu in early December due to a violation of team rules which he said stemmed from his request for a transfer. Rather than seek another program, though, he'll try his luck in the pro ranks. Interested NFL squads will be addressing character concerns, to be sure, not only with the dismissal itself but also in terms of a one-game suspension in mid-October related to his walking out of practice. Martin finished his final season in Pullman posting a 70-831-9 receiving line, across the board bests for the wideout. He's got a nice burst to him and figures to run the 40-yard dash in the mid-to-high 4.4's. Expect his name to be in the Day 3 (Rds. 4-7) mix.
Jan 14 - 5:33 PM

247Sports reports that Washington State has hired Utah State OLB coach/co-DC Kendrick Shaver to serve in an unspecified capacity.

As was the case with Utah State, Shaver will likely work with the outside linebacking corp in Pullman. The Cougars lost OLB coach Roy Manning to UCLA earlier this winter. The bulk of Shaver's coaching experience -- he's been on staff with Utah State for the past seven seasons -- has come as defensive backs coach. He just took up the linebacker mantle this past campaign.
Source: 247Sports
Jan 14 - 2:01 PM

Washington State RB Jamal Morrow had foot surgery and will miss the NFLPA Bowl.

Morrow suffered the injury in the school's bowl game. It is obviously disappointing development for Morrow, who showed plenty of receiving skills during his time in college. That trait is becoming more and more important at the NFL level.
Jan 11 - 9:52 AM

Washington State will hire former Minnesota HC Tracy Claeys to be the new defensive coordinator.

Claeys takes over for Alex Grinch, who has left to be the new co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Claeys was fired by Minnesota despite a 9-4 record over off-the-field issues from players, including alleged sexual assaults. His win-loss record with the Gophers was 11-8 after taking over for Jerry Kill in 2015.
Jan 8 - 7:13 PM

Washington State redshirt junior DL Hercules Mata'afa announced he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

The highest end projection for Mata'afa would be a comparison to last year's No. 3 pick Solomon Thomas. We won't go that far, namely due to size as Mata'afa stands around 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds. Still, his outside and inside ability is extremely impressive both versus the run and the pass.
Jan 1 - 10:47 AM

247Sports' Barry Bolton reports that Washington State senior QB Luke Falk played with a broken left wrist for most of the season.

Per Bolton, Falk broke his left wrist all the way back on Sept. 9, in a win over Boise State, and played the rest of the season with a cast on the injured hand (under a black glove). Washington State went to great lengths to keep this under wraps, with Falk cutting off the cast before media sessions so as to avoid questions. According to Bolton, the senior quarterback was forced to undergo surgery two weeks after the close of the regular season due to his increasing issues with mobility in the wrist. All of this explains why Falk was scratched from the team's Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State earlier this week. It could also go a ways toward explaining why the gunslinger had himself a relatively down campaign by his standards, throwing for 3,593 yards with a 30/13 TD/INT ratio after posting back-to-back 38-touchdown seasons in 2015 and 2016. Falk's availability for the Senior Bowl is unknown, but this recent surgery could certainly throw a wrench into matters.
Source: 247Sports
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 02:10:00 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline hears that Washington State redshirt junior DE Hercules Mata'afa is "close to signing with an agent."

Mata'afa (6'2/245) has not yet made an announcement one way or another regarding the draft, but it would appear that he's close to a declaration. The redshirt junior has posted 35 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. Should he opt to jump for the NFL, he should be considered a borderline Day 2 prospect. He offers a non-stop motor, albeit with less-than-ideal size.
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 10:23:00 PM

Washington State redshirt sophomore RB James Williams rushed for 14 yards on three carries while catching 10 passes for 65 yards in Thursday's 42-17 loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl.

Williams (5'11/195) did next-to-nothing as a pure running back, but served as a safety blanket time and time again for relatively unproven sophomore QB Tyler Hilinski, who was starting in place of an injured Luke Falk. His standing out more in the receiving game than the running game is nothing new -- this was Williams' fourth game of at least 10 receptions and he finishes the season with a whopping 71 grabs for 482 yards. In contrast, the redshirt sophomore managed just 395 yards rushing for the campaign. Cougars HC Mike Leach's creativity in developing Williams as a receiver can't be undersold.
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 01:30:00 AM

Washington State sophomore QB Tyler Hilinski completed 39-of-50 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Thursday's 42-17 loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl.

Hilinski (6'3/213) was forced into starting action after Luke Falk was scratched due to a left hand injury prior to the game. He went on to play fine in terms of pure completion percentage, but managed just 5.44 YPA in what was an uncompetitive game for most of the duration. His first touchdown pass -- and Wazzu's first touchdown, period -- did not come until near the end of the third quarter, and that one merely drew the Cougs to within 35-10. With Falk set to move on from Washington State, Hilinski will have an opportunity to compete for the starting job this offseason. He's played unevenly when given the chance this year, having thrown seven interceptions in eight games.
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 01:03:00 AM

Washington State sophomore QB Tyler Hilinski will start the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State on Thursday.

Hilinski (6'3/213) draws the assignment with Luke Falk (hand) sidelined. Unlike most backups, the sophomore gunslinger has a decent sample size to his name this year -- Falk was benched on at least two occasions -- and has thrown for 904 yards with a 5/6 TD/INT ratio across seven games. Don't expect Cougars HC Mike Leach to baby Hilinski. He attempted 61 passes after coming in for Falk during a loss to Arizona at the end of October.
Thu, Dec 28, 2017 09:12:00 PM

Washington State senior QB Luke Falk (hand) has been ruled out for Thursday's Holiday Bowl showdown with Michigan State.

Falk's been wearing a cast on his left hand this week due to an injury of unknown severity. While he dressed and warmed up pregame on Thursday, the senior was noticeably limited. It's a major loss for the Cougars, particularly against a stout defensive team in Michigan State. Wazzu will turn to sophomore QB Tyler Hilinski to start on Thursday. Falk ends the year having thrown for 3,593 yards with a 30/13 TD/INT ratio. He's accepted a Senior Bowl invitation, though just how healthy he might be for that postseason bowl is now a real question.
Thu, Dec 28, 2017 09:05:00 PM


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