Former Kennewick high school standout Drew Loftus has accepted an invitation to walk-on at Washington State University. Part of building any championship caliber team is bringing a handful of smart, hard working preferred walk-ons. Now, I know that "part of building any championship team is adding walk-ons" sounds silly, but I think it helps tremendously with depth and Special Teams. Walk-ons are zero risk, all reward type players. They're often a jack-of-all-trades, and don't necessarily have a true position. This lack of a position is a big reason they didn't get offered a scholarship out of high school. They play Special Teams, and are generally happy to do so. They know they have to work harder than the guys on scholarship, so they're willing to run through a wall for you.
Plus, they're the absolute textbook definition of an underdog. And who doesn't love rooting for the underdog?
Loftus played all over the field for Kennewick HS in his four year career including WR, DB, KR, QB, and even punted. If Loftus had stayed at WR -- he was asked to play QB his Senior year with no other viable options -- he probably would have had more offers than just New Mexico State.
Loftus accepted a preferred walk-on role at Hawai'i instead, and sat out 2011 as a redshirt. Drew was an un-recruited preferred walk on at Hawai'i, and WSU compliance expects him to be eligible to play next season. He should have 4 to play 4.
Loftus may not have had a ton of interest coming out of HS, but I'm not sure why. The kid has some pretty legitimate speed, and I'm not sure how schools like Idaho or Wyoming didn't attempt to scoop him up. Regardless, this is a pretty nice pick up for Mike Leach and staff. Loftus will most likely be relegated to Special Teams for the majority of his career, but it never hurts to have a bigger WR (6'3, 190) on the roster. Loftus is a super athlete, so it wouldn't surprise me if he wound up catching some passes before his career is up.
He was also a standout baseball player at Kennewick. When I asked his father if he would also be trying out for Donnie Marbut's squad, he told me,
"Drew has his baseball gear with him. I assume he’ll play baseball for the Cougs eventually but he says he’s focusing on football until he’s solidified his position on the team. He’s planning to stay in Pullman this summer for summer school and voluntary workouts."
So, Collin Henderson 2.0? I'll take it.
Loftus had a recent run in with local police, but it sounds like it was kind of wrong-place-wrong-time type of thing. I'm waiting to hear back from his father about the situation, so I'll keep everyone updated. I feel comfortable going forward, however. Leach has shown time and again that he's a great judge of character, and has very little tolerance for bad eggs. If he didn't think Loftus had his stuff together off the field, he wouldn't have asked him to walk-on.
I really like this addition. He comes from a family of Cougs, and his father was elated that he was "coming home". It's risk-free, and Loftus is a super athletic speedster who just wants to prove he belongs. I think, before it's all said and done, he'll have proved just that.
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