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Let’s examine transfer players in the Mike Leach era

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We’ve seen some studs, some duds and others in between.

Washington State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the official announcement recently that WSU will add transfers Chad Davis Jr., Lamonte McDougle and Gardner Minshew, it got me thinking about other transfers during the Leach era and how they’ve fared.

Signing transfers is usually done so for a number of reasons. In some cases, the coaches want to fill an immediate need. In others, the coaches want to build depth and create competition. Some are wildly successful and end up in the NFL, and others don’t pan out so well.

I went through the rosters from each season starting in 2012 and grouped those that transferred to WSU when Leach was coach into categories ranging from great to forgettable. Guys who transferred in and still have eligibility are in their own “TBD” category.

Almost all of the transfers during the Leach era are from the junior college route.

Eight players are known to be transferring to WSU for 2018 season, and we’re omitting them for obvious reasons:

  • Gardner Minshew
  • Chad Davis Jr.
  • Lamont McDougle
  • Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei
  • Calvin Jackson Jr.
  • Kendrick Catis
  • Keenan Forbes
  • Jonothan Lolohea

This can also be a fun exercise in, “Hey, I remember that guy!” In no particular order, here....we....go.....

Great

Vince Mayle

Mayle originally came to WSU listed as a senior because his eligibility clock began his freshman year at Shasta Community College where he played basketball. After taking a year off to care for his mother, he went to Sierra Community College for his second year of competition but third year of his eligibility clock. After the 2013 season at WSU, the NCAA rightfully ruled that he had a hardship and granted him an extra year.

It paid off, as Mayle started every game in 2014 led the Pac-12 with 1,483 receiving yards and nine TDs. He played wide receiver with the size of a tight end. The Cleveland Browns drafted him in the fourth round in 2015 and he currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.

Memorable Moment

Joe Dahl

Joe Dahl began his career at the University of Montana, apparently not good enough to be offered a scholarship by Paul Wulff (though, he was only about 250 pounds, to be fair.) He transferred to WSU after his freshman year as a walk-on. After sitting out 2012—Leach’s first season—a bulked up Dahl started at left guard in every game before switching to left tackle for the New Mexico Bowl. He’d play tackle the next two seasons, guarding Connor Halliday’s and Luke Falk’s blind sides before being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round in 2016. He missed the last half of the 2015 regular season with a broken foot, though he returned for the Sun Bowl.

Shalom Luani

Here’s one of the more interesting players in WSU’s history. Luani started as a soccer player, competing for American Samoa as a teenager, scoring the game-winner against Tonga in a World Cup qualifier that ended a 17-year losing streak for his home country.

But with American Samoa’s poor fortunes in soccer, Luani wisely opted for the football path.

All he did at WSU was become one of the hardest hitters at the safety position and an All-Pac-12 first teamer. Just don’t get between him and his pizza.

The Oakland Raiders made him their seventh round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Memorable Moment

Ivan McLennan

McLennan came to WSU from El Camino Junior College and redshirted in 2013, his first year on campus. Once he was eligible, he teamed with Kache Palacio to form a nice one-two punch at rush linebacker.

He shined his senior season, starting 10 of the team’s 13 games, recording 42 tackles and six sacks. After playing some preseason games with the Atlanta Falcons, McLennan finds himself still playing professionally, this time north of the border for the B.C. Lions.

Good

Robert Taylor

Taylor started his career at FCS U.C. Davis before attending San Francisco Community College for his sophomore season. He got kicked out of his first career game as a Coug for targeting (in that forgettable EWU loss), but was a steady presence at the safety position for two seasons.

Memorable Moment

Garrett McBroom

McBroom found himself in the rotation on the defensive line for two season after attending Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for three years (he redshirted his first year there). He started five games his junior season but just two his senior year. Still, he was a critical piece of that line.

Justin Sagote

I wish Sagote was on the WSU teams the past three seasons. He came to WSU for Leach’s first season in 2012 and earned a starting position in the third game of the season and never let go of it. He made 167 tackles in two seasons. It’s a shame he wasn’t just a little bit younger.

Memorable Moment

Ioane Gauta

Gauta arrived in 2012 from Fullerton Junior College and promptly started 24 of his 25 career games at WSU. His stat line is good, and I’m trying to remember when he intercepted a pass.

Serviceable

Tyler Baker

Washington State v Oregon State Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Baker started at Ole Miss and transferred after his first season to WSU for Mike Leach’s first year. He was an SEC guy but undersized. He didn’t appear in a game until the 2014 season and broke out at Oregon State when he had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown. He didn’t make a ton of plays after that, and his senior season saw him end up with just one more yard receiving than he did in that Oregon State game alone.

Jacob Seydel

Seydel was expected to contribute a bunch on the offensive line but he couldn’t quite become the everyday lineman coaches probably hoped for. He was often brought in for specific plays and was who he was.

Kirkland Parker

He started one game but that was it. He did appear in 31 games and forced a crucial fumble in 2015 against Arizona State. He couldn’t quite beat out Hunter Dale for a starting spot but he contributed when called upon.

Paris Taylor

Taylor is similar to Parker: Never really could get himself in the starting lineup but performed well in his limited time on the field. He did have five tackles in the win at Stanford in 2016.

Theron West

West was somewhat heralded during Mike Leach’s first recruiting class. He didn’t make much noise until the New Mexico Bowl in 2013 when he caught a touchdown pass and blocked his second punt of the year.

Jeremiah Laufasa

Question: Among running backs in the Leach era, Gerard Wicks’ 11 rushing TDs in 2016 is tops. Guess who’s second?

Mr. Laufasa.

He had seven touchdowns in 2013, including the opening TD at Auburn. He seemed to have a promising future at WSU, but left on a sour note. He transferred to UTEP, with his father telling The Spokesman-Review that Laufasa was promised a scholarship but ultimately did not receive one.

Oh, and also: His fumble late in the New Mexico Bowl allowed Colorado State to tie the game before, well, you know. Let’s move on.

Just Meh

Quentin Breshears

Breshears won the job his first year in Pullman in 2014. His overall stats are fine, but all we remember is his missed 19-yard field goal at the end of the Cal game.

He lost the starting job in 2015 to Erik Powell but he did handle kickoff duties in the Apple Cup that year.

Mike Bowlin

Bowlin came to Pullman after getting into some trouble at Oregon during his freshman year. After two years of junior college play, he came to Pullman in Leach’s first season when WSU was in need of a punter.

It’s difficult to judge punters sometimes, and while Bowlin’s numbers were decent, he didn’t have a huge impact on the team, which might not totally be his fault. But this is where he lands, the “Meh” category.

Treshon Broughton

Broughton joined the team late into fall camp in 2015 and played sparingly that season. He started once in 2016 but mostly backed up.

Sadly, we last heard from him when he was tased and subdued by Pullman police officers after an incident where Broughton tried to buy a lighter using fake money. His erratic behavior in the incident is definitely concerning.

C.J. Dimry

When Dimry arrived, his big 6-foot-5 frame brought back hopes of Mike Bush. Alas, Dimry missed his first season due to injury, then was spotty his next season. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility and finished his career last season and played in nine games.

Rico Forbes

Information is scant on Forbes, but I do know he missed the 2012 season with an injury and then started on the o-line in 2013 before (maybe?) being passed by someone else. At any rate, being a starter gets you at least on the “Meh” list, in most cases.

Lyman Faoliu

Faoliu had six tackles in his two season spent mostly on special teams. He became the assistant football strength and conditioning coach, but it is unclear if he’s still in that position.

Daniel Lilienthal

Best known for being named “Dan Post” by Mike Leach because he ran great post patterns. He was on the team for three seasons an only got on the field in his senior year. He had just four catches total but always seemed like he was thisclose to getting a little more playing time.

Forgettable

Sebastian LaRue

LaRue gave Coug fans some excitement when he announced he was transferring to WSU. He was a four-star wide receiver recruit who chose Texas A&M over WSU and other schools. He eventually ended up in Pullman but his stay was brief. The coaching staff moved him to the defensive side of the ball.

Alas, he didn’t make it much longer. He sat out the 2014 season due to transfer rules, and didn’t make it to spring practices the in 2015 before being dismissed for a violation of team rules.

Kyrin Priester

Talk about blowing your chances. After playing one game and then leaving Clemson in his freshman season, Priester transferred to WSU and figured to factor in to the receiving corps. He scored one touchdown in 2015 before trouble started.

He was dismissed prior to the 2016 season and then allowed to work his way back onto the team. After a brief stint at inside receiver in the spring of 2017, Priester was again dismissed, this time for good.

Drew Loftus

Loftus is best known for attempting to steal booze from Dissmore’s by stuffing it down his pants.

Jeff Farrar

Farrar was headed to Virginia but couldn’t quite qualify academically, so he joined WSU partway through fall camp in 2014. He was supposed to give WSU quality depth in the secondary, but after a redshirt year, he left the team in 2015.

Aaron Porter

He was a former four-star recruit who signed with the UCLA Bruins out of high school, but in what appears to be just one season at WSU, he only played on special teams and had just four total tackles.

Niu Sale

The massive lineman never panned out.

Jeremiah Mitchell

In two season, Mitchell played in just four games and did not register any stats. He missed much of the 2015 season.

Devonte McClain

Started as an offensive lineman but switched to the defensive line. McClain didn’t have a meaningful impact, stats-wise at least.

Dymund Richardson

He’s the brother of Paul Richardson and did not appear in a game last season. That might be part of the reason it was reported last week that he has left the team.

To Be Determined

The following players, in no particular order, are still at WSU and therefore still have time to raise or lower their stock.

Nick Begg

Was Begg really a transfer? He originally signed with Arizona State but delayed his enrollment. Instead of starting at ASU in January of 2014, Begg found his way to Pullman and didn’t find the field until his sophomore season. He hasn’t started a game, but that could change heading into his senior season.

Transfer or not, I’m including him here for the heck of it.

Trey Tinsley

Tinsley, recently put on scholarship, had a slight lead at the quarterback position after spring football. He’ll compete with Gardner Minshew this fall, as well as the next guy on our list.

Anthony Gordon

Gordon will figure into the quarterback competition this fall as a sophomore.

Chima Onyeukwu

Onyeukwu was mentioned a couple times last year during fall camp as someone who could sneak his way into some solid playing time, but we didn’t really notice him until he picked off a pass at Utah.

Brandon Arconado

Got his first taste of D-I football last season and scored a touchdown in the rain against Colorado. He was recently put on scholarship.

Robert Valencia

Looks like Valencia will factor in on the offensive line this season. He has a grand total of zero snaps of D-I football.

Sean Harper Jr.

I like what I’ve seen from Harper Jr. so far. He had a big interception last year against USC and enters the 2018 season as a veteran leader in the secondary.

His path to WSU was an interesting one, as he originally signed but didn’t qualify academically. Oftentimes, that’s the last we hear of a recruit, but Harper Jr. kept in touch with the coaching staff and signed again with WSU out of Holmes Community College in Mississippi.

Easop Winston

Winston was hyped last year during spring football and figured to factor in at the receiver position. But apparently he arrived back last fall in less than ideal shape and redshirted. The hype was back this spring, and if he doesn’t end up playing this fall, I think we’ll know what category he’ll find himself in.


OK, there you have it. Overall, only a handful of transfers were real difference makers and another handful were good, and some promising transfers (LaRue, Priester) unfortunately blew their chances.

I’m sure others have opinions, and I hope I didn’t miss any. Did I give McLennan too much credit? Was I too hard on Priester (I was not)? Yell at me in the comments.