This Friday night in Martin Stadium, Washington State will play their final home game of the season as they play host to Arizona. This year, like every other year, the Cougs will honor their senior class as they take the field in front of their home crowd for one final time. But, in 2021, the question becomes who is actually a senior?
Officially, 26 WSU players are listed as seniors or playing in their graduate year. But, of course, many of those qualify for an extra season of eligibility thanks to an NCAA ruling during the shortened 2020 campaign. Entering this week, we didn’t know which of the 26 players would be using that rule to return in 2022. But, on Tuesday, the team cleared things up by announcing the list of 14 seniors that will be honored before kickoff Friday.
It’s a group of players that have been through more in their time on the Palouse than many players go through their entire careers. They’ve played for three head coaches, numerous coordinators and position coaches, had a 2020 season canceled, revived and then had 3 of those games canceled in heartbreaking fashion.
“I’ve seen these guys thrive as leaders,” acting head coach Jake Dickert told the media this week. “They give this program and this team – and Washington State and Coug fans everywhere – everything they have. The biggest thing I’d love to see is just that support Friday night be shown. These guys deserve it.”
That list includes some big names, including a couple that will likely be playing at the next level. But none of those 14 names are bigger than running back Max Borghi.
A lot of fans thought that the prolific running back and pass catcher would test the NFL waters following the 2020 season. But, after an injury shortened campaign that saw him play in just one game, Borghi announced in January that he would run it back for another season in Pullman.
It probably would have been a pretty safe bet to assume that, barring another injury or some other catastrophe, this would be the final season for Borghi in Pullman. On Tuesday, the running back talked about his future for the first time saying that he was ready to move on.
“I’ve been here for like 12 years I think,” Borghi joked in a press conference. “I’m forever grateful for this place, and Washington State University has really shaped me into the person I am now.”
While the Cougs are losing a lot of talent in that group, there is a high-quality list of players that , at least as of right now, appear to be returning in 2022. That group includes a good group of defensive lineman and a trio of defensive backs at the top of the depth chart in Jaylen Watson, Derrick Langford Jr. and Armani Marsh.
A few guys not on that list, meaning maybe there’s a chance they could be coming back:— Derek Deis (@DerekKXLY) November 17, 2021
“A lot of those guys want to play at the next level,” Dickert said when talking about the group of returning players. “Another year of getting bigger, faster, stronger and proving what they can be. Another year in a system – I think they can show who their best self is.”
'They're special people': Washington State to honor 14 outgoing players Friday; several seniors plan to stick around | The Spokesman-Review
Jake Dickert wasn’t involved in their recruitment, and he’s been around only for a short period of their extended development processes in Pullman.
Bowling in Sin City? The case for Washington State vs. Penn State in Las Vegas | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars need to win out and get some help in order to reach Sin City.
Annnd the quote that birthed Noah’s quote has finally come out.— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) November 16, 2021
“We go up to Washington State next Monday and get a good road win early on in the season,” UCSB assistant coach John Rillie on Nov. 8.
Rillie also is a Gonzaga MBB alum. https://t.co/1p7D0PVHNw
Snarky Editors Note: It makes a lot of sense that the quote was said by a former Zag.