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WSU loses Jaden Hicks to NFL Draft, signs two Oregon transfers

You win some, you lose some.

Washington State v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

WSU football had an eventful Friday, as far as Fridays go in the offseason. The Cougs lost a standout safety, while dipping into the transfer portal to sign two players.

First, it was safety Jaden Hicks announcing he was entering the NFL Draft:

Hicks just completed his redshirt sophomore year and leaves with two years of eligibility remaining. In 12 games this past season, Hicks recorded 79 tackles and picked off two passes—one of which went for a pick-six.

Hicks’ departure leaves a hole in the WSU secondary, as he was by far WSU’s best defender. Alas, the allure of a pro career was too much to give up. Best of luck to Hicks.

Meanwhile, WSU dipped into the transfer portal to pick up two players—one on offense and one on defense—and both have Pac-12 and Power 5 experience.

Keith Brown is a 6’2, 225 pound linebacker who most recently was at Louisville. Before that, he was at Oregon for two seasons. He appeared in just four games for the Cardinals and finished with just one tackle.

His better years were at Oregon, where he played in 12 games his sophomore season and started in the Holiday Bowl in 2022. He finished that season with 21 tackles and a sack. Brown started two games as a freshman in 2021 and appeared in seven games.

On the other side of the ball is Kris Hutson, a wide receiver who redshirted this past season at Oregon. Hutson appeared in just one game in 2023 and caught one pass for eight yards. His freshman and sophomore seasons were more productive, as he racked up 44 catches for 472 yards in 2022, and 31 catches for 419 yards and two touchdowns in 2021.

Both Brown and Hutson have two years of eligibility remaining, according to The Spokesman-Review, citing a WSU spokesperson.

Both signings fill in some holes, as Brown should be able to step right in at linebacker and Hutson might fill Josh Kelly’s or Lincoln Victor’s spots at wide receiver. That both of these signings have Power 5 experience and were both one-time four-start recruits is a plus.

These signings come after WSU also nabbed linebacker Parker McKenna from Portland State and wide receiver Tre Shackelford from Austin Peay.