For the first time since Jeff Tuel was under center in the 2012 Apple Cup, a quarterback not named Connor Halliday will start for Washington State. Luke Falk will get the call to fill in for the injured Halliday on Saturday against Oregon State and as such, he's been a popular topic this week.
For a redshirt freshman we already knew a fair amount about Falk with bits of his story being told during the last 18 months. We know even more now with multiple outlets running features on the Cougars' new starting quarterback. Some things have even started to get repetitive, so here are a few fun Falk facts that you may already know and will hear plenty of times the rest of the season.
Looking back at Falk's performance vs. USC
You'd never know he was a freshman from looking at him. Come check out the highlights.
1. Falk joined WSU as a walk-on
That's right, when Falk joined WSU last year he did so paying his own way. He's no longer a walk-on as he was put on scholarship during the summer, but he wasn't offered a scholarship by WSU out of high school.
2. Falk had an offer from Florida State in high school
This is a popular piece of Falk trivia. Prior to his junior season, FSU reportedly offered Falk a scholarship. That's not out of the ordinary as schools flood quarterbacks with offers prior to their junior seasons. Those offers don't always stick, but at least early on Falk drew significant interest.
3. Falk changed high schools twice
Falk is from Logan, Utah, but his family decided he would get more exposure if he played for a California power house school so he transferred to to Oaks Christian High -- a FBS quarterback factory. The move, however, didn't work and Falk transferred back to Logan after playing just three games for Oaks Christian. He was ruled ineligible due to a transfer rule and missed the rest of his critical junior season. Just like that, he was off the radar.
Quarterback recruiting is a different animal from other positions. Nearly every school locks in a verbal commitment prior to the players' senior season, making the junior year the most important. There are cases where a player still draws interest without playing a lot as a junior -- like Tuel -- but it is rare.
4. Falk decided to walk-on at WSU instead of an offer to play at Cornell
Falk originally committed to Cornell, but when the coach bolted for the CFL, he changed course. WSU picked up interest when David Yost saw Falk play basketball during his junior season. The Cougars landed Tyler Bruggman on scholarship, but kept in contact with Falk, leading him to walk-on.
(Insert Glenn Parker joke about Falk must be smart to have an offer from an Ivy School)
5. Mike Leach says he is a very hard worker
This little tidbit figures to be popular with color analysts. Leach has mentioned on multiple occasions that Falk is the hardest working player on the team. Like this week, when he said Falk is the hardest working player on the team.
"He works harder than anybody on the team," Leach said on Monday.
6. His sisters are in a band
Luke has two older sisters, Alexa and Natalee who sing in a duo called Falk. According to the group's website, they moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. They apparently wrote several songs that were huge hits in Brazil, nearly had a recording deal with RCA and are working on a new album called Falk, according to Wikipedia.
I'm sure we'll learn a lot more about Falk in the coming weeks and years, but in the meantime expect to hear these tidbits repeated over and over. Did I mention Mike Leach said Falk was the hardest working player on the team?
WSU’s Falk has had quick rise to starting QB - Spokesman.com - Nov. 6, 2014
For the first time in 21 games, there was a new quarterback spokesman in front of the assembled media Saturday following Washington State’s 44-17 loss to USC.
Yakima Herald Republic | WSU’s Falk goes from walk-on to starting QB
In happier times, Connor Halliday had just taken a tour of Washington State’s new football-operations building. He noted the outsized murals of WSU greats on the walls, and he said he thought the guy backing him up might be there one day.
WSU practice just a little too chippy - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Nov. 5, 2014
By and large, the Washington State football coaches don't worry about the normal practice scuffles that inevitably occur. Over the course of a season, 100 adrenaline-fueled football players compete and are bound to get on each other's nerves, occasionally, and the skirmishes are typically over in seconds.
Is Mike Leach looking to make more changes? - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Nov. 5, 2014
I don't know about you, but to me the highlighted sentences sound like a criticism of defensive coordinator Mike Breske. It is Breske, and the defensive staff, who has the responsibility of deciding "what are (the Cougars') core beliefs."
Mike Riley says Washington State is 'like us:' Oregon State Beavers rundown | OregonLive.com
Mike Riley had a clear message for his Oregon State team during a post-practice pep talk earlier this week: "Don't pay attention to that record.
Beavers defense aims to stop slide against WSU - Sports - MailTribune.com - Medford, OR
Mike Riley was asked Sunday about his biggest defensive concerns coming out of Oregon State’s 45-31 loss to California. And Mike Riley made a list.
Connor Halliday's career should be celebrated - ESPN
Connor Halliday’s broken ankle sent shock waves through the Pac-12 over the weekend when it became clear his career as a quarterback at Washington State was over. The consensus: It’s not fair.
Washington State beat writer says it's 'pretty likely' Cougars run more without Connor Halliday: Opponent's take | OregonLive.com
Each week this season, The Oregonian is posting a Q&A with a beat writer covering Oregon State's upcoming opponent. We caught up this week with Jacob Thorpe, who covers Washington State for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. The Beavers face the Cougars at Reser Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Cougars Host Huskies - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State (10-4-3, 5-4-1 Pac-12) hosts Washington (12-6-1, 5-4-1 Pac-12) in the final regular season match for both teams
The Kent Era Begins Friday Against Azusa Pacific - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
First-year Washington State University Men’s Basketball Coach Ernie Kent and the Cougars will make their public debut as they host Azusa Pacific in exhibition action, Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum’s Friel Court in their final push before the 2014-15 season officially begins.