Even the fact that he was being touted as a potential Top Ten pick — hell, No. 1 overall pick according to ESPN’s Todd McShay — in the upcoming April draft wasn’t enough to keep Jake Locker from returning for one more season at Washington, the quarterback announced this afternoon.
Locker released a statement this afternoon stating his intentions, coming to his decision after receiving input from multiple parties over the past few months.
“After a great deal of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided to return to Washington and play my senior year,” Locker said in a statement released by the school. “I am very excited about this team’s opportunities and potential for the upcoming season and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”
While the move in and of itself isn’t surprising — both head coach Steve Sarkisian and athletic director Scott Woodward were confident he would return — the fact that it came so soon ahead of the deadline for underclassmen to declare was somewhat unexpected. Players eligible for the draft have until Jan. 15 to make themselves officially available.
Given how Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford‘s season ended after coming back for another year — and after being projected as possibly the first pick in the draft — it would seem like the more judicious approach would be to eschew another collegiate season, thus avoiding both the potential of a serious injury hurting his stock and a rookie salary cap being implemented by the time the 2010 draft rolls around, and grabbing the money while he could.
Provided he avoids injury, though, another season in Sarkisian’s pro-style offense will do nothing to hurt Locker’s ’11 draft prospects. In fact, it could only help solidify his spot atop that draft class.
Again, provided he doesn’t pull a Bradford.
Brady White came to Arizona State as the highest-rated quarterback signee in the program’s history. Three years later, he’ll write the final chapter of his collegiate playing career a lot further east.
In an announcement posted to his Twitter account Tuesday night, White revealed that, “[a]fter weeks of prayer, reflection, and discussion with my family,” he has decided to transfer from ASU to Memphis. White heads to the Tigers as a graduate, which give him immediate eligibility in 2018.
Not only that, but White will be eligible to play in 2019 as well. The Memphis Commercial Appeal is also reporting that White could have another season beyond that via a medical hardship waiver.
A four-star member of the Sun Devils’ 2015 recruiting class, White was the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 10 player at any position in the state of California; and rated as the No. 68 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. And ASU’s offensive coordinator when he signed? Mike Norvell, who is now the head coach at Memphis.
After redshirting as a true freshman, White appeared in three games in 2016, completing 25-of-49 passes for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He started one of those games, in early October against UCLA. A foot injury not only ended that season prematurely, but kept him out for the 2017 season as well; that’s the missed season that will likely get White a sixth year of eligibility in 2020.
Willie Taggart has found himself someone to (help) guide his first offense at Florida State.
While there’s nothing official yet from the football program, 247Sports.com was among the first to report that Maryland’s Walt Bell is set to be named as FSU’s offensive coordinator. Bell is also expected to serve as FSU’s quarterbacks coach.
ESPN.com subsequently confirmed the initial reports.
The 33-year-old Bell spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Maryland. Prior to that, he held the same job, along with quarterbacks coach responsibility, at Arkansas State from 2014-15.
While Bell called plays during his stint with the Terrapins, it’s expected Taggart will have play-calling responsibilities with the Seminoles.
Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
“The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
“Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.“
There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.
According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.
Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.
Hilinski was just 21 years old.
As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski. Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.
In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State. With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.