Marquess Wilson

Washington State extends Mike Leach through 2018

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Washington State is one win away from playing in its first bowl game in a decade, and the quick reversal of fortunes by Mike Leach in Pullman netted the second-year Cougars coach a contract extension.

Washington State AD Bill Moos announced Monday a contract extension through 2018 for Leach, who formerly took Texas Tech to a bowl game in each of his 10 seasons in Lubbock.

“Mike Leach has done a fabulous job in his short time at Washington State,” Moos said. “Extending his contract through the 2018 season will ensure a bright future for Cougar football. He has elevated the program on the field, in the community and in the classroom. I believe he is among the best college football coaches in America and is a fantastic fit in Pullman.”

Leach’s short tenure at Washington State hasn’t been smooth — last year, wide receiver Marquess Wilson accused Leach of abuse, though quickly recanted the claim.

Washington State has a winnable game against Utah on tap Saturday before ending its season at Washington. And it seems like forever ago, but Washington State played neck-and-neck with Auburn in Week 1, losing 31-24 but holding Nick Marshall to 10/19 passing for 99 yards and nine rushes for 27 yards.

Wazzu’s leading returning receiver cited

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For the third time this month, a member of the Washington State football program has found his name in the names following an off-field incident.

The latest is wide receiver Gabe Marks, who the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports cited in an alcohol-related incident early Sunday morning.  Officially, Marks was cited for “MIP-Exhibiting,” which is police speak for a minor exhibiting the effects of alcohol consumption.

The school is aware of the latest incident involving one of its football players, and will handle the matter internally.

Marks finished the 2012 season with 49 receptions and 560 yards as a freshman.  Thanks to Marquess Wilson‘s chaotic and messy exit from the program, Marks is the Cougars’ leading returning receiver.

In early February, it was reported that running back Leon Brooks was charged with drunk driving.  A day later, walk-on wide receiver Drew Loftus was charged with third-degree theft, minor in possession of alcohol and public intoxication.  Loftus was subsequently dismissed from the football program.

(Tip O’ the Cap: shotofginn.com)

Final count dismissed in Mike Leach lawsuit against TTU

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Yep, Mike Leach’s lawsuit against Texas Tech is still going on, although it may be coming to an end in short order.

Per the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, District Judge William Sowder dismissed the final count in Leach’s lawsuit against his former employer. The judge ruled that TTU did not violate the coach’s due process rights when they fired him over three years ago. The decision comes nearly a year after Leach had his wrongful termination appeal denied.

In a statement, Tech said it was “pleased” with the dismissal.

So what’s left for Leach? The report states he could file an appeal or ask the Texas Legislature to waive Tech’s sovereign immunity in a vote, which would reopen portions of his case that were initially dismissed without a hearing because of Texas’ sovereign immunity clause.

Leach just finished his first season as the head coach of Washington State. In November, ex-Cougars receiver Marquess Wilson alleged “physical, emotional and verbal abuse… in the locker room and on the field” by Leach and his coaching staff. Wilson had been suspended indefinitely by Leach earlier that month. Ultimately, the Pac-12 concluded an investigation that found no evidence of player abuse by Leach or his staff.

Leach was fired by Texas Tech in 2009 after he allegedly mistreated then-receiver Adam James for a concussion. The coach has been involved in a lawsuit with TTU over his termination ever since.

Record number of underclassmen enter NFL draft

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We’ve been keeping track of underclassmen who have declared for this year’s NFL draft. This morning, the NFL released its list of 73 underclassmen who have been granted “special eligibility” for the draft by being at least three years removed from high school before declaring.

That number is a new record, breaking the one held in 2012 with 65 underclassmen declaring. In 2011, 56 players left early and 53 took off in 2010. In fact, the 73 who declared this year is 30 more than in 2004.

Of the 73 players, 33 come from SEC schools, or began their careers at SEC schools. That’s far and away the most of any conference. LSU has 11 underclassmen with ties to the program represented.

You can view the NFL’s release HEREbut here’s the alphabetized list.

Keenan Allen WR, California
David Amerson DB, North Carolina State
Alvin Bailey G, Arkansas
Stedman Bailey WR, West Virginia
David Bakhtiari T, Colorado
Dwayne Beckford LB, Purdue
Le’Veon Bell RB, Michigan State
Giovani Bernard RB, North Carolina
Tyler Bray QB,Tennessee
Terrence Brown DB, Stanford
Duron Carter WR, Ohio State
Knile Davis RB, Arkansas
Mike Edwards DB, Hawaii
Matt Elam DB, Florida
Zach Ertz TE, Stanford
Gavin Escobar TE, San Diego State
Chris Faulk T, Louisiana State
Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida
Michael Ford RB, Louisiana State
Travis Frederick C, Wisconsin
Kwame Geathers NT, Georgia
William Gholston DE, Michigan State
Johnathan Hankins DT, Ohio State
Jajuan Harley DB, Middle Tennessee
DeAndre HopkinsWR, Clemson
Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee
Jawan Jamison RB, Rutgers
Stefphon Jefferson RB, Nevada
Tony Jefferson DB, Oklahoma
Jelani Jenkins LB, Florida
Luke Joeckel T, Texas A&M
Jarvis Jones LB, Georgia
Jose Jose DT, Central Florida
Joe Kruger DE, Utah
Eddie Lacy RB, Alabama
Marcus Lattimore RB, South Carolina
Corey Lemonier DE, Auburn
Bennie Logan DT, Louisiana State
Stansly Maponga DE, Texas Christian
Tyrann Mathieu DB, Louisiana State
Dee Milliner DB, Alabama
Barkevious Mingo DE, Louisiana State
Kevin Minter LB, Louisiana State
Sam Montgomery DE, Louisiana State
Brandon Moore DT, Texas
Damontre Moore DE, Texas A&M
Alec Ogletree LB, Georgia
Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee
Bradley Randle RB, Nevada-Las Vegas
Joseph Randle RB, Oklahoma State
Jordan Reed TE, Florida
Eric Reid DB, Louisiana State
Greg Reid DB, Florida State
Xavier Rhodes DB, Florida State
Sheldon Richardson DT, Missouri
Nickell Robey DB, Southern California
Logan Ryan DB, Rutgers
Ace Sanders WR, South Carolina
Darrington Sentimore DT, Tennessee
Tharold Simon DB, Louisiana State
Dion Sims TE, Michigan State
Akeem Spence DT, Illinois
Kenny Stills WR, Oklahoma
Levine Toilolo TE, Stanford
Spencer Ware RB, Louisiana State
Menelik Watson T, Florida State
Bjoern Werner DE, Florida State
Steve Williams DB, California
Marquess Wilson WR, Washington State
Brad Wing P, Louisiana State
Cierre Wood RB, Notre Dame
Robert Woods WR, Southern California
Tom Wort LB, Oklahoma

Pac-12 concludes no abuse of players by Wazzu staff

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Amidst allegation leveled by former wide receiver Marquess Wilson that he and his teammates had been subjected to “physical, emotional and verbal abuse… in the locker room and on the field,” an internal investigation last month concluded that “there was no report or detection of abuse or inappropriate behavior on the part” of head coach Mike Leach or his Washington State staff.

That was part of a two-pronged investigation into the situation, with the Pac-12 assuming the second part of the probe.  Today the conference backed up the school’s findings, although this may not be the last we hear of it.

In a release, the Pac-12 announced that, “[b]ased on the evidence developed in this investigation, there is no basis to conclude that there were any instances of physical, emotional or verbal abuse by University football coaches.”  Suffice to say, the university was pleased with the report, which can be viewed in its entirety HERE.

“I am pleased with the outcome of both reviews,” WSU president Elson Floyd said in a statement. “The well-being of all WSU students is our highest priority, and it was important to take seriously allegations against the program. Now that the reviews are completed and have rejected those allegations, we will continue to move forward with our goal of establishing a successful program while maintaining the high standards shared by Washington State University, WSU Athletics and Coach Leach.”

However, based on an article published by Deadspin.com this afternoon and prior to the release of the Pac-12’s report, this situation may be far from over.

In the piece, unnamed parents of current players expressed their concern over the treatment of members of the team at the hands of Leach and the football staff, with one of them writing in an email to the university and obtained by the website that “[s]ooner or later you’re going to get sued over Leach.”

An email from Bill Drake, the school’s head athletic trainer who was removed from his day-to-day dealings with the football team by athletic director Bill Moos, expressed concern that revolved “around certain practices of the coaching staff that put the health and safety of the student athlete at risk.”  Workouts used as punishments were described as “dangerously excessive.”  It was during one of these “workouts” out of which Wilson walked, setting the stage for the current brouhaha.

There appears to be a disconnect between the WSU coaching staff and parents as to what exactly constitutes abuse.

“If you run players and roll them in sand till they puke, is that abuse?” one player’s parent said to Deadspin. “I don’t know. There are no rules or laws and nothing defined in any handbook that says rolling a kid in the sand until he pukes is abusive. But some people might say, ‘That seems abusive to me.”

There appears to even be a disconnect between the various parents of players on the team.

“Some said, ‘I don’t care, that’s what football is, kick my kid’s butt if you want, suck it up and get it done.’ And some parents had a different opinion and didn’t think this was reasonable. There was no consensus among parents but it was certainly talked about.”

“A lot of it has to do with how you classify abuse,” the parent said. “Obviously Marquess felt like it was bad enough for him to personally leave. I think until someone defines it, it’s really hard to term it. I think there’s a big gray area.”

Leach completed his first season in Pullman with a 3-9 record.  He had been out of the game for two years following a messy departure from texas Tech, with his firing coming amidst allegations of the abuse of a player.