I have confirmed that safety Markell Sanders and defensive linemen Emmitt Su'a-Kalio and Gerald Sterling are no longer members of the Washington State football team. Their absence on the roster was first noted by Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com. Coach Mike Leach and the athletic department rarely comment on these internal roster matters, and will not in this case, so we do not know if they were dismissed from the team or left voluntarily.
Su'a-Kalio and Sterling both redshirted this past season, while Sanders enrolled early for spring practices and would have been a true freshman next season.
The biggest loss from a personnel standpoint is likely Su'a-Kalio, who defensive coordinator Mike Breske called one of the best pass rushers in spring football practices. Standing at 6-foot-4, 253 pounds, Su'a-Kalio was still as lean as a linebacker and looked like he could add weight while maintaining his athleticism to turn into a terror for the Cougars down the road.
However, the Buck linebacker from Pago Pago, American Samoa had some off the field issues, as well, and once charged with assaulting a teammate.
Sterling and Sanders likely would not have been significant contributors this upcoming season, but both appeared to have the athleticism to see the field later in their careers.
Depending on their grades this last semester, the loss of the three players likely means a mild to moderate hit to WSU's football Academic Progress Rating, an NCAA measure designed to punish schools that fail to meet certain academic and retention standards. But the football team did just fine in the recent APR release and the loss of three players should not be a cause for concern.