Rodgers explains decision to leave WSU

COUGARS

The feeling started last season, Jake Rodgers said, and only got worse as the offseason progressed.

The former Washington State offensive lineman just wasn’t having fun anymore.

“It wasn’t working out for me,” Rodgers said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. I guess my heart wasn’t in it, so it didn’t make sense for me to stay here.”

That’s why Rodgers, a Shadle Park High School alumnus, chose to leave the Cougars, and why he’s now “strongly considering” a transfer to Eastern Washington. But WSU hasn’t yet granted his formal release, so he’s yet to have any contact with EWU coaches.

Rodgers started all 12 games last season for WSU as a third-year sophomore, and played every offensive line position except for center.

A nagging shoulder injury plagued him “pretty much the whole season,” and his recovery from that ailment kept him out for the duration of WSU’s spring practices this year.

“I’m sure that didn’t help at all,” Rodgers said of having to sit out the spring. “That was rough for me.”

WSU coaches were disappointed when Rodgers informed them of his decision to transfer, he said, and tried to convince him to stay. As a fourth-year player with legitimate starting experience, he would have either competed for a starting spot or provided needed depth on the offensive line.

But his decision was final.

“They didn’t want me to go, basically,” he said.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Rodgers would be able to play right away at Eastern, an ideal landing spot near his hometown of Spokane, though nothing will be official until after he is released from his scholarship at WSU.

“Getting to see more of my family and being able to play in front of them and everything … having their support means a lot to me,” Rodgers said. “I think (EWU) is a good program.”

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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