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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

All-star games await four Cougs

PULLMAN – Not all of Washington State University’s seniors ended their football careers on the Martin Stadium field against Washington in November.

Four Cougars are participating in postseason all-star games this season.

Offensive tackle Calvin Armstrong and cornerback Karl Paymah, perhaps the best pro prospects from the team’s senior class, will compete for the West in today’s East-West Shrine Game. That game can be seen at 11 a.m. on ESPN and will be played in San Francisco.

In addition, safety Hamza Abdullah and running back Chris Bruhn will play in the Hula Bowl, to be played at 4 p.m. on Jan. 22 in Honolulu. Cougars fans hoping to catch one last collegiate glimpse of these players are in luck, as ESPN is also televising that game.

While that quartet moves on from WSU, some new players are being welcomed to the program with the beginning of the spring semester.

Wide receiver Benny Ward and quarterback Cole Morgan have enrolled at WSU and will participate as grayshirt freshmen, meaning that they will still have true freshman status in the fall.

Both players had signed a letter of intent last February, but Ward did not have sufficient academic standing to participate last season and Morgan voluntarily decided to wait until the spring semester to join the team – the same path once taken by Josh Swogger, last year’s starting QB.

Another player who could make an immediate contribution, safety Michael Willis of Tacoma, hasn’t enrolled in classes because of a hang-up with his test scores. If that problem is cleared up, Willis would join Morgan and Ward as grayshirt freshmen this spring.

WSU will also have a walk-on in tight end Tony Thompson, Morgan’s high school teammate. Thompson is the son of Jack Thompson, the former Cougars QB whose name still dots the school record book.

The Cougars had hoped to welcome two other players from the 2004 signing class that did not originally make the academic cut, but neither managed to improve their standing sufficiently in the interim.

Defensive lineman Letrell Myers did not complete his A.A. degree at junior college, and Tyson Kirksey didn’t meet the necessary academic requirements.