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

Kyrin Priester hardly a mystery for Cougars

Washington State got a boost to its receiving corps with the immediate eligibilty of Clemson transfer Kyrin Priester. (Tyler Tjomsland)
PULLMAN – Kyrin Priester has a past, not that anyone at Washington State will tell you about it. Whatever the incident was that led to Priester’s dismissal from the Clemson football team, Mike Leach and his newest receiver are staying silent. But it has led the prep superstar from Georgia to a school he did not consider as a high school recruit. The Cougars successfully appealed for a “run-off waiver” because he is no longer welcome at Clemson. Priester was made available to the media after practice on Tuesday and replied “no comment” in response to four separate questions regarding his journey from the SEC to the Pac-12. Clemson’s cooperation was required in the appeals process but Leach, when asked if the Tigers’ coaches had reached out to WSU on behalf of the receiver, replied, “We’re not going through all that. He’s eligible and we’re thrilled to death, what difference does it make?” So the foundational act in making what could be WSU’s most dynamic player a Cougar remains off limits, but the Cougars are happy to tell you all about Priester’s value. “Kyrin comes to work every day,” said outside receivers coach Graham Harrell. “He’s a great player and I love his attitude.” “I can’t think of anybody that works any hard than he does, and I think all of them work hard,” Leach said. “Besides being fast, he’s big and he’s got a physical quality to him.” Quarterback Luke Falk tells a story about discovering that a weapon had been added to his arsenal, a hard-working, fast, strong receiver who had been one of his favorite targets in practice but who he had at first assumed would pay the one-year tithe the NCAA typically demands of players who transfer. First, Falk heard the news from David Emerick, the football program’s chief of staff. “I knew (Priester) was eating lunch,” Falk said, exuberantly. “I went down there and gave him a big hug, and actually like sprinted down there because I wanted to give him the good news. It sounds like somebody already broke it to him, but I was pumped.” Because Priester only stayed one season at Clemson, and played just one game, only on special teams, there is not much of a collegiate body of work on which to base his potential. He caught four passes for 67 yards in WSU’s scrimmage last week, and is frequently among the team’s best players in a given practice. He didn’t academically qualify to enroll at Clemson when he signed out of high school, so he enrolled at the Fork Union Military Academy, where he was ranked the No. 1 prep school wide receiver in the country by “Fork Union was a great experience,” Priester said. “It helped change my outlook on this. It helped changed my opportunity and outlook on life.” Despite a stacked freshman receiver class at Clemson, Priester made his way onto the depth chart and played on special teams in the team’s season-opening loss at Georgia. Less than a week later, on Sept. 3, Priester was dismissed for what coach Dabo Swinney called an “attitude that is not acceptable to our standard.” The first WSU coach to reach out to Priester was Dennis Simmons, the former outside receivers coach who is now an assistant at Oklahoma. Priester declined to respond when asked whether or not he knew Simmons would not be coaching at WSU when he committed to the Cougars. “He was a good coach but he did what was best for him,” Priester said. “Everybody on this coaching staff takes me in.” At WSU, Priester has primarily worked out at the X receiver position. The X is an outside receiver who generally lines up to the left of the quarterback near the sideline. It’s also a position shared with Dom Williams, a senior receiver and big-play threat who is expected to be a key player for the Cougars this fall. Priester says that Williams has “taken me under his wing.” With Gabe Marks, the leading receiver in 2013, lined up at the opposite outside position, and explosive inside receivers like River Cracraft and Robert Lewis, WSU is going to have to find touches for a number of talented receivers. “I think the toughest challenge for us as coaches will be to find a way to get them all touches,” Harrell said. “But I think we’ll find a way and we’ll be better for it.” Priester, for his part, seems happy to let his play speak for him instead of his words.