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Standout linebacker Peyton Pelluer granted sixth year of eligibility at Washington State

Linebacker Peyton Pelluer (47) laughs between drills during practice Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 at Washington State University in Pullman. Pelluer’s petition to gain another year of eligibility has been approved by the NCAA. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Peyton Pelluer’s hard hits and long locks will be back at Martin Stadium this fall.

The Washington State linebacker was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, the school confirmed Thursday, and he will be eligible to play one final season for the Cougars. Pelluer was a senior in 2017, but a foot fracture suffered in the third game of the season against Oregon State forced him to miss the team’s 10 remaining games.

Pelluer applied for an “extension of clock” waiver, according to WSU Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance Catherine Walker. To successfully complete the extension request, an institution must be able to prove “that the student-athlete was deprived of more than one season of competition for reasons beyond his or her control.”

Though Pelluer redshirted his first season at WSU, the school was able to prove he had “two years of denied opportunity,” according to Walker, who wasn’t able to go into specific details.

Pelluer’s return gives the Cougars exceptional depth at the inside linebacker positions next season. The Sammamish, Washington, native was an All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention selection in 2016 and finished fourth in the league with 93 total tackles.

But Pelluer’s injury in week three, in addition to those to fellow starter Isaac Dotson and reserve Nate DeRider, ushered redshirt freshmen Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers into starting roles earlier than expected. Woods and Rogers gained valuable experience and anchored the second level for the Cougars until Dotson returned for the Apple Cup.

Inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson was the first to hint at the news about Pelluer on Twitter Thursday morning, posting “Excited to have my Right Hand back with me! You deserve the chance to go out like the Leader you are! Time to get to work! Happy for you @ppelluer47 #2018LBfamily.”

WSU loses Dotson and DeRider from the 2017 roster, but the Cougars return Woods, Rogers and redshirt freshman Dillon Sherman, who earned a spot in the rotation last season because of the injuries.

And now Pelluer, too. The 6-foot, 225-pound veteran was WSU’s starting Mike linebacker in 2017 and recorded a season-high 14 tackles in the Cougars’ triple-overtime win over Boise State. Pelluer also ran back the interception that helped WSU climb out of a 21-point deficit to defeat the Broncos at Martin Stadium.

Pelluer has 41 career appearances under his belt and was a 13-game starter for the Cougars in 2015 and 2016. He played in all 12 games as a freshman and started the final five at the Mike position.