PULLMAN – Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei’s name was omitted from Washington State’s week-two depth chart, but there’s a chance the junior college defensive lineman could rejoin the Cougars this Saturday for the home opener against San Jose State, coach Mike Leach indicated Tuesday.
Aiolupotea-Pei, a JC transfer from California’s Riverside City College, didn’t travel with the team for last week’s season opener at Wyoming because the NCAA was still processing his paperwork, Leach told Matt Chazanow last Thursday on his weekly coach’s radio show.
The coach didn’t have an update on Aiolupotea-Pei’s status as of Tuesday afternoon when he met with reporters following practice in Pullman.
“No, we’re still waiting to hear,” Leach said. “We should hear anytime, Labor Day obstructed it a little bit.”
If the Cougars hear from the NCAA soon, Leach said there’s still a chance Aiolupotea-Pei could make his college debut at home versus the Spartans.
“Yep,” Leach said, “and should be allowed to, deserves to.”
Aiolupotea-Pei was listed on the week-one depth chart as Taylor Comfort’s primary backup at nose tackle, though he’s demonstrated an ability to play other positions across the defensive line. If Aiolupotea-Pei isn’t eligible to play Saturday, the Cougars will once again turn to Dallas Hobbs and/or Jesus Echevarria to back up Comfort at nose tackle.
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