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Skyler Thomas announces return to Washington State after entering name in transfer portal

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 24, 2020

WSU defensive back Skyler Thomas announced Monday he will return to the Cougars’ football team.  (Associated Press)
WSU defensive back Skyler Thomas announced Monday he will return to the Cougars’ football team. (Associated Press)

Despite entering his name in the NCAA transfer portal last week, Washington State’s Skyler Thomas will stay put this fall and finish his college career with the Cougars.

Thomas announced the news Monday morning on Twitter: “I will be pulling my name from the transfer portal and returning to WSU.”

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The Pacific-12 Conference’s postponement of fall football two weeks ago prompted the Southern California native to enter his name in the portal and seek opportunities elsewhere. While the Pac-12 and Big Ten have moved on from the idea of playing this fall, the Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference still plan on a season starting next month.

Thomas’ WSU teammate, wide receiver Tay Martin, made a similar decision and found a vacant scholarship at Oklahoma State, announcing his transfer to the Big 12 Cowboys on Saturday.

In Thomas’ Twitter post, the defensive back wrote, “I would like to thank all the coaches that have reached out to me this past week. I would also like to thank Coach Rolo for giving me this week to explore other options.”

It’s unclear how many Power Five coaches contacted Thomas, or if any of those presented him an opportunity to play this fall, but the 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior who’s started in 25 of 26 games the past two years indicated returning to WSU was his best option.

“This is a crazy time with a lot of uncertainty in the air and me returning to Pullman is the best option for my family and I,” Thomas wrote. “The WSU staff were extremely supportive of my decision to try and play this fall and did everything they could to help, it just wasn’t the best option available.”

Thomas continued: “My intentions have always been to finish my career at Washington State, they were just put on hold in response to the cancellation of this season.”

In 2019, Thomas started in 12 of 13 games for the Cougars, playing at both the “nickel” and strong safety positions. He was second on the team with 72 tackles and led the Cougars with four interceptions. Thomas was a 13-game starter at free safety the year prior, recording 76 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.

If every senior besides Martin returns this fall, the Cougars will have to fund 13 additional football scholarships. The NCAA announced a blanket waiver last week for all fall sport seniors and offered an extension of clock waiver that applies to all fall sport athletes. Schools are able to offer the same amount of financial aid to senior athletes, but aren’t required to.

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