In a span of 57 days, Washington State defensive back Skyler Thomas has entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal, removed it and now entered it for a second time.
The redshirt senior from California explored playing options outside of Pullman when it seemed the Pac-12 wouldn’t be holding a football season, entering his name in the portal on Aug. 18. Within a week of that decision, though, Thomas announced he’d be returning to WSU for his senior season. Now, the Riverside, California, native has changed his mind again, entering his name in the transfer portal on Wednesday.
First-year WSU coach Nick Rolovich confirmed a report from Rivals.com that Thomas had resubmitted his name in the portal. After taking Tuesday off, the Cougars returned to the field Wednesday for their fourth practice of this preseason camp.
“We had a talk yesterday and he feels like it’s the best thing for him right now, and we wish him nothing but the best,” Rolovich said. “There’s no ill will from either side, in my opinion. This is a real difficult time for all of these kids and I think right now we’ve just got to be as supportive as we can with them, and know who’s going to roll with us and who’s not. Skyler, we’ve been through a lot already in a short period, and I wish him nothing but the best in success in where he plays next.”
After the first day of fall camp, Rolovich indicated the team was glad to have Thomas back in the fold after his initial decision to enter the transfer portal, a reaction to the Pac-12’s decision not to play football in 2020, as other conferences plowed forward.
Wide receiver Tay Martin made a similar move and left the Cougars for Oklahoma State, but Thomas seemed content staying put on the Palouse.
“We’re happy to have him back,” said Rolovich at the time, also commending Thomas for communicating his transfer plans to the coaching staff in an effective manner.
Thomas’ reasons for entering the portal a second time are still unclear, but the Cougars will have the task of replacing someone who started in 25 of 26 games the past two seasons, playing at the strong and free safety positions along with nickel.
“Well, he’s a very productive player that played a lot of football for us,” Rolovich said. “So that would suggest you’re losing a player who’s produced and played at this level on this stage before. So now it’s time for somebody to step up.”
In three seasons at WSU, Thomas had 152 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 12 passes defended and two fumble recoveries.
Redshirt senior “Edge” Will Rodgers III was asked about losing Thomas and offered a response that was much more succinct than the one Rolovich gave.
“Best of luck to him,” Rodgers said.
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