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Sports >  WSU football

Washington State safety George Hicks III, tackle Liam Ryan earn Pac-12 weekly awards

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 11, 2021

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

Washington State safety George Hicks III and left tackle Liam Ryan pulled in Pac-12 Conference weekly honors Sunday.

Hicks, who was named the league’s defensive player of the week, led the Cougars and logged a career-high 10 tackles in WSU’s 31-24 win over Oregon State on Saturday in Pullman.

He also made the game-sealing stop, tripping up Beaver running back Trey Lowe on the 4-yard line – a yard shy of the first-down marker on a fourth-and-19 play with less than a minute remaining in the game. Hicks recorded a diving interception late in the second quarter.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hicks was the second-most efficient defender in the Pac-12 this weekend. He earned the best coverage grade in the Pac-12 and the sixth-best in the country.

The grad student from San Bernardino, California, made a position switch this offseason, moving from cornerback to free safety.

“He looks like a safety, he’s playing like a safety,” WSU coach Nick Rolovich said. “He’s making tackles. I think he’s anticipating stuff. He’s enjoying being a major contributor on defense. A guy that makes a real unselfish move in the offseason for the betterment of the team and is having success is a great story to point to for the young guys and future guys that come into this program.”

Ryan earned the league’s offensive lineman of the week award. The senior from Chino Hills, California, who has started 36 career games, anchored an offensive line that helped the Cougs produce 491 yards of offense – the most of the Rolovich era.

He played 71 snaps at left tackle, registering six knockdown blocks while not allowing a QB pressure. Ryan was graded by PFF as the No. 12 offensive tackle in the country last weekend.

“He changed his body and he’s playing good football,” Rolovich said. “The (pro) scouts are impressed with him this year because of some of those physical changes and that he’s playing good football, but I think his mental approach is much more controlled and matured. He’s just been so consistent for us all year ‘round.”

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