PULLMAN – After seven years at Washington State and 50 appearances in a Cougars uniform, Renard Bell’s collegiate career has come to an end.
One of the longest-tenured players in WSU program history, Bell “will not be back” for the Cougars’ bowl game later this month, coach Jake Dickert informed media members Friday.
Bell missed five games this year with an injury, including WSU’s regular-season finale last weekend – a 51-33 loss to Washington on senior night at Gesa Field in Pullman. He won’t recover in time for the Cougars’ postseason game, which will be announced Sunday during a bowl-selection show.
“We just can’t get him to that point (of full health),” Dickert said, “and I don’t think he wants to have a chance to risk an injury for his future.”
Injuries derailed Bell’s final two years with WSU. He spent the 2021 season sidelined after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the summer, but received a medical redshirt and returned to WSU for a seventh and final season. The slotback from Los Angeles was back in big-play form for the Cougars’ first five games this year, then sustained an arm injury Oct. 8 at USC, which kept him out of action for the next four games.
He rejoined the lineup Nov. 19 at Arizona but reaggravated the injury in the second half and was held out of the Apple Cup. Bell still finished the year as WSU’s fourth-most productive receiver, recording 315 yards and two touchdowns on 27 catches.
A team captain since 2019 who broke into the starting lineup in 2017, Bell wrapped up his extended stay at WSU with 1,971 yards and 18 touchdowns on 174 receptions.
He sits in a tie for 10th in WSU history in receiving touchdowns, and finished just outside the program’s top 10 in career catches and receiving yards. With 50 games played, Bell comes in just six games back of the program record for career appearances (56) – shared by linebackers Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers, both of whom played at WSU from 2016 to ’21.
“Renard has given so much to this program,” Dickert said early last month.
“It’s special to watch. It’s special to me. He wanted to stick around. He wanted to finish it here. He wanted to be a part of what we wanted to do, and keep building our program. I’m proud of Renard, I really am. What he’s given us is tremendous, and what he’s given this university … this kid has done a lot.”
One of the Cougars’ other veterans is expected to return to the field for the bowl game. Senior nickel Armani Marsh, a sixth-year Cougar out of Spokane, missed the Apple Cup due to an unspecified injury, but should be available for his WSU finale.
Marsh didn’t practice Friday but took part in light workouts and seems to be progressing well, according to Dickert.
“He’s finally running and getting to a point where we want him to get,” Dickert said. “He wants to get there. There’s a huge desire for him to go out and finish. Remember, this bowl game is a reward … for a team that went out and earned something, especially for these seniors and especially for a guy that missed his last game as a senior here at Martin Stadium.
“I think Armani is more driven than ever to get back and I’m putting my chips down that he’s going to be out there.”
A team captain and WSU’s most experienced defender, Marsh has appeared in 45 career games, starting 30. He’s the Cougars’ No. 3 tackler (60) this season and one of their most consistent defensive backs in pass coverage.
Marsh has added three tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and five pass deflections this season.
He ranks among the 10 highest-graded cornerbacks/nickels in the Pac-12, according to Pro Football Focus’ performance metrics.
Marsh’s absence against Washington was glaring. The Huskies picked on his young backup, and WSU’s defense gave up a season-high 485 passing yards.
Asked about potential opt-outs for the bowl game, Dickert didn’t provide a concrete update but noted “most of those guys are ready to go.”
Backup offensive tackle Jack Wilson concluded his football career Saturday and joined WSU’s basketball program this week. The 6-foot-11 Wilson, who played basketball at Oregon State and Idaho before walking on to WSU’s football team, played a minute off the bench late in the Cougars’ 74-60 loss to Oregon on Thursday night.
“This is something that’s been in the works for a bit,” Dickert said. “(WSU basketball coach Kyle Smith) kinda approached me about it, then we approached Jack about it. You should have seen the smile on his face. He’s going to go there with so much more confidence than the last time he played basketball. That’s what football did for Jack Wilson. You talk to him about it, he’s so appreciative about the opportunity.”
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