PULLMAN – Washington State’s two senior starters at the safety positions concluded their collegiate football careers Friday in the Sun Bowl, leaving the Cougars with plenty of recruiting work to do in their defensive backfield this offseason.
It only took a day for WSU to find one plug-and-play replacement.
Veteran strong safety Jordan Lee announced over Twitter on Saturday afternoon that he plans to transfer to the Pullman school as a graduate student.
Lee played for Nevada over the past four years, appearing in 46 games and totaling 138 tackles, seven tackles for loss, seven pass deflections and one interception. He logged 76 tackles this year alone, also forcing five fumbles, collecting five fumble recoveries and tallying five stops behind the line of scrimmage.
The All-Mountain West honorable mention pick is following defensive coordinator Brian Ward, who departed Nevada last month after two years in Reno to take the Cougars’ DC job. Another standout Wolf Pack defender is joining Lee on the Palouse for his final college season – all-conference linebacker Daiyan Henley signed with WSU on Dec. 21.
Lee, checking in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, is best known for his sure tackling and strong hitting abilities. He has a knack for punching the ball free, and that jibes well with WSU’s turnover-forcing M.O. on defense.
Lee, a native of Los Angeles, grew up in Las Vegas and played for national prep powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Despite helping the team to back-to-back state championships – he was also a star sprinter for the Gaels’ track team – Lee went under the radar. According to the Wolf Pack’s athletics website, Nevada was the only Division I school to recruit him.
He emerged as a special-teamer during his true freshman season in 2018, then began to see significant playing time on defense in 2019. He recorded 40 tackles that season.
It appears that none of the four safeties listed on the Cougars’ Week 1 two-deep will be back in 2022.
George Hicks III and Tyrone Hill Jr. started in their final college games Friday, when the Cougars dropped a 24-21 game to Central Michigan at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.
Grad student Daniel Isom started over Hill at strong safety throughout the year, but sustained a season-ending leg injury Nov. 18 against Arizona. Sophomore Halid Djibril won a preseason competition for free safety over Hicks before suffering a serious leg injury in Week 2 against Portland State. Djibril, who hasn’t played since, entered the transfer portal Nov. 22.
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