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Sports >  WSU football

Veteran Washington State offensive lineman Brian Greene enters transfer portal

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 10, 2022

Washington State center Brian Greene prepares for a snap against BYU on Oct. 23 at Gesa Field in Pullman.  (Associated Press)
Washington State center Brian Greene prepares for a snap against BYU on Oct. 23 at Gesa Field in Pullman. (Associated Press)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

The Washington State Cougars ended their season late last month knowing full well that they need help on their offensive line.

Less than two weeks later, yet another hole has opened up in the WSU trenches.

Veteran center Brian Greene, a two-year Cougar starter, announced Monday over Twitter that he intends to transfer out of the Pullman school and play his final year of eligibility elsewhere.

WSU enters the offseason with big shoes to fill on its O-line. Abraham Lucas, a four-year standout at right tackle, is headed to the NFL. Mainstay left tackle Liam Ryan has completed his collegiate eligibility.

Only three of the Cougs’ returning O-linemen have seen significant playing time at this level.

Greene, a Yakima native, walked on at WSU in 2017 and earned a scholarship a year later. He appeared in 18 games, mostly on special teams, throughout his freshman and sophomore seasons before locking up the starting job ahead of the 2020 campaign.

Greene earned a degree in history and an honorable mention All-Pac-12 nod in 2020. He started six games this season, missing three contests because of an injury sustained in Week 1 and another two because of an unspecified personal matter.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder returned to the starting lineup for four games in October, and the Cougs’ offensive line was immediately more effective.

In his stead, sophomore Konner Gomness started at center. Greene rotated in at the guard positions in a few games early this season while working his way back to full health.

He started at left guard for WSU’s shorthanded offensive line in a 24-21 loss to Central Michigan at the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.

Lucas opted out of the postseason and Ryan missed the game with an injury, forcing the Cougars to shift some pieces around and thrust a couple of young hogs into action. In short, WSU’s makeshift O-line stumbled against CMU.

Before Monday’s news, Greene had been expected to return to WSU and start at either center or guard next year. He was not among those honored on senior night Nov. 19.

Greene accepted a preferred walk-on offer to WSU out of Eisenhower High over offers from Montana, Montana State and South Dakota State.

Greene tweeted out a farewell letter Monday afternoon.

“The past few years in Pullman have been some of the best years of my life,” he wrote. “I’ve had the privilege of being a part of some of the best years in Cougar football history. To my teammates past and present, we’ve been through an indescribable amount of adversity. Overcoming those obstacles with you guys and growing as close as we became will forever be something I’m proud of and cherish for the rest of my life.

“To my coaches, I’d like to thank all of you for playing a role in shaping myself as a player and as a man. The many life lessons I’ve received will stay with me forever. I will always be proud of my time in Pullman and being a graduate of WSU.”

Gomness will presumably be the Cougars’ center going forward. Ma’ake Fifita shared starting responsibilities throughout the year at right guard with Cade Beresford, who has since transferred to Boise State. Left guard Jarrett Kingston is expected to return for his senior year. Coach Jake Dickert indicated last month that Kingston may be moved to tackle.

Should Greene depart, WSU will be losing 37 starts’ worth of experience.

The Cougs entered their 2021 season well-stocked with veterans on their offensive line. Now, they’ll rebuild in the offseason under first-year O-line coach Clay McGuire. WSU will surely be looking for seasoned transfers who can contribute immediately.

Naulu, Pospisil enter portal

Backup running back Peni Naulu entered his name into the transfer portal less than an hour after Greene, announcing over Twitter that he’s searching “for more opportunities elsewhere this upcoming year.” Reserve wide receiver Billy Pospisil III has entered the portal, as well, according to Cougfan.com.

Naulu, a 6-2, 210-pound redshirt sophomore from Hawaii, came to WSU as a three-star linebacker recruit. He chose the Cougs over offers from Washington, Oregon, UCLA and Cal, among others.

WSU staffers moved Naulu to RB during preseason camp in 2020. He played some special-teams reps over the past three years, but didn’t record any stats.

Pospisil, a sophomore Colorado native, signed with the Cougs ahead of the 2019 season and appeared in 10 career games, primarily on special teams. He didn’t log any statistics.

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