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Cougar Notes: WSU add seven players from the portal, Hicks declares for the NFL

Jan. 10—The early signing day was far from the end of the recruiting process for the Washington State football team, which has added seven players from the NCAA transfer portal since that Dec. 20 date, many of them coming in the last two days.

The Cougars met several positions of need by adding three wide receivers and a quarterback, and four of the signees have joined since Monday.

Meanwhile, star safety Jaden Hicks declared for the NFL draft and wide receiver Orion Peters is transferring eight miles east to Idaho.

Let's catch up with the Cougs:

WSU signs seven from portal

From the portal, the Cougars recently added quarterback Zevi Eckhaus (Bryant), wide receiver Kyle Maxwell (Louisiana Tech), wide receiver Kris Hutson (Oregon), wide receiver Tre Shackelford (Austin Peay), defensive back Tyson Durant (Akron), linebacker Keith Brown (Louisville) and linebacker Parker McKenna (Portland State). They also added junior college transfer Anthony Pinnance, a defensive back from Independence Community College in Kansas.

Of the bunch, Eckhaus might be the most intriguing. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound gunslinger was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The incoming senior holds multiple school records at Bryant and last season went 238-of-379 (62.8%) passing for 2,907 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions en route to a 6-5 record. Eckhaus will compete for the starting quarterback job with a group of youngsters that includes incoming sophomore John Mateer and true freshman Evans Chuba.

At wideout, Hutson racked up 75 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns during his first two seasons with the Ducks in 2021 and '22 before catching just one pass in five games last season. The 5-11 senior could also be a contributor on special teams.

Fellow wideout Shackelford recorded 52 catches for 799 yards and six touchdowns last season at the FCS level.

The three wideout additions should help ease the losses of Josh Kelly (transferred to Texas Tech) and Lincoln Victor (graduated) and add depth behind returning leader Kyle Williams.

The transfer group joins WSU's 25 signees from the early signing period.

Hicks declares for NFL draft

The Cougar defense took a blow when arguably its best returning player, sophomore safety Jaden Hicks, declared for the NFL draft.

Hicks was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 honoree last season after tallying 79 tackles, two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown, four passes defensed, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

He was known for his hard hits and being in the right spot at the right time.

Hicks made the announcement on social media Friday. He joins quarterback Cam Ward in declaring early for the NFL draft.

WSU's Peters picks Vandals

Former Cougars wide receiver Orion Peters will stay on the Palouse to play football.

Peters recently announced he will join Idaho coach Jason Eck and the Vandals next season.

The incoming junior did not field a catch last season but totaled 13 catches for 138 yards and one score as a freshman in 2022. He started two of his 13 games played that season.

Jackson accepts Senior Bowl invite

WSU senior edge Brennan Jackson accepted an invite to the Reese's Senior Bowl — the premier college football all-star game.

Jackson, who scored three defensive touchdowns last season, was a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree and a major leader of the team the last three seasons.

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, swiebe@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @StephanSports.