Logan Mayes, son of legendary Washington State running back Rueben Mayes and a player who had a key part in a pivotal play in the 2012 Apple Cup, is leaving WSU to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

After playing the “Buck“ linebacker position — a hybrid defensive end/linebacker — last year in the first year of the Mike Leach regime, the 6-foot-2, 247-pound Mayes was switched to defensive end this year, where he could better utilize natural pass-rush skills.

But Rueben Mayes said Wednesday night, “He was told at the beginning of training camp he would never have a chance to be in the two-deep at defensive end.”

Mayes was considered less than the ideal player for pass coverage, one reason he was switched to end. But he dropped from the top two defensive units during training camp.

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Meanwhile, Rueben Mayes said, a family friend familiar with Cal Poly inquired about that school being an option. Contact was made earlier this week with the school, and Mayes will continue fall semester at WSU and transfer to the Big Sky school, where he will have two seasons of eligibility left.

“He’s a real good football player; I don’t think anybody would argue he’s their best pass-rusher,” Rueben Mayes said. “He had to decide if he’s going to be a role player for WSU or look for other places to play more. The Buck linebacker wasn’t an option as far as they’re concerned.”

Mayes made the decision now rather than jeopardize another year of eligibility if he played in WSU’s opener Saturday at Auburn.

In Washington’s first possession of overtime in the Apple Cup, Mayes broke through and caused UW quarterback Keith Price to loft the ball up, where defensive-line teammate Toni Pole picked it off and rambled for a near-touchdown. WSU later won, 31-28.

Rueben Mayes is WSU’s career-leading rusher (3,519 yards) and a two-time all-pro.

Mayes set a game rushing mark with 357 yards at Oregon in 1984.

Leach did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com