Looking back, the spring of 2014 is when the future of WSU's quarterbacking position was decided: Luke Falk and Tyler Bruggman went at it in spring camp. One prevailed, the other transferred.
It would have been one of the most intriguing story lines in advance of Washington State’s season opener against Montana State on Sept. 2: former four-star prospect and quarterback Tyler Bruggman returns to Pullman with his new team, the Bobcats, to face the Cougars.
OK so Bruggman probably wouldn’t have been starting — he stared half the season for Montana State last year before he was benched for Chris Murray, who went on to win Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors — but it would have been a good story nonetheless.
However, Bruggman won’t be making that trip to Pullman because he has apparently decided to leave Montana State, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Tuesday. Bruggman, who graduated from Montana State last Saturday with his business degree, would have had one year of eligibility left, but has decided to leave Bozeman to start an MBA program elsewhere.
It’s incredible now to look back to the summer of 2013 and reflect on the divergent paths Bruggman and the then-much less heralded WSU walk-on Luke Falk have taken.
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In 2013, as a freshman quarterback, Bruggman was viewed by most as the heir apparent to Conner Halliday.
Or, as former WSU receiver Gabe Marks expressed it in a press conference interview last fall, “Bruggman at the time was supposed to be the second coming of Moses.”
Falk, on the other hand, was buried on the depth chart, an anonymous walk on. Yet, even in those early days, Falk flashed potential while Bruggman faded.
That summer, “the second coming of Moses was standing in the background not getting any reps in 7-on-7,” Marks said.
Then, in the spring of 2014, Falk pulled away from Bruggman for good, and that, perhaps, was the beginning of Falk’s ascension to his eventual role of full-time starter and the enigmatic leader of WSU’s offense.
In the spring game of 2014, “it was (Falk) and Bruggeman going at it and, (Falk) beat him out,” Marks said. “He and Ty went at it, and he beat him out. … He outplayed (Bruggman) that day, and I was like, ‘All right, this guy looks like he’s throwing a pretty nice ball. A really catchable ball.’ I was like, ‘I think I can make this work.'”
Bruggman transferred to Louisville in the summer of 2014, and he sat out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Then he transferred home to Arizona, where he played for Scottsdale College before transferring to Montana State in spring 2016.
Meanwhile, Falk, who was sixth on the depth chart when he walked on to the WSU football team in 2013, is returning for his third season as WSU’s starting quarterback, and is being touted as a future NFL talent.
It’s just another reminder that recruiting stars don’t necessarily translate to successful college careers.