WSU's Roy Manning is leaving for UCLA to become the Bruins' new special teams coordinator

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Washington State rush linebackers coach Roy Manning is leaving to join Chip Kelly’s staff at UCLA, Bruce Feldman reported Wednesday.

Manning will join the UCLA staff as special-teams coordinator, Feldman reported, adding that several schools have tried to hire Manning this winter.

Manning, 35, just completed his third season at WSU, making a base salary of $301,500 in 2017. He joined the staff shortly after Mike Leach hired Alex Grinch as defensive coordinator in 2015 and helped Grinch overhaul the WSU defense, which finished 16th nationally in total defense this season.

Under Manning’s tutelage, WSU’s rush linebackers have blossomed. Frankie Luvu switched from inside linebacker to rush linebacker before this season and finished his senior year with a career-high 12 tackles for loss — second on the team behind Hercules Mata’afa. Manning also coached the nickelbacks, and this season he helped junior Hunter Dale grow into the starting spot. Dale had eight tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups.

Manning came to WSU from Michigan, where he coached outside linebackers and cornerbacks from 2013-14. Manning graduated from Michigan in 2004 and played three seasons in the NFL, with the Bengals, Jaguars, Bills, Texans and Packers.

Manning has been a prolific recruiter at WSU. As the Cougars’ San Diego area recruiter, the list of players he helped bring to WSU includes safety Jalen Thompson, defensive end Derek Moore and defensive end Will Rodgers.

His energetic personalty also has struck a chord with Cougars fans on Twitter.

Manning is the first WSU assistant reported to leave the staff this offseason. Grinch is expected to join Ohio State as the Buckeyes’ 10th assistant after new NCAA rules permitting an extra coach go into effect Jan. 9.

Manning’s reported departure, Grinch’s pending departure and the new rules permitting a 10th assistant would give Leach three positions to fill for the 2018 season.