Dominick Silvels, a Washington State linebacker who led the Cougars in sacks last year but missed the entirety of the 2019 season with undisclosed personal issues, has entered the transfer portal and won’t return to Pullman next season.

Silvels was one of the most productive players on WSU’s defense in 2018, playig in all 13 games and leading the Cougars with 4½ sacks, while finishing with 7½ tackles-for-loss and 25 total tackles.

The San Diego native and Patrick Henry High product was projected to play an important role for WSU’s defense in 2019 after switching from “Rush” linebacker to the middle linebacker position he played as a freshman in Pullman.

On Twitter, Silvels wrote, “I appreciate all the coaches at WSU along with the players that I have built bonds with these past few years. This place will always hold a special place in my heart. So with that being said, I will be putting my name in the portal and transferring. Once a Coug always a Coug!”

After WSU’s week two game against Northern Colorado, Leach told The Spokesman-Review Silvels was working through “personal issues” but indicated the linebacker would be able to rejoin the team at some point.

On Oct. 16, when asked about Silvels, Leach said “I’m kind of curious why I don’t have an update. That’s befuddling to me.” Approximately three weeks later, Leach said, “You always remind me and I need to follow up on (Silvels).”


Despite losing Silvels, the Cougars bring back a handful of rotation linebackers, including All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention choice Jahad Woods, who finished second in the league with 121 tackles this season. WSU also returns starting linebacker Justus Rogers and promising freshman Travion Brown, who earned All-Pac-12 Second Team Tuesday as a special teams/all-purpose player.

Mazza tops list of All Pac-12 Cougars

Despite boasting the league’s most potent scoring attack at 39.2 points per game, Washington State didn’t manage to place an offensive player on the All-Pac-12 First Team, but eight Cougars were named to the all-league teams released Tuesday afternoon.

Blake Mazza, a Lou Groza Award finalist who’ll have a chance to win the award given to the nation’s top kicker, was the only WSU player named to the all-conference first team. Quarterback Anthony Gordon, the first 5,000-yard passer in conference history, earned a second team nod along with sophomore right tackle Abraham Lucas and true freshman linebacker Travion Brown, who made it as an all-purpose/special teams selection.

Four other Cougars received at least one all-league vote from the panel of coaches that vote on the postseason teams and were named to All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention: running back Max Borghi, right guard Josh Watson, wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. and linebacker Jahad Woods.