Mike Leach says he believes junior quarterback Luke Falk will stay in school instead of leaving WSU early to enter the 2017 NFL Draft

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Washington State coach Mike Leach says he believes Luke Falk will return for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL. Leach made those comments Monday morning at a news conference before the Holiday Bowl.

A reporter questioned whether Tuesday’s bowl game against Minnesota would be Falk’s final game, and asked Leach to quantify what the Cougars’ junior quarterback has meant to his team in two and a half seasons as its starter.

“It won’t be his last game,” Leach said, simply. “We’ll see what his last game means to the program.”

Leach acknowledged later that he’s had conversations with Falk about his future, but did not elaborate, saying “any conversations we’ve had are between us, but I don’t believe he’s leaving.”

Earlier this fall, Falk (6-foot-4, 216-pounds) denied a report saying he’d decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, and claimed that if he had to decide midseason, he would stay.

With his football I.Q., his accuracy and ability to make every throw in the playbook, coupled with his toughness and leadership qualities, Falk is regarded as a possible early-to-mid round NFL Draft selection, though, experts say, he will have to show NFL teams that he’s durable enough to play at the next level, and will also have to transition from Leach’s Air Raid to a pro-style scheme.

Falk’s plan has always been to finish out the season with the Cougars and then evaluate all his options. But based on Leach’s comments Monday, it appears that he’s decided to return.

It’s worth noting, however, that upon seeing reports of Leach’s comments, Falk’s older sister, Natalee Falk tweeted Monday afternoon, “This has not been confirmed by Luke. He is making his decision after the Holiday Bowl game.” Strangely, Natalee Falk deleted her original tweet less than two hours after sending it out.

Falk has rewritten the WSU record book over the last two years and is currently the NCA’s active career leader in passing yards per game (354.3), and fourth in TD passes (88). The junior signal caller has thrown for 4,204 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns this season, while throwing only 10 interceptions.

He is second nationally in completion percentage (71.0), owns a school-record 23 career 300-yard passing games, and is third in Cougars history with 10,629 passing yards. He also trails only Jason Gesser for the record of wins by a WSU quarterback. Falk has led WSU to 18 wins. Gesser finished his illustrious career with 24 wins.

Falk goes into the Holiday Bowl with a chance to pass Alex Brink for second place on WSU’s career passing yards list, and could also break Connor Halliday’s career record for passing touchdowns (90). He sits one passing touchdown away from tying his own single season record of 38, set in 2015.