PRO COUGS TRACKER: Bennett bound for pacific northwest, seven Cougs in NFL playoffs

ProCougs Tracker: Jan. 13, 2023

WSU+forward+Elyse+Bennett+%2813%29+prepares+to+recieve+a+throw-in+from+a+teammate+during+an+NCAA+Tournament+match+against+the+University+of+Montana+at+Lower+Soccer+Field%2C+Saturday%2C+Nov.+13%2C+2021%2C+in+Pullman.

COLE QUINN

WSU forward Elyse Bennett (13) prepares to recieve a throw-in from a teammate during an NCAA Tournament match against the University of Montana at Lower Soccer Field, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Pullman.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

Former WSU soccer star Elyse Bennett is back in the northwest to play soccer, seven Cougs are on playoff-bound NFL teams and Klay Thompson is still a legend.

NWSL

Bennett is coming back to the pacific northwest. The standout WSU soccer player spent her rookie season in Kansas City and lost to fellow Cougar legend Morgan Weaver in the NWSL Championship. 

Bennett is headed to the OL Reign in Seattle.

Fifth-year senior Mykiaa Minniss was selected by the Kansas City Current, she set the record for the most starts as a WSU field player at 92.

Minniss was drafted 35th overall by the Current.

SERENA HOFDAHL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Then-sophomore defender Mykiaa Minniss defends the ball from Montana sophomore midfielder Zoe Transtrum during the game against University of Montana on Aug. 30, 2019 at the Lower Soccer Field.

NFL

Many Pro Cougars wrapped up their NFL season Sunday including Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson and Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu.

ZACH RUBIO | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Then-sophomore safety Jalen Thompson heads onto the field before kickoff during a game against Oregon State University on Sept. 16, 2017.

Thompson finished his year with 110 total tackles (79 solos tied for 23rd most in the NFL) and one interception.

ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen
Senior lineman Frankie Luvu talks after practice Tuesday night about his preparations for Saturday’s game against Stanford.

Luvu ended the year with 111 total tackles (76 solo tackles) and one interception. 

Daniel Ekuale recorded 14 tackles in 2022 for the New England Patriots.

Each were solid contributors to NFL teams that will spend the rest of January on the couch.

In the playoffs, fans will see seven former Cougs, including Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who lost both of his starts by throwing three touchdowns and three interceptions along with a completion percentage around 50%.

Minshew joins his college and pro teammate Andre Dillard for a potential championship run, which Eagles fans hope Minshew will, unfortunately, spend on the bench with Jalen Hurts healthy again. 

PAIGE CAMPBELL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II runs the ball down field for a gain of yards in the game against University of Utah on Sept. 30, 2018, at Martin Stadium.

The Miami Dolphins are home to two former WSU wide receivers: River Cracraft and Calvin Jackson Jr. Cracraft, who caught his first two NFL touchdowns in consecutive games in September 2022.

The Seattle Seahawks are home to Abraham Lucas, the Everett native and Wazzu standout offensive lineman who has helped Geno Smith and Kenneth Walker III thrive and the Hawks return to the postseason. Another Seahawk is Easop Winston Jr. who spent three seasons on the Palouse, earning an All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention in 2019, a season in which he caught 11 TDs.

OLIVER MCKENNA
Redshirt senior Easop Winston Jr. hugs senior wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. after winning the game against OSU Saturday night at Martin Stadium.

Finally, Wat’s island can now be found in Kansas City as Justin Herbert discovered earlier this year. Jaylen Watson has emerged as a standout cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs and will seek to earn his first ring.

COLE QUINN
University of Southern California wide receiver Drake London (15) catches a pass while WSU defensive back Jaylen Watson (0) attempts to tackle him during the second half of a college football game, Sept. 18, 2021, in Pullman.

BOOOOOOORRRRGHIIIIIIIII!!! 

Football fans will see fan-favorite WSU running back Max Borghi hit the gridiron again after being cut by three NFL teams over the spring and summer. Those three culprits are the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, all three teams missed the playoffs and we all know it is because of the bad Cougar juju for cutting Borghi.

MASON MARON
WSU running back Max Borghi (21) waves to the camera while running onto the field before a college football game against University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman.

Borghi signed with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks after they drafted him 41st overall in the 2022 XFL Draft. 

The XFL stands for Extreme Football League and is devoted to giving fans a spring football experience and providing players on the NFL and Canadian Football League roster bubbles a venue to improve their skills and catch the eyes of other professional opportunities.

Borghi is one of two former Cougars in the XFL in 2023. 

Brandon Arconado was selected 26th overall by the Arlington Renegades.

HSING-HAN CHEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Graduate student wide receiver Brandon Arconado attempts to run up the field against Stanford on Nov. 16, 2022, at Martin Stadium.

As a walk-on in 2017, Arconado played three seasons on the Palouse including a break-out 2019 senior season that saw him start 11 games and catch 78 passes for 1,109 yards, including seven 100-yard games and seven touchdowns.

Klay Thompson

OLIVER MCKENNA
Former WSU basketball player and current NBA player Klay Thmpson waves a shirt above his head during the basketball game against OSU Saturday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum. Thompson had his jersey retired during halftime, becoming the second player to have his jersey retired as a Cougar.

Could Klay Thompson actually leave Golden State? In the midst of a championship blues for the Warriors in which Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Thompson have all missed games because of injury, speculation is rampant that Green and Thompson could be on their way out at season’s end to make way for the franchises’ younger talents such as Jordan Poole.

The reigning NBA Champions have started the year slow and a rebound looks unlikely. 

However, if there ever were a group prepared to make such a resurgence and at least ride it into the playoffs, it would be the splash brothers-led Golden State Warriors.

Curry and Thompson are in the top 15 all-time for successful 3-point shots. When the splash brothers are thriving, the NBA is thriving.

In 2022–23,Thompson averaged 20.8 points per game and shot 41.5% from the field and 38.5% from three.

On Jan. 2, Thompson rang in the new year with a monster 54-point game in which he shot 53.8% from the field and 47.6% from three. 

Could Wazzu’s dearest baller be headed to an NBA team near you? Fans will need to wait and see.

Good luck to all of the Cougs in the NFL playoffs (especially Lucas and Winston, Go Hawks!) and congratulations to Mykiaa Minniss.

Thank you for reading and go Cougs!