The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Eight Cougs earn NFL opportunity on day three

Three draftees, three undrafted signees and two camp invites
WSU edge rusher Brennan Jackson celebrates a sack during an NCAA football match against Utah, Oct. 27.

As the current Cougs took the field Saturday for the Crimson and Gray Spring game, eight alumni heard their phone ring with a chance to pursue their NFL dream on day three of the 2024 NFL draft.

The word is already out on these star Coug grads, but now their next homes are in sight.

Jaden Hicks – Safety

Jaden Hicks goes up to defend the ball, coming down with the interception to start the second half, Nov. 25, in Seattle, Wash.

Hicks was the first Coug off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft, and for good reason. Initially a projected second or third-round pick by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the Chiefs add another Coug to their defensive secondary.

After being selected in the fourth round with the No. 133rd pick, Hicks joins Jaylen Watson in Kansas City as Hicks looks to help the Chiefs to their third straight super bowl.

In 12 games in 2023, Hicks recorded 79 tackles, two interceptions and six passes defended while also forcing two fumbles and registering 2.5 sacks.

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Brennan Jackson – Edge

WSU edge Brennan Jackson signs a poster after the WSU football spring game, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Jackson joins the likes of Braden Fiske and more in attempting to fill the void left by the retirement of defensive tackle Aaron Donald on the Los Angeles Rams.

Certainly, no one player can do so, but the Rams now have the size and strength of Jackson to help solidify their front after taking him with the 154th pick in the draft. Sunny skies are ahead for the Palouse’s own beloved BJack.

Jackson had a career-high 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2023 while also forcing a fumble, recovering four and scoring three defensive touchdowns.

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Chau Smith-Wade – Cornerback

WSU defensive back Chau Smith-Wade lines up during practice, Aug. 17, at GESA Field.

Smith-Wade goes to the Carolina Panthers with the 158th pick in the sixth round. He was the third and final Coug selected in the draft and the third defensive player. He joins fellow Coug alum Frankie Luvu on the Panther’s defense as they look to boost their squad out of the last-place finish they had last season.

Smith-Wade had 36 tackles, two for loss and six passes defended in just seven games in 2023. He also recorded two interceptions in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, winning defensive player of the game.

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Ron Stone Jr. – Edge

WSU edge rusher Ron Stone Jr. celebrates after defeating Colorado State 38-7, Sep. 17, 2022.

After performing in the Hula Bowl, Stone is the second Cougar edge, and fourth defensive player to earn a shot in the NFL. He signed an undrafted rookie free agent deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he can learn under guys like Maxx Crosby in the ways of pass rush.

He is also one of three Cougs to sign as UDFA’’s. 

Stone tied a career-high 2023 with five sacks while also recording 11 tackles for loss, 60 tackles and forcing three fumbles.

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Cam Lampkin – Cornerback

Cam Lampkin celebrates after breaking up a pass, Nov. 17, in Pullman, Wash.

A senior standout opposite Smith-Wade, and huge in his absence, Lampkin gets a crack at the league after signing a UDFA deal with the Los Angeles Rams. He joins fellow former Coug Brennan Jackson in LA and joins battering mate Smith-Wade as the second WSU corner this year’s NFL-bound class.

He and Smith-Wade also mark the second Cougar defensive position duo to get an NFL opportunity.

Lampkin totaled a career-best 34 tackles and seven passes defended in 2023.

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Lincoln Victor – Wide receiver

Lincoln Victor runs in a touchdown in an NCAA Football game against Northern Colorado Sept. 16, 2023 at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

The lone offensive Cougar to get an NFL look, Victor signed a UDFA deal with the Denver Broncos where he will catch passes from WSU rival Bo Nix, the former Oregon Ducks quarterback and 12th overall pick of the Broncos Thursday night.

Victor showed his craftiness by putting together his best season in his final year and projects as a slot receiver as he was in college, after cracking the top-10 in catches in a season in WSU history with 89.

Victor also tallied 860 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2023.

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Sam Lockett III – Safety

WSU defensive back Sam Lockett III tackles wide receiver Lincoln Victor during the 2022 Spring Game, April 23, at Martin Stadium.

The third Cougar DB getting a chance in the NFL, Lockett received a rookie minicamp invite from the Seattle Seahawks following the draft. If you’re a Seahawks fan, this has fun local ties and presents Lockett a chance to reunite with former Coug offensive tackle Abraham Lucas.

Lockett also received an invite from the Kansas City Chiefs. There is work to get a true shot, but he has his chance.

Lockett racked up a career-high 73 tackles, three for loss and a half sack in 2023. He also added on two interceptions, three passes defended and his first career forced fumble.

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Devin Richardson – Linebacker

Devin Richardson and his family on his senior night, Nov. 17, in Pullman, Wash.

Of the eight Cougs working out for NFL teams soon, seven are from the defense. Richardson, a Texas transfer, had his ups and downs but like Lockett received a camp invite from the Seattle Seahawks, flooding Seattle’s rookie minicamp with Cougs.

These two Cougs will also defend former rival and University of Washington tight end Jack Westover at minicamp after he signed a UDFA deal with the Seahawks.

Richardson had 62 tackles, 2.5 for loss and a sack in 2023.

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Whether during the draft or after, WSU is making strides across the national scene planting seeds around the NFL for the 2024-25 season. Make sure to check out your favorite former Cougs in the league, because they always find their way back home.

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About the Contributors
LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen sports co-editor
Luke Westfall is a junior in Broadcast News from Custer, WA. He is an avid fanatic of the many sports at many levels who spends all his available time indulging in them. Luke began working at the Evergreen in Spring 2022.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.
HAILEE SPEIR, Evergreen photo editor
Hailee Speir is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Hailee is a junior English education major from Spokane, Washington. Hailee started working for the Evergreen in fall 2021 as a photographer.