A key piece to WSU football recruitment and defensive line heading to Oregon


WSU defensive line coach Joe Salave’a talks with some of his defensive line players. 

From staff reports

WSU football defensive line coach Joe Salave’a has agreed to sign with the University of Oregon to fill the same position.

No official statements have been made yet, but multiple sources, including Aaron Fentress of CSN Northwest, have reported the career change. A tweet from junior defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa also seems to indicate that Salave’a’s departure is imminent.

Salave’a has been with the Cougars since 2012 and previous reports indicated that Salave’a was close to signing, or had already signed, an extension with WSU that would take him through the 2019 season.

Under Salave’a, the WSU defensive line has racked up 138 total sacks, almost 28 per season and has become one of the strongest parts of the Cougar defense.

The departure of American Samoa native Salave’a will result in a huge loss to WSU’s American Samoa recruiting efforts, as Salave’a has lead the efforts in recruiting the seven American Samoa players currently on the roster.

Standout players like senior Safety Shalom Luani, junior linebacker Frankie Luvu, junior defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale and redshirt senior nose tackle Robert Barber all hail from American Samoa.

Salave’a also helped recruit and develop Destiny Vaeao, who is currently playing defensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles and recorded two sacks and 15 tackles in his rookie season. The loss of recruiting ties to American Samoa could be a major blow to a floundering 2017 recruiting effort.

The Cougars’ 2017 class is currently ranked at 44th in the country and 10th in the Pac-12 by 247sports and further troubles could severely hinder WSU football in the long run.

With the offseason officially beginning and recruiting season shifting into high gear, it will be pivotal for the remaining WSU coaching staff to stay on the recruiting trail despite losing Salave’a.

The immediate impact of Salave’a’s departure will be apparent on Feb. 1, National Signing Day.

Reporting by Nick Thomas