Bomber says sights set on new flight plan

PULLMAN -- A lingering knee injury and lack of playing time prompted Blair Bomber to leave the Washington State football program earlier this week, the speedy slot receiver from Lynden told Wednesday evening. And while he said the decision wasn't easy, he knows exactly where the new path is heading.

"One of the reasons I left was all about playing time," he said in a phone interview. "The only way I envisioned myself playing was if a few of my teammates went down and I didn't want to be in a position where I was rooting for that."

Bomber said he plans to finish up the fall semester at WSU, take a few months off to work and workout, and then transfer to Eastern Washington to play for Beau Baldwin's No. 1-ranked FCS team next season.

EWU was one of three schools to offer Bomber a scholarship put of high school.

Bomber (5-8, 160) redshirted as a Cougar freshman in 2010 -- a season in which he was named WSU's scout team offensive player of the year -- but was sidelined all of last season with a blown knee that has continued to hamper him this season.

He has two years of eligibility remaining and wouldn't have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules regarding FBS-to-FCS transfers. He also said he is going apply for an NCAA medical hardship waiver since he missed all of last season and this one.

Bomber cracked the two-deeps during spring practices, when he caught nine passes for 89 yards in the final three scrimmages and earned praise from Leach, but wasn't able to replicate his success in fall camp and new recruits Brett Bartolone and Gabe Marks were ready to step in. The two rookies have combined so far this season for 61 catches, 771 yards and 5 TDs.

Bomber said he felt healthy when camp began in late July before the grueling workouts wore down his surgically repaired knee. Tendinitis set in and he fell farther down the depth chart.

"When my knee wasn't 100 percent, it became hard to play my best," he said. "When you're out there knowing you aren't playing your best because of an injury it wears on you mentally."

He has not appeared in any of the Cougars' games this season.

Bomber said his choice to leave the program was hard.

"Obviously I didn't want to leave my brothers on the team but eventually I had to step back and do what was best for me," he said.

When the current semester concludes, Bomber said he is going to head home to Whatcom County and work on a local farm while rehabbing the knee. He'll then enroll at EWU in the spring.

Leach said he supported Bomber's decision to leave the program when asked about his former player Wednesday after practice.

"We wish him the very best," Leach said. "I know he really likes football but wants to go somewhere where he can get on the field and play from what I understand so we wish him the best."

Bomber, as first reported by CF.C yesterday, is one of four players to leave the WSU program in recent days, the others being Matt Simmons, Spencer Waseem and Tyrone Duckett.

Bomber came to WSU after an all-world, three-sport career at Lynden High. As a senior there he was an all-classifications All-State defensive back. On offense, he caught 149 passes for 1,882 yards and 25 TDs over his junior and senior seasons. Lynden won three state football titles in his four varsity seasons.

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