Luke Falk etches name alongside WSU immortals

IF YOU DIDN'T ALREADY think Washington State quarterback Luke Falk was something special, consider the illustrious Cougar names he now joins as first-team all-conference quarterbacks.

In the 100 years the Pac-12 has been around, just eight of the many great signal callers in WSU history have earned first-team all-conference honors. Eight, that is, until today, when Falk -- the record-setting third-year sophomore -- added his name to the list.

This is the elite WSU fraternity Falk joins.

Butch Meeker (1923-25), Spokane
So spectacular a player the governor of the state named Cougar mascot Butch in Meeker's honor. He played professionally with the NFL's Providence Steamrollers.

Ed Goddard (1934-36), Escondido, Calif.
The only Cougar in history to be named first-team All-America three times. A top 10 finisher for the Heisman Trophy and a first-round NFL draft pick.

Bob Newman (1956-58), El Cerrito, Calif.
Rewrote the WSU record books while finishing No. 2 in the nation in passing yards two years in a row and leading the nation in total offense one season.

Jack Thompson (1975-78), Seattle
Finished his WSU career as the most prolific passer in NCAA history. A top 10 finisher for the Heisman Trophy and a first-round NFL draft pick, he earned first-, second- or honorable mention All-America honors three-straight seasons.

Mark Rypien (1981-85), Spokane
Passed for nearly 5,000 yards in WSU's run-first offense. Played in East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl before going on to earn Pro Bowl and Super Bowl MVP honors in the NFL.

Drew Bledsoe (1990-92), Walla Walla
Led Cougars to nine wins in 1992, earning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year accolades and finishing in the top 10 for the Heisman Trophy. No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Retired from the NFL ranked No. 7 all-time in passing yards and No. 13 in TD passes.

Ryan Leaf (1995-97), Great Falls, Mont.
The 1997 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year guided the Cougars to their first Rose Bowl in 67 years. No. 3 finisher for the Heisman Trophy and a first-round NFL draft pick.

Jason Gesser (1999-2002), Honolulu
The winningest quarterback in WSU history, he earned Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors while guiding the Cougars to the 2003 Rose Bowl. Top 10 finisher for the Heisman Trophy.

The first six on the list all are in the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame and the other two, Leaf and Gesser, will be there eventually.

AS FOR FALK, HE LEADS the nation in passing at 387.8 yards per game and is first in the Pac-12 in total offense (377.5) and second in the conference in passing touchdowns (36).  He engineered nail-biting, come-from-behind victories this season at Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, and Rutgers.

He, Thompson and Goddard are the only Cougs to earn first-team honors as sophomores. Goddard also was tabbed as a junior and senior, while Thompson was picked second-team as a junior and then first-team again as a senior.

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