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WSU quarterback Luke Falk trusted his instincts in making decision to return for his senior season rather than go early to NFL

WASHINGTON STATE's leader of the Air Raid passing attack, Luke Falk, said his decision to return for his senior year rather than entering the NFL draft came down to one thing.

Falk considered a variety of factors but you might be surprised at how he came to a decision and what was the deciding factor.

"It wasn’t about criteria," explained Falk. "I think a lot of people wanted me to go down that route, you know, make a checklist of things that I needed to feel right about going or staying. At the end of the day, it’s just what felt good to me. It wasn’t really criteria or anything. It was just this gut feeling ... that’s how I made my decision to come up here (to WSU). It felt right. It feels right to come back this year and do something really special with the coaches, team and everybody around here."

With numerous former Wazzu players facing the same decision about the timing of turning pro, Falk said he benefited  from their experiences.

"I had a conversation with a few guys," said Falk when asked about advice he'd received. "At the end of the day, everybody I talked to said that (with) all the draft projections and everything ... that is one thing. But it really comes down to what you feel is right. I really listened to all those guys and that’s what this decision is about – being at peace with my decision and going with my gut."

As for his choice to take full advantage of his eligibility, exploring the possibility of turning pro was extremely important to his future. After considering the possibility of playing on Sundays in the NFL, Falk was at peace with his decision on remaining in Pullman as a fifth-year senior. For players considering coming out early, they can request an evaluation from the NFL advisory committee. The evaluation is straight forward: potential first round, potential second round, or a recommendation to stay in school.

"We submitted the (NFL) papers," said Falk. "They gave us some feedback that we’ll keep private. And at the end of the day it was just more information. It just came down to what felt right for me, my gut feeling. I always go with my gut. Wanted to come back and continue to be a Coug and have a great year with my teammates, coaches and everyone around me.

"Honestly, I really wanted to come back. There wasn’t really a gut feeling in me that felt right to go out this year. I felt like I had a lot to prove and had a lot still here to accomplish. Really just wanted to finish what I started. My commitment, playing with these guys and this coaching staff. You know, really do something special."

You would expect Falk to seek advice from his head coach, Mike Leach. It might be a bolt from the blue to discover the level of depth Falk recounted of speaking with Leach about a move to the NFL.

"We didn’t really talk about it," stated Falk matter-of-factly. "He just asked if I was coming back and I told him, ‘Yeah’. That’s pretty much the conversation we had. We really just talk about the X’s and O’s and what we need to do to improve and our football relationship. I really appreciate him and all the opportunities he’s given me and I’m excited to play for him for one more year."

Since it was clear between coach and quarterback that Falk would be running the Wazzu Air Raid next season, working on areas to improve and impress scouts might be an emphasis in some cases. That wouldn't be the focus in 2017.

"We’re talking about how to win football games," was Falk's characterization of coach-player discussions. "It’s not all about one person and trying to showcase their abilities. It’s about the team, doing what the team needs and whatever the team needs I’ll do to get wins. Our concern now is just what to do to put ourselves in the best position to win football games."

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Falk may not have listed criteria in the decision process for choosing to play another year of Pac-12 football at WSU, but he certainly has no trouble itemizing what he will strive to acheive in the coming season.

"To continue to win," began the Wazzu quarterback in talking about 2017. "Continue to build the program. The last two years we’ve done a pretty good job of building. We were close this year of kind of taking that next step. We’ve got a lot of seniors that have played a lot of football and I think we can take that next step next year. We’ve got to have a great offseason. There’s always stuff to improve on as a player and as a teammate and as a leader. Go back this year and make those adjustments and improvements."

Because there hasn't been an official announcement of Falk's intentions until today, that doesn't mean folks within his inner circle weren't aware where he'd be playing football this coming fall.

"Shoot, they knew for awhile," tittered Falk when asked about the timing of letting teammates and those close to him were made aware of his choice. "They’ve known for a long, long time. I didn’t really need to tell them. They know I’m really all about the team."

Falk will be graduating this coming spring, along with most of his senior teammates. It's not unusual for guys who have their diploma in hand and another year of eligibilty to take coursework that's not intense or demanding so they can just focus on football. Traveling down an easy academic path is not what Falk has mapped out.

"I’ve got a few more classes to finish up and then try to decide what to do for that next education (step)," Falk shared about his plans as a student at WSU. "There’s an online MBA school here and maybe some grad school opportunities. We’ll check it out with my advisor, but I don’t really want to waste a chance to get a good education. Why take some ballroom dancing or classes like that? I think I’d regret that coming out of college in a few years."

Perhaps there's a future in promotion for Falk based on his summation of why he'll don No. 4 for the Cougars for another season.

"The people here in Pullman," is a significant reason why Luke Falk chose WSU over the NFL. "I really wanted to have another year with everyone. I feel like we still have a lot to accomplish. We ended the season not the way we wanted to. Hungry for more. I’ve got one more year and I want to go out the right way with the big senior class that I came in with and finish what we started."

RELATED: Legendary Cougar QB Jack Thompson faced the same crossroads decision as Luke Falk

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