Spotlight also shines now on Levenseller

WITH THE NEWS that Marshall Lobbestael is joining Gary Rogers on the disabled list for the rest of the season, the spotlight now shifts to Kevin Lopina's health and perhaps more specifically, to the redshirt of J.T. Levenseller.

Kevin Lopina, coming off a vertebrae fracture from Week 4, would appear probable at this point to be ready to return and start Saturday against USC, barring complications. But if he cannot go, or if the Cougs should suffer further injury disaster at quarterback, J.T. Levenseller looks likely to be the man under center.

The son of WSU receivers coach Mike Levenseller, J.T., who was just going about his business as the Cougs' No. 4 quarterback a few short weeks ago, looked to be a definite redshirt this season after grayshirting the year before. That was about three quarterbacks ago.

Before the Lobbestael news today, Paul Wulff had said Sunday night whether the Cougs go with Levenseller or Dan Wagner as the No. 2 -- assuming Lopina is ready to start -- would depend on how long Lobbestael would to be out. With the news official today that Lobbestael is now out for the year, Levenseller looks to be the proverbial "one play away" from taking the field and getting after it.

This spring, Levenseller soldiered through spring ball after grayshirting in the fall but he wasn't 100 percent, his knee was dinged up, and it showed.

After the spring he had arthroscopic surgery and since that time, he's impressed Wulff -- the head coach made mention on his improvement on two occasions this past week.

SO WHAT KIND of quarterback is Levenseller?

He's a guy who can do some things with his feet. And as seen since fall camp, he can, arguably, throw the deep ball further than any of the Cougar quarterbacks.

On the intangibles side he is, like his dad a quiet, but fierce, competitor.

AS A high school quarterback, he put up some gaudy numbers -- he went 23-2 as a two-year starter at 2A Pullman High. A first-team all-leaguer, his senior season he completed 74 of 150 passes for 1,283 yards with 14 TDs and 4 INTs.

He also carried the ball 117 times for 712 yards with 13 rushing touchdowns.

As a junior, he passed for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs in leading Pullman to a perfect 14-0 season and the 2005 Class 2A state championship, again earning all-league and also all-state honors.

He fumbled the first snap in that title game and was picked off four plays later on his first pass. Unfazed, down 10-0, he brought Pullman back, taking the lead for good with 2:20 left and completing 6-of-his-last-9 for 169 yards and two TDs.

What does the J.T. stand for?

The initials of WSU quarterbacking legend Jack Thompson, whom the elder Levy has been very close to ever since back during their playing days at WSU in the 70's.


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