Former Western d-end walking on at WSU

THE SHUTTERING OF Western Washington's football program earlier this month was a body blow felt the state over. But a 6-3, 245-pounder who started every game at defensive end up in Bellingham last year didn't hang around for the wake. He packed up the car in short order, headed out to the Palouse, has enrolled and is taking classes at Washington State -- and he's walking on with the Cougars.

Defensive end Casey Hamlett was in Bellingham this past fall, where he had 31 tackles and three sacks in 11 starts last season for Western and was named a second team Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star. This coming season, he'll be suited up in the crimson and gray.

"I'm actually here in Pullman right now," said Hamlett. "I withdrew from Western that next Friday, moved over to Pullman Saturday and I enrolled on Tuesday, I'm in classes now...I'm still getting cleared (to join offseason workouts) through compliance, probably will start tomorrow on that.

"I'm ready to work. That's my thing. I wasn't really expected to start at Western last year but proved myself in the spring and the fall and I'm trying to do the same thing here."

Hamlett, who was a GNAC all-academic pick at Western, prepped at Edmonds Woodway where he was named first team AP all-state his senior year at tight end. He also starred on the hardcourt at E-W, capturing first team league honors, (Wesco South), in hoops his senior season.

HAMLETT WILL HAVE three to play two at Washington State, having played two seasons at Western upon graduating from high school in '07.

Hamlett said his defensive line coach at Western, Legi Suiaunoa, knows WSU d-line coach Malik Roberson, got in contact with him and things went from there. Hamlett had offers from "a couple of D-II" schools but after talking with Roberson, and then Paul Wulff, liked what he heard and chose to instead walk-on at WSU.

"And I wanted to get a winter and a spring in and try to win a spot. So once WSU came up, I kind of set my mind on that. I didn't really want to play the waiting game," said Hamlett.

Hamlett said he identified with what Wulff told him, talking about "character guys, hard working guys" from top to bottom, from the starters to the walk-ons and throughout the Wazzu program.

"I think I fit into that mold. I know the program was down a little bit but that's the kind of person, that caliber of person and player, I think, that it takes to turn around a program. And I think I can offer that..I really liked what he had to say."

HAMLETT SAID HIS immediate priority will be to get in the weight room and try and add to his 6-3, 245-pound frame this offseason.

"I was really impressed with what (Wulff) had to say, (he's) really well spoken, really clear," said Hamlett. "Basically he said they don't have a scholarship for me right now, you come in and show you can help the team and there might be one for you in the future.

"That made me feel like the ball was in my court...If it's up to me, I can deal with that -- I know if I don't see the field, it's my fault, not somebody else's...I like it a lot, so far so good. The first day walking around I got lost a lot, nah, I'm getting used to it. It's good, I like it here."

Hamlett had five tackles for loss for minus-20 yards along with 2 pass breakups and 1 fumble recovery last season according to the official WWU site.

At Edmonds-Woodway, he had had 23 receptions for 365 yards with 6 touchdowns his senior season. He was a three year starter on the gridiron and also lettered all three-years in basketball.

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