Jayden de Laura, the true freshman quarterback who started the Cougars’ first two football games this season and drew acclaim for his performances, has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss the Cougars’ contest Saturday night at Stanford, a source confirmed Thursday.
The news was first reported by the Spokesman-Review, citing “multiple” sources.
If the positive test is confirmed, de Laura will have to quarantine 14 days, per the policy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means he also would miss the Apple Cup against Washington on Nov. 27 in Pullman.
It’s unclear if other WSU players have tested positive or might be quarantined through contact tracing.
Cougars coach Nick Rolovich said after a season-opening win Nov. 7 at Oregon State that 32 players had been unavailable for the game, without mentioning why. But WSU athletic director Pat Chun said the same day only five WSU athletes had tested positive for the coronavirus since the Pac-12 had announced in late September its intention of scheduling football and basketball games in 2020.
One of the five positive tests involved a football player, but he was scheduled to complete his quarantine early last week, the school said.
Before last week’s game, Chun said there’d been no additional positive tests. The school has administered more than 5,000 tests the past few weeks.
During preseason workouts, de Laura won a three-way battle for the starter’s job against sophomore Camm Cooper and second-year freshman Gunner Cruz.
Coaches described the competition as tight, but de Laura took firm hold of the job in the Oregon State game and continued to draw plaudits after a Game 2 loss to Oregon last week. He’s the first true freshman in school history to start a season opener.
The 6-foot-0, 195-pounder has completed 43 of 72 passes for 548 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also has added a new dimension to the WSU offense by extending plays and rushing for 70 gross yards.
Rolovich has been evasive when asked to identify his second-string quarterback. According to the Spokesman-Review, a source said Cruz took first-team reps in practice Thursday.
In WSU’s first and only full-scale preseason scrimmage, Cooper drew the most praise of the three quarterbacks, and Rolovich said he wound up choosing de Laura as the starter because of his overall showing through the first three weeks of drills.
Unlike the other two, he ran a run-and-shoot offense at St. Louis High School in Honolulu that bore similarities to Rolovich’s version of the system.
Dale Grummert may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2290.