Cougar football’s defense takes blow, loses Thompson over NCAA rules

WSU safety Jalen Thompson (34) intercepts a pass during a game against Eastern Washington last season.

PULLMAN — Washington State star safety Jalen Thompson is off the team following a violation of NCAA rules, the school announced Saturday.

While the school didn’t specify the violation in its release, Thompson reportedly lost his final year of eligibility because of a supplement he’d bought at a nutrition store, The Spokesman-Review wrote, citing an unnamed source.

The Spokesman also reported that its source “made a point to emphasize it was not a steroid Thompson bought.”

Thompson, who this fall would have been a senior expected to anchor Wazzu’s secondary — and defense — has entered the NFL Supplemental Draft, set to begin on July 10. He was projected in most mock drafts to go as high as the third round in the 2020 draft.

This past season, Thompson was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Starting all 13 games at free safety, Thompson was fourth on WSU in tackles (67) and picked off two passes — one coming in the Cougars’ 28-26 Alamo Bowl win over Iowa State.

He’s started all 39 games for the Cougars over his career, making 191 tackles and nabbing six total interceptions. He was a second-team all-conference honoree in 2017.

NFL reporter Ian Rapaport tweeted that Thompson had found out on Friday he was being stripped of his final year of eligiblity.

On Saturday, Thompson went to social media to thank his “friends, family, Washington State teammates, coaches, staff and most of all Cougar fans.”

Added Thompson: “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity the coaches provided me at Washington State and wish my teammates nothing but the best ... I will always be a Cougar...”

Rapoport broke the news over Twitter, detailing in his post that Thompson has signed with pro agent Brad Cicala, whose firm also represents NFL notables such as DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson and John Ross.

Earlier in the week, WSU signed two safeties, Hunter Escorcia out of California and Alaka’i Gilman from Hawaii, both of whom are three-star prospects. The Cougs beat out USC, Oregon and Nebraska — among others — for Gilman, and edged Utah for Escorcia.

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