Several minutes after the Washington State football team’s season-ending loss at Utah in December, someone asked then-junior offensive lineman Abe Lucas if he planned to mull the option of forfeiting his senior season and declaring for the NFL draft.

“I’m going to keep that private as much as I can,” he said, his tone as reasonable as usual. “But I will make a decision for myself. That’s all I’m saying.”

He was true to his word.

A month later, news leaked that he had chosen to stay in school. But he remained publicly silent, having shut down most of his social media platforms.

After the completion of spring drills this past week, reporters finally got a chance to chat with Lucas about his decision.

“I talked to my family a lot, and ultimately I made the choice for myself — I didn’t let anybody influence it,” he said in a Zoom news conference.

“I just felt like I wasn’t ready. I thought there was more I could learn. Physically I’m a big guy and all that, but it’s all about what you do between your ears that will take you far. And I don’t have all the pieces I want to have yet.”

Lucas, 6-foot-7 and 319 pounds, has been a fixture at right tackle for three seasons, having started all 30 Cougar games during that time. He was an Associated Press All-Pac-12 first-team pick in 2020.

The decision to delay his pro career was “difficult,” he said.

“I had an opportunity — still have the opportunity, God willing — to try to change my life in ways I could never really imagine, and I’m very happy with the decision I made,” he said.

SHERMAN’S FUTURE — Cougars coach Nick Rolovich acknowledged that senior linebacker Dillon Sherman, a prominent reserve who was absent for spring drills, “is dealing with some health stuff.”

“I think he’s in decision-making mode,” Rolovich said. “He’s been a wonderful Coug, and whatever he decides we support him, because he’s done a lot for this place.”

A sixth-year senior who missed 2019 with a shoulder injury, Sherman seemed fine after the 2020 season finale and said he was looking forward to 2021.

SPRING STANDOUTS — Rolovich was asked to pick spring MVPs for the offense and defense, but unsurprisingly he struggled to keep the list that brief.

On offense he mentioned running back Deon McIntosh, Lucas, center Brian Greene and receiver Travell Harris. His defensive picks were edge rusher Ron Stone Jr., cornerback Derrick Langford and linebacker Jahad Woods. He agreed with a reporter that nickelback Armani Marsh also looked sharp, and he lauded the cornerbacks as a whole.

Rolovich was especially effusive about the intangibles of Stone, a junior who “has an incredible personality” that should continue to serve him well as a team leader.

Grummert may be contacted at dale@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2290.

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