Washington State senior offensive lineman Josh Watson, who started 29 of the Cougars’ past 30 games, has decided against staying in the program for an extra year of football eligibility, he told 247Sports.com this week.

The right guard cited wear and tear on his body, saying he’s been postponing needed hip surgery.

He graduated in December but hopes to remain on the Palouse and pursue a career in firefighting, he said.

Like all NCAA Division I fall athletes, he had the option of playing an extra season because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He joins punter Oscar Draguicevich III in declining that option.

Watson, a 6 foot 4 inch, 285-pounder from Everett, Wash., earned honorable mention on the All-Pac-12 team in 2019. He started every WSU game for three seasons aside from the 2018 Alamo Bowl, when he was nursing a hand injury.

Another fixture on the right side of WSU’s offensive line, standout tackle Abe Lucas, has yet to announce if he’ll return for his senior season as opposed to entering the NFL draft.

But senior left tackle Liam Ryan recently announced he plans to stay. So the Cougars expect to return at least three starters from their excellent 2020 offensive line. Left guard Jarrett Kingston will be a junior and center Brian Greene a senior.

Dale Grummert may be contacted at daleg@lmtribune.com (208) 848-2290.

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