The Washington State football team is losing its most decorated player.
Junior placekicker Blake Mazza, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award in 2019, announced Thursday on Twitter he’s leaving the Cougars and will seek a new school as a graduate transfer.
Mazza, who plans to marry his high school sweetheart in June, said he wants to be closer to his home in Plano, Texas. He has two remaining years of eligibility.
Also, sophomore safety Tyrese Ross announced he’s entering the NCAA transfer portal, making it clear he doesn’t intend to stay at WSU if he doesn’t get a satisfactory offer.
Mazza was a revelation for the Cougars, converting 24 of 25 field goals and 67 of 70 conversion kicks the past two years. As a walk-on during his stellar 2019 season, he went 20-for-21 in field goals, including 2-for-2 beyond 50 yards.
“I want to thank Washington State University for everything you have done for me,” he wrote in his announcement. “After much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided to Graduate Transfer closer to home. I am forever grateful for Coug Nation and the Pullman community. God Bless!”
His departure means the Cougars are losing both halves of one of the best specialist duos in the country. Senior punter Oscar Draguicevich III announced in December he’s declaring for the NFL draft.
The hard-hitting Ross, though raw, was considered one of the Cougars’ most gifted safeties. In 2019 he appeared in all 13 games and tallied 33 tackles, a forced fumble and a team-leading six special-team tackles. For unexplained reasons, he appeared in only one of WSU’s four games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“I would like to thank Washington State University for allowing me the opportunity to compete and grow on and off the football field,” Ross wrote on Twitter. “Also for allowing me an opportunity to network and meet many great people outside the game of football.”
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