Polynesian Bowl week kicked off on Monday as the nation’s best prep football players checked in at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.
Among those there was Saint Louis quarterback Jayden de Laura, the 2019 Cover2 Tommy Kaulukukui Award winner for Offensive Player of the Year, who signed with Washington State on Dec. 18, 2019. But last Thursday, Mike Leach left the program to become the next head coach at Mississippi State.
During his signing day, de Laura mentioned how much he admired Leach as a coach and person. De Laura was the lone quarterback signed in the 2020 class to run Leach’s air raid offense. KHON2 caught up with de Laura on Monday, and he admitted his status with the Cougars is up in the air.
De Laura says he was caught off guard by the Leach news last Thursday when it was announced. When asked if he will seek a release from his National Letter of Intent and re-open his recruitment ahead of the Feb. 5 signing day, de Laura says he will wait on who the next coach may be.
“Right now I’m still signed, but when I first heard the news I was kind of bummed out and shocked,” de Laura said. “Me and my parents kind of took that kind of hard. After talking with the AD (Pat Chun), we’re gonna wait until this Friday and see what coach they hire and then go from there.”
De Laura’s contact with Leach since the Mississippi State announcement has been only via text.
“I shot him a text when I first heard the news and he just texted me back yesterday just wishing me well and sorry but the opportunity came across,” de Laura said. “I told him I respect him and his decision.”
Before de Laura signed with Washington State, he held offers from BYU, Hawaii, USC, Western Kentucky and Ohio State. Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich was the first to offer him, and Rolovich’s name has been brought up by outlets such as The Athletic, Spokesman-Review, ESPN, and Associated Press as a potential candidate to replace Leach, although there has been no verified news linking Rolovich to WSU so far. Rolovich employs a run-and-shoot offense similar to what de Laura ran at Saint Louis.
“Just depends who they hire, we’ll see from there,” de Laura said.