PULLMAN- It’s taken over 20 years, but one of the greatest football players in Washington State University history will finally be admitted into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame. Former quarterback, Ryan Leaf was announced as one of the six inductees in the 2019 class.
During his heyday, Leaf was widely considered one of, if not the greatest college quarterback in the nation. He led his team to the 1998 Rose Bowl and a No. 9 overall finish in the nation his final year in college. That same season he finished third in the 1997 Heisman voting, which is considered to be the most stacked class of all time, with Charles Woodson bringing it home and Peyton Manning edging out Leaf for second.
Leaf was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1997. Back in the late 90s, passing wasn’t nearly as big as it is today, but Leaf put up modern-day type numbers his junior year, completing 55.4 percent of his passes for 3,968 yards and 34 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Leaf went on to be drafted No. 2 overall by the San Diego Chargers. A pick that was applauded at the time, that left many speculating if the Indianapolis Colts made the right choice by drafting Manning with the first pick.
Unfortunately for Leaf, he’s not remembered for his amazing college career as much as he is remembered for being one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Leaf had a drama-filled four year stay in the NFL that was plagued by drug addiction.
After spending some time in prison, Leaf has become a different person. Now, a recovering addict, he’s committed his life to helping others who had the some problems he did as a young man. He’s currently the President and CEO of RAM Consulting Inc.
Leaf will be joined in the 2019 WSU Hall of Fame by track and field athletes, Josephat Kapkory and Ellannee Richardson, volleyball star, Stephanie Papke, rower, Lisa Roman and former sports information director, Rod Commons. The induction dinner will be held on Sept. 6 at the Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane.