In the efforts of keeping DeMarcus Ayers (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) committed, the news of Washington State inside receivers coach Eric Morris leaving for Texas Tech proved to be the proverbial third strike for the Cougars.
Ayers, a three-star athlete, decommitted from Washington State Thursday evening and said he will explore other options after Lancaster’s season ends. A quarterback for his team, Ayers has Lancaster in the Texas Class 4A Division II state semifinals, and the Tigers will play for a state-championship berth on Friday against Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider.
Ayers had been monitoring Washington State and saw two red flags -- first, when receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team in November and wrote a letter alleging abuse by the Washington State coaching staff, and second, WSU coach Mike Leach’s Twitter ban for players.
Ayers admitted that Morris’ departure from the program stung the most.
“It was crazy to hear Coach Morris was taking another job. That one kind of hurt me,” Ayers said. “I’m happy for him, but he was the main reason why I wanted to be there. He was kind of like my coach and my best friend at the same time.
“We’ve got a big game [Friday], and everyone’s asking me about where I’m going to school. All of this is hard to take in, and I felt it was just best to throw it to the side and worry about it when the season is over.”
Ayers has 20 offers, but Texas Tech isn’t one of them. He’s hoping Morris and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury will offer. If that happens, however, he said he isn’t guaranteed to follow Morris, as he also has interest in Arizona State and Houston. Ayers said he has tentative official visits set for Houston on Jan. 11 and Arizona State on Jan. 18.
Ayers, however, did say he has an interest in Texas Tech, even more so now with Morris -- someone Ayers refers to as “my coach” -- on staff.
“With [Morris] going to Tech, I’m pretty sure he’s going to recruit me,” Ayers said. “I liked [Tech] at first, and with my coach going, it gives it a plus. I trust him.”
Ayers called the decommitment “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” as he has a very high respect for Leach, the Washington State staff and the Wazzu fanbase. While he said he was decommitted, he didn’t rule out the possibility of recommitting.
“There’s still signing day,” he said. “I still love the Wazzu nation, and I appreciate the coaching staff. Anything could happen.”