Three UW castoffs find home at Central Washington
ELLENSBURG, Wash. - After getting suddenly dropped from the Washington football program, three players have landed on their feet at Central Washington. Chris Hemphill, Durrell Moss, and Charles Smith were freshmen with the Huskies in 2003. Then-coach Rick Neuheisel redshirted the three and promised then they would play a fifth year in return. Three years later, new coach Ty Willingham threw them a curve.
Prior to senior day last season, the three "fourth-year juniors" were told they would be honored with all the other seniors---because they weren't welcome back the next season.
The players weren't aware that their fifth year would be offered only if the new coach chose to use a scholarship on them. Willingham instead chose to give other young players the scholarships. Willingham won't comment on the issue.
"I was under the impression that I had five years to play four," said Hemphill. "He kind of dropped a bomb on me when he came and said there were some players he would let go. I didn't think I'd be one of them."
"It was a business move," said Charles Smith. "I wasn't one of his recruits. He felt it was my time to go. That's kind of the business side of college football, I learned it real quick.
The three were then in touch with former teammate Chris Rohrback, who had since transferred to Central. Rohrbach told new coach Beau Baldwin about the circumstances, and Baldwin landed all three transfers.
"it was tough for those guys because he did It right before the end of their quote-junior years," said Baldwin. "With the new rule, they had to go D2 or lower, they were smart came here instead of Western and the rest is history."
"I wanted to play. I'm here for the love of the game," said Thomas. "It's different than U-Dub. There's not 70,000 fans, but between the lines its still football."
"I could get used to it definitely," said Hemphill. "I just want to make plays and get to the next level. Lord has blessed me with a second chance, and I want to make the most of it."