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Four-star corner Ayden Hector, of Eastside Catholic, joins Washington State as walk-on

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 16, 2020

Washington State players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Stanford in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.   (Associated Press)
Washington State players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Stanford in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.  (Associated Press)

A former four-star cornerback who planned to join Stanford’s football team before the school sought out information about his involvement as a witness in a police investigation is now at Washington State as a walk-on, a source close to the program confirmed to the The Spokesman-Review.

Cougfan.com first reported the news that Ayden Hector, a standout player at Seattle powerhouse Eastside Catholic, has landed with the Cougars nearly six months after Stanford withdrew the player’s scholarship.

In 2018 Hector, according to a statement he posted on Twitter, “was one of several witnesses who cooperated with the authorities in an 8-month-long investigation which resulted in no charges being filed.”

The investigation involved a 16-year-old girl from a different school and mostly members of Eastside Catholic’s State 3A champion football team. Court documents obtained by The Seattle Times, sworn statements under oath and interviews with police show the girl had been drinking that night when four football players – not including Hector – were alleged to have sexually assaulted her, according to police. Hector and another player were sitting in the cab of the truck and did not participate in the alleged act.

As Hector alluded to in his tweet, the King County prosecutor presiding over the investigation did not file charges based on insufficient evidence, according to The Seattle Times.

“It is unfortunate that complete strangers … have passed off false speculations, rumors and hearsay about me related to this investigation,” Hector wrote.

In the Twitter post, Hector also mentioned Stanford’s decision “was not in any way based on me being considered accused or a suspect of sexual misconduct, which I never was.”

According to The Seattle Times, Stanford exercised its right to rescind admission of an applicant based upon a review of additional information, and “the university has taken that step with regard to an incoming undergraduate for fall 2020 who was scheduled to be a football student-athlete,” assistant athletic director Brian Risso said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich confirmed Hector’s addition as a walk-on.

Rolovich said Friday evening, referring to Hector and another new walk-on, Nick Ayers, “We vetted both their backgrounds and felt like we could move forward with them joining the team.”

Based on Hector’s late arrival to the team, Rolovich couldn’t say if the cornerback would participate in the Cougars’ scrimmage Saturday.

As a high school player, Hector was considered the third-best recruit in the state by 247sports.com, as well as the nation’s No. 15 cornerback.

He received a scholarship offer from every school in the Pac-12, along with offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin.

In four years with Eastside Catholic’s varsity team, Hector had 137 tackles, three tackles for loss, 11 interceptions, two fumble recoveries and five blocked punts.

He also returned four interceptions and one fumble for touchdowns.

Hector returned a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio and played in the Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu in January.

The cornerback led Eastside Catholic to its second consecutive State 3A championship last fall. He was also one of six finalists chosen for the All-American Bowl’s annual Man of the Year Award.

Hector joins a crowded WSU cornerbacks room that includes senior George Hicks III and junior Derrick Langford, who both started games for the Cougars last season.

Freshman Chau Smith-Wade has been praised by coaches and teammates through the first week of fall camp, as has junior college transfer Jaylen Watson, a former USC signee who joined the Cougars this offseason.

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