FOUR GENERATIONS OF COUGAR FOOTBALL IN ONE FAMILY
SAMMAMISH – Peyton Pelluer won’t even need to strap on a helmet to enter the Cougar football record book. When he signs his letter of intent with Washington State tomorrow he will be starting the fourth chapter of a family story that began 89 years ago.
His dad, grandpa and great-grandpa all played football at Washington State.
It’s a fact. The standout linebacker from the storied Skyline High School program in Sammamish will become a fourth-generation Cougar ballplayer.
While no official records are kept, there appears to be no denying that Peyton Pelluer is about to claim an unprecedented place in Palouse lore. Perhaps even unprecedented in all of college football.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker will be following in the footsteps not just of three Cougar players, but three very good players ...
Father Scott was a standout linebacker at WSU from 1977-80 and still ranks in the WSU record book for tackles. He earned honorable mention all-Pac-10 honors before going on to a six-year career in the NFL.
Grandpa Arnie Pelluer played end for the Cougars from 1953-55, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams; and
Great-grandfather Carl Gustafson played fullback and linebacker for the Cougars from 1925-27. He was dubbed “King of the Campus” for his heroics in WSC’s 9-6 upset of Washington in 1926.
“I know that I’ll have a lot of big fans who are Cougars,” Pelluer told Cougfan.com. “It’s definitely neat and unique. It’s something I look forward to being part of. I’m honored and proud to be a Coug just like they were.”
But here’s where this remarkable tale of crimson allegiance takes an unexpected turn.
Except for a detour to the 2003 Rose Bowl to watch the Cougs take on Oklahoma, Peyton has been a Husky fan most of his life.
And for good reason. His dad was an assistant coach for the Huskies twice, from 1996-98 under Jim Lambright and from 2003-04 under Keith Gilbertson.
SCOTT PELLUER AT MARTIN STADIUM, CIRCA 1979
In addition, Peyton’s uncle Steve was a star quarterback for the Huskies from 1981-83.
And sister Jordan is a 2011 UW graduate, while brother Cooper is a junior on the Husky football team.
When he committed verbally to WSU in June, “half my wardrobe was Husky stuff and I essentially had to throw it all out,” Peyton said.
“I got it out of my room, at least, because my Mom wouldn’t let me throw it out.”
With Cooper playing for the UW, Peyton says the Apple Cup takes on a whole new aura.
“They are going to be a lot more interesting now that I’m going over [to Pullman]. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see my brother on the field and we’ll meet head-to-head.”
Scott Pelluer, who still ranks No. 10 on the WSU career solo tackles list, with 180, says he’s looking forward to donning the Crimson and Gray again.
“I finally get a doggone Cougar in my family,” he said. “It’s really a nice deal. Amazingly, they (WSU) didn’t even recruit Cooper. I finally get to be a Cougar and go to Dad’s weekend and Mom’s weekend.
“My wife and I are excited to get back in the mix over at WSU.”
He and his wife Kimberly met as students at WSU, where she was a cheerleader.
Peyton, the youngest in the family, was their last chance at getting a Coug. Their oldest child, Tyler, played ball at Montana.
“I’ve had three linebacker sons, and he’s the best of the three,” Scott said. “He’s a really talented linebacker and he studies hard. He works at the trade. He’s very conscientious."
Peyton is rated the No. 9 middle linebacker prospect on the West Coast and No. 51 nationally by Scout.com.
“Everything that’s come to fruition, he deserves," says Scott. "He was a very strong leader for Skyline. I’m excited to see him lead at WSU.”
Peyton missed four games this season with a shoulder injury this past season and worried he might not be back to help Skyline complete what would be a 14-0 campaign and Class 4A state title.
Not only did he return for the playoffs, but his subsequent work sealed all-classification All-State recognition for him by both the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune.
As for choosing where to play college ball, Scott said his own decision 36 years ago was “pretty easy” because of the family heritage. But Peyton was in a different time and place.
For him, it was listening to what each school had to offer and envisioning his growth on the field and in the classroom.
“He could’ve gone to Colorado and Arizona State or several others. Washington State did a good job of recruiting him,” Scott said.
“Really, it was just the fact I felt really comfortable, that everyone in Pullman is one big family,” Peyton said when he made his verbal commitment. “And I felt really comfortable with the coaches at Washington State."
He also said at the time that it didn’t hurt the Cougs to have Jordan and Gino Simone, one-time Skyline stars who headed to Washington State, offering up advice.
As for Scott, he says he’s delighted to be back in crimson after taking grief from Cougar fans when he was coaching at Washington.
“I remember walking into my first Apple Cup in Pullman (as a coach), and it was, ‘Pelluer, how could you do it? How could you wear that stuff?’ Once you get in the coaching business, that’s the way it is.”
The line won’t blurred for Peyton any longer. His lineage is now strictly crimson and gray.
CARL GUSTAFSON WSC 1925-27
ARNIE PELLUER, WSU 1953-55
SCOTT PELLUER WSU 1977-80
FUTURE COUG PEYTON PELLUER
HUSKY COOPER PELLUER
OLD GRIZ AND SPARTAN TYLER PELLUER
SCOTT PELLUER AS UW ASSISTANT, 2004
PEYTON (front) WITH FAMILY AT 2003 ROSE BOWL
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