The exodus has started for Western Washington University's football players.
Former Lynden High School standout Chris Bolt has transferred to Humboldt State University in California in the wake of the WWU's decision to cut its football program last week.
Bolt, a redshirt freshman quarterback, will start classes at Humboldt State next week, his father Gareth Bolt said in a phone interview. Bolt helped the Lions win state football and basketball titles in his senior year at Lynden.
"It's been a real quick process for me," Bolt said in a phone interview. "As soon as it happened, I started thinking about either trying to stay at WWU to play basketball or find a different school where I could play football.
There has been no official announcement that Bolt will be joining the Lumberjacks football team, but his enrollment at the school likely clears the way for that to happen in the coming weeks.
Humboldt State and WWU played in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference together and the Lumberjacks coaching staff is familiar with Bolt. He was originally recruited to WWU by Eric Tripp, who is now the offensive coordinator at Humboldt State.
"They do some similar things and a lot of the terminology is the same," Bolt said.
NCAA rules do not permit the Lumberjacks to comment on Bolt's situation until he has officially signed a scholarship offer. That likely won't happen until after National Letter of Intent Signing Day in early February.
"We are recruiting him," Eric Tripp said in a phone interview. "Based on our previous relationship he's somebody that we are interested in."
Tripp said the Lumberjacks are also interested in some other players on WWU's roster. Central Washington, Western Oregon, Lewis and Clark College, and the University of Washington are among the schools that have been on campus to check out potential recruits.
Former WWU coach Robin Ross said he and his staff would be meeting with Vikings players on Thursday, Jan. 15, to talk further about their options if they choose to continue playing.
"Like I said when this first happened, my main concern right now is just putting our players and coaches in the best situation they can be in," Ross said. "You look at it now and we have 90 players and literally 90 different scenarios. We're just looking at finding out what's best for each player."
Reach Joe Sunnen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 756-2862.