Oct. 30, 2007
By Erica Beck
Washington State Athletic Media Relations
When a Washington State football player steps on the field in Martin Stadium, he has thousands of fans clad in crimson and gray supporting him. Senior defensive end Lance Broadus can attest to that after coming back from shoulder surgery in April.
"I didn't know how supportive the fans were of the football players until this fall," said Broadus. "I could hear the fans in my ears, saying they missed me on the field after my surgery. That really touched my heart."
Broadus has embraced his career as a Cougar. While this season has been hampered by his spring surgery, Broadus started all 12 games last season. He picked up 11 tackles for loss and his seven and a half sacks ranked fifth in the Pacific-10 Conference and 44th in the nation.
Pullman wasn't Broadus' first stop for college ball. Originally signing with Oregon, Broadus had to reroute to a junior college for academic reasons. After focusing on his studies for two years at West Los Angeles College and playing football for a season, Broadus headed back to the drawing board for another stab at playing Division I football.
Little attention was bestowed on Broadus until a football player from his junior college team was being recruited by WSU. A highlight tape of Broadus landed in the hands of the Cougar coaching staff and the recruiting began.
"I was in the store with my brother, and I told him, `I'm just going to take the first person that offers me a scholarship,'" recalled Broadus. "We got home and Fed-Ex came knocking on my door with a scholarship offer from WSU. Next thing I know, I'm on a plane with my scholarship, and going to a place I'd never been or ever really heard of."
Broadus may have never heard of Pullman, but the game of football was played the same way in Los Angeles where he grew up. Broadus' father pushed him and his two younger brothers, Mark Rogers, Jr. and Taylor Jackson, to be athletes. Growing up, Broadus played basketball, football and ran track.
Football started with the Pop Warner league for Broadus. He never played flag football and one of his first childhood football memories revolves around his first touchdown and his mouthpiece.
"I was about eight and I was on the kickoff return team," said Broadus. "I was in the second tier of players and the ball rolled my way. I didn't have my mouthpiece in and before I picked up the ball, I was trying to get it in my mouth so I could pick up the ball and run. I eventually got my mouthpiece in, picked up the ball and ran it all the way for my first touchdown."
As important as the number of tackles and sacks may be on the field, they don't count in the same way off the field. Sacks don't help Broadus score higher on his criminal justice exams, and tackles don't watch over Jeremiah, his 18-month-old son, or spend time with his fiancé TaQuece Oglesby.
Having a son has changed Broadus's priorities and helped him keep things in perspective. With football taking up such a large portion of his time with meetings, practice and games, it can make balancing his priorities a tough assignment.
"My son helps keep me focused. I make sure to spend as much time as possible with my son and my girl," said Broadus. "Football takes over your life and, as much as I can, I try to rush home and spend time with my family."
Broadus will be graduating in May 2008 and is looking into a career as a probation officer. First, Broadus wants to take his shot at a professional football career with his family's support backing him.
"Lance is a laidback family guy with so much potential," said WSU defensive line coach Mike Walker. "He's a quality person; I wish we would have had 100 of him."
While Broadus believes his chances of getting drafted are slim, he is familiar with taking alternative routes to reaching his goals. With his speed and agility, Broadus is looking to showcase what he can do in tryouts and make his way on a professional roster.
In the meantime, Broadus is focused on his last season as a Cougar, mouthpiece in place, and ready to play some football.