Heaps: The impact of Kalen DeBoer bringing Jake Haener back to UW Huskies

Dec 2, 2021, 3:15 PM
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer, Jake Haener...
Head coach Kalen DeBoer speaks with quarterback Jake Haener of the Fresno State Bulldogs during the first quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies have a new head football coach in Kalen DeBoer, and it looks like a familiar face will be the new starting quarterback in 2022.

Fresno St announcer: UW Huskies land ‘real deal’ in Kalen DeBoer

Shortly after DeBoer was introduced as the 30th head coach in UW Huskies history, quarterback Jake Haener entered the transfer portal.

Haener started his collegiate career at UW but transferred to Fresno State in 2019 after Jacob Eason was named the starter. After sitting out 2019, Haener started for Fresno State in 18 games between 2020 and 2021, performing very well. In six games in 2020, Haener completed 64.7% of his passes for 2,021 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. In 12 games this season, Haener has completed over 67% of his passes for 3,810 yards, 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

That’s all very notable as DeBoer was at Fresno State the last two seasons as the program’s head coach, working right alongside Haener.

Shortly after it was reported Haener was transferring from Fresno State, multiple reports surfaced that Haener plans to follow his head coach to Washington, returning to where his college career began in 2017.

Haener has officially announced his intention to transfer from Fresno State, but he told Mike Vorel of the Seattle Times that he has not committed anywhere, despite reports that he’ll be returning to Washington.

If Haener returns to the UW Huskies, it puts the quarterback room under a microscope as the program has highly-touted five-star recruit Sam Huard set to return for his redshirt-freshman season and Dylan Morris, who started for the Huskies in 2020 and 2021, is also set to be back for his fourth year on campus.

So what would Haener’s return to Washington mean for the UW Huskies and DeBoer? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his thoughts during Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“Kalen DeBoer, if he brings in Jake Haener, I’m just telling you right now that Jake Haener will come in here and he’ll be the starter and and I honestly think that it’ll be just fine with the team that year,” Heaps said of the UW Huskies’ prospects in DeBoer’s first year as head coach. “The question then is what happens after that?”

Haener will have just the one year of eligibility left for the 2022 season, but if he comes and starts, that may drive Huard and/or Morris away from the program this offseason, Heaps said.

“That is the the controversy that you get yourself into in Year 1 with that potential move, with Jake Haener coming back,” he said.

Heaps said he believes the reports of Haener’s return to UW will wind up being made official fairly soon and he will be back in Seattle for the upcoming season.

“I don’t think Jake Haener hit the transfer portal and did not eye Washington and that reunion with with his coach,” Heaps said. “If I’m him, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I know that offense, I’ve been very successful in it, I know the University of Washington, I was there for multiple years. So the reunion makes a ton of sense, but it will bring drama to Montlake and I will be curious how that is handled and what the ramifications are for that.”

Even with the potential for drama and transfers, Heaps believes bringing Haener back to Washington makes a ton of sense for DeBoer as he starts his UW Huskies coaching tenure.

“If I’m Kalen DeBoer, at the same time I want to make sure Year 1 is successful and having a quarterback that I know extremely well and know his strengths and weaknesses and how to get the best out of them,” Heaps said.

Listen to the second hour of Wednesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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Heaps: The impact of Kalen DeBoer bringing Jake Haener back to UW Huskies