CHRISTIAN CAPLE

Caple: Latest UW Huskies roster update as calendar turns to February

Feb 4, 2024, 12:25 PM | Updated: Feb 5, 2024, 12:18 am

Jedd Fisch UW Huskies...

New UW Huskies football coach Jedd Fisch poses with his family on Jan. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

The UW Huskies haven’t set a start date yet for spring practices. During an interview with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Friday morning, new coach Jedd Fisch joked that he wanted to petition the NCAA to push the spring schedule as far back as possible, needing first to fill out the Huskies’ roster.

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Fisch also told hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk that there were 49 scholarship players in his first team meeting, but that a combination of portal reversals, 2024 flips and additional transfers has bumped that count in the neighborhood of 70.

I have UW’s scholarship count at 71, counting all players who have either withdrawn from the portal, never entered, committed as a transfer or committed or signed in the 2024 recruiting class — including a few Arizona signees who have since flipped to Washington. (A forever disclaimer when evaluating roster numbers: coaches surely are aware of some potential attrition that hasn’t yet become public, just as they surely know of an incoming player or two who hasn’t yet made his commitment known. This is a moment-in-time look at where things stand, based on public knowledge.)

There are another handful of players formerly committed to UW who still haven’t decided whether they’re going elsewhere, as well as some others who recently visited the school and might help bolster the depth at their respective positions.

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Once more, let’s go position-by-position. Scholarship count in parentheses. Players listed by 2024 eligibility.

Quarterback (3): Will Rogers (Sr.), Dermaricus Davis (Fr.), Demond Williams Jr. (Fr.)

When we last conducted this exercise, Rogers was still in the portal and Williams, a four-star 2024 prospect, had yet to flip from the Wildcats. Davis has since entered the portal and then withdrawn. So it appears UW could (should?) have three scholarship quarterbacks available for spring practices, including a veteran starter. That’s progress.

Running back (7): Cam Davis (R-Sr.), Daniyel Ngata (Sr.), Will Nixon (R-Jr.), Jonah Coleman (Jr.), Sam Adams II (R-Jr.), Tybo Rogers (So.), Adam Mohammed (Fr.)

If Davis is healthy enough to play this season, the Huskies actually could be in pretty good shape here; Coleman will certainly be among their most exciting new players. The Huskies are pursuing another tailback in the portal, Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who rushed for 1,190 yards and 17 touchdowns at New Mexico last season. He recently visited campus. If they get him on board, I’d be on the look out for attrition elsewhere at this position, possibly after spring practices. It’s getting to be a crowded room.

Offensive line (10): Gaard Memmelaar (R-Jr.), Samuel Peacock (R-Jr.), Drew Azzopardi (R-So.), Landen Hatchett (So.), Zachary Henning (R-Fr.), Soane Faasolo (R-Fr.), Kahlee Tafai (R-Fr.), Elishah Jackett (R-Fr.), Davit Boyajyan (Fr.), Justin Hylkema (Fr.)

The Huskies are down six bodies from the 2023 roster, though that total could climb as high as eight. At present, they’re set to add three new faces: Azzopardi, Boyajyan and Hylkema. There’s also the matter of Paki Finau, a four-star, 2024 o-line signee who entered the transfer portal and hasn’t yet announced his next move (though a 247Sports report suggested he’s leaning toward staying with UW).

Also: Jalen Klemm, a third-year sophomore transfer from Kansas State last season, recently entered the transfer portal. His status is also TBD. That’s a somewhat curious move, considering the (apparent) current availability of playing time. We’ll see where he ends up. Klemm spent the 2023 season as the backup left tackle on UW’s depth chart.

It’s been said before, and bears repeating: the Huskies badly need some experienced, capable bodies to come available during the spring portal window. Hatchett’s December ACL tear complicates the picture even further, though it’s obviously a major plus that UW was able to keep him on the roster. If you’re inclined to look on the bright side: the guys present and healthy for spring should get a ton of reps.

UPDATE: A UW spokesperson confirmed that offensive lineman Robert Wyrsch has left the program for medical reasons.

Receiver (7): Giles Jackson (R-Sr.), Jeremiah Hunter (Sr.), Denzel Boston (R-So.), Rashid Williams (R-Fr.), Keith Reynolds (R-Fr.), Jason Robinson Jr. (Fr.), Justice Williams (Fr.)

Keeping Hunter, the California transfer, committed after the coaching change is one of Fisch’s biggest victories so far. He’s a true No. 1 receiver for a team that otherwise doesn’t have one, at least at present. That’s not to suggest Boston can’t become that type of player, and it sure seems he’ll see a ton of targets this spring. Have to think UW isn’t done adding here. We’ll get a good look at what those younger guys can do, too.

Tight end (4): Quentin Moore (R-Sr.), Josh Cuevas (R-Jr.), Ryan Otton (R-So.), Decker DeGraaf (Fr.)

UW got through the 2023 season with five scholarship tight ends, so it’s possible the Huskies only need one more here. Moore and Cuevas have decent experience at the Power 5 level, though neither as a primary receiving target.

Defensive line (7): Jacob Bandes (R-Sr.), Sebastian Valdez (Sr.), Jayvon Parker (Jr.), Armon Parker (R-So.), Anthony James II (R-Fr.), Elinneus Davis (R-Fr.), Omar Khan (Fr.)

There’s still a chance UW could reel back in 2024 signee Ratumana Bulabalavu, who asked out of his letter of intent and has recently scheduled visits to Utah and USC. Whether UW retains him or not — and those visits suggest that could be a tough task — the Huskies will be busy searching for d-tackles in the spring portal. Retaining Valdez is huge. Bandes was shown working out with the team as it started winter conditioning drills. Jayvon Parker gained some valuable experience the past two seasons, while Armon has been hurt and has yet to play. Could James give them something after moving over from edge during the season?

EDGE (6): Zach Durfee (R-Sr.), Voi Tunuufi (Sr.), Maurice Heims (R-Jr.), Russell Davis II (Jr.), Lance Holtzclaw (R-So.), Jacob Lane (So.)

Davis gives the Huskies an experienced Arizona transfer at this position — he ranked fifth on the team with 19 pressures last season despite playing a relatively modest 240 defensive snaps — and another, Isaiah Ward II, is in the portal and reportedly visited UW. Potentially adding him alongside Davis would help soften the blow of losing all three edge rushers once committed to the Huskies in the 2024 class: Noah Carter (Alabama), Dominic Kirks (Ohio State) and Keona Wilhite (TBD, but likely UCLA).

Linebacker (6): Alphonzo Tuputala (R-Sr.), Carson Bruener (Sr.), Bryun Parham (Sr.), Deven Bryant (R-Fr.), Jordan Whitney (R-Fr.), Khmori House (Fr.)

It’s been only natural attrition here so far, with Edefuan Ulofoshio and Ralen Goforth both exhausting their eligibility and House, a 2024 signee, withdrawing from the portal. Sixth-year senior walk-on Drew Fowler also returns after contributing last season. UW could do a lot worse than a four-backer rotation of Tuputala, Bruener, Parham and Bryant.

Cornerback (11): Thaddeus Dixon (Sr.), Elijah Jackson (R-Jr.), Davon Banks (R-Jr.), Darren Barkins (R-Jr.), Ephesians Prysock (Jr.), Jordan Shaw (R-Fr.), Leroy Bryant (R-Fr.), Curley Reed (R-Fr.), Caleb Presley (R-Fr.), Elias Johnson (Fr.), Rahim Wright (Fr.)

Yes, Jabbar Muhammad transferred to Oregon, and versatile DB Mishael Powell transferred to Miami. But Prysock is a big addition, and the returning trio of Dixon, Jackson and Banks — plus the incoming transfer of Shaw, who showed some promise in four games at Indiana last season — suggests this position should be OK. And you never know what you might get out of the 2023 trio of Bryant, Reed and Presley. Former Arizona commitment Rahshawn Clark, a Garfield product, is also a possibility to wind up at UW.

Safety/nickel (8): Kamren Fabiculanan (R-Sr.), Makell Esteen (R-Jr.), Dyson McCutcheon (R-Jr.), Tristan Dunn (R-So.), Diesel Gordon (R-Fr.), Vincent Holmes (R-Fr.), Peyton Waters (Fr.), Paul Meincke Jr. (Fr.)

Asa Turner’s transfer to Florida (combined with Dominique Hampton’s graduation) hurt the depth here, but retaining Fabiculanan helps. Waters also withdrew from the portal recently. The Huskies could use another experienced body here, but a top trio of KamFab-Esteen-Dunn wouldn’t be the end of the world. Holmes reportedly entered the portal a couple weeks back, but also reportedly withdrew (and, as some have noted, his Instagram bio describes him as a receiver, for whatever it’s worth).

Specialists (2): LS Jaden Green (Sr.), K Grady Gross (Jr.)

I spotted Gross in a winter workout video, too, so he appears to be sticking around.

This article was originally published at OnMontlake.com, the home for Christian Caple’s full UW Huskies football coverage. Subscribe to On Montlake for full access to in-depth UW coverage.

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