Brock’s top UW Huskies storylines after spring practice

May 8, 2024, 12:18 AM | Updated: 11:56 am

UW Huskies...

Nate Kalepo (71) of the UW Huskies and teammates enter the field at the national title game in 2024. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

UW Huskies faithful received their first real look at the Jedd Fisch era last Friday at the program’s spring game.

Spring game draws bigger crowd under new UW Huskies coach

A crowd of 18,448 descended upon Husky Stadium to watch the Purple team defeat the Gold team 24-23 under the new head coach.

With spring practices over, former UW quarterback Brock Huard highlighted two storylines he has his eye during Blue 88 Monday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

‘A lot of portal activity’

Fisch and his staff were tasked with quickly rebuilding UW’s 2024 recruiting class upon their arrival. When former coach Kalen DeBoer left the Huskies, many of the program’s commits decommitted. So Fisch and company naturally turned to the players they’d recruited to Arizona, where Fisch was head coach the past three seasons.

“They just got their 10th member of Arizona’s ’24 recruiting class (running back Jordan Washington of Jordan High School in Long Beach, Calif.),” Huard said. “So all of the dudes that were signed, both four stars, the cornerback (Garfield High School’s Rashawn Clark) and then (Washington). … So a lot, a lot, a lot of portal activity. In fact, now 16 transfers that have come over. Jedd Fisch said afterwards (they’re) probably done.”

The Huskies, in fact, weren’t done and received a commitment later Monday from offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi, an Ohio State transfer. He joined a recently flurry of 2024 commits the included Washington, Arizona wide receiver Kevin Green Jr. and Nevada tight end Keleki Latu, the younger brother for former UW Husky and first-round NFL draft pick Laiatu Latu.

Questions in the trenches

A major factor in the success of UW’s offense under DeBoer and former offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb was an the Huskies had an excellent offensive line. Star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was sacked just five times in 2022 and 11 times last season, and the O-line was recognized as the best in the nation in 2023 by winning the Joe Moore Award.

All four full-time starters on the unit are now gone. Tackles Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten were picked in the first and second rounds, respectively, of the NFL Draft, center Parker Brailsford followed DeBoer to Alabama and guard Nathan Kalepo transferred to Ole Miss. Guards Geirian Hatchett and Julius Buelow, who combined for 11 starts, also transferred.

Vimahi’s commitment Monday brought UW’s total to seven offensive linemen for the 2024 class and bolstered what Huard characterized as a somewhat disappointing bounty from the transfer portal.

“Some of the challenge is going to be the line of scrimmage, because they targeted a bunch of guys and a bunch of tackles in the portal and did not come away (with much),” he said. “A bunch of them just stayed. Frankly, a bunch of them didn’t become free agents. They took the NIL money from their own school and their collectives, and they didn’t go into the portal. So I think some of the targets that they really wanted (and) had money set aside for in free agency never hit the market. … It’s going to be a work in progress at the line of scrimmage.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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