CHRISTIAN CAPLE

Caple on UW Huskies football: A closer look at the 2024 roster

Jul 3, 2024, 10:10 PM | Updated: Jul 4, 2024, 4:24 pm

UW Huskies Kamren Fabiculanan...

Kamren Fabiculanan of the UW Huskies celebrates a win over Oregon State on Nov 4, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies this season will present a roster unlike any in school history, and perhaps unlike any in college football history, considering what the team accomplished last year.

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Take a quick look through past national-championship game results, and see if you can find a participating team — winner or loser — which lost its head coach and every single offensive starter, and added 44 newcomers the following offseason.

Obviously, it’s never happened. And if Jim Harbaugh hadn’t also left Michigan to coach the Los Angeles Chargers, Kalen DeBoer would still be the only person to leave his job after coaching in a national championship game.

The art of roster construction continues to evolve, with the transfer portal and NIL dictating more frequent player movement than ever. And with Jedd Fisch taking over for DeBoer, the Huskies’ roster is a particularly interesting study; their scholarship count now features players who were recruited to the school by four different head coaches. The roster includes players from seven different recruiting classes who played high-school ball in 16 different states, and includes twice as many transfers as any team the school has ever had.

As I did last year at this time, let’s take a deep dive into the numbers behind the UW Huskies’ 2024 scholarship roster, which should be more or less set — to the degree any college football roster ever is — with preseason practices about a month away.

By position

QB: 3
RB: 6
WR: 9
OL: 14
TE: 5
DL: 9
EDGE: 8
LB: 8
DB: 20 (9 cornerbacks, 9 safeties and 2 mostly full-time nickels)
ST: 2

As it has for a while now, Washington’s known scholarship count appears to be at 84, one below the limit. The numbers skew toward the defense, with 45 scholarship players compared to 37 on offense. The coaches likely want to bump that o-line number to 15 or 16 next season, and could carry four quarterbacks, too, assuming no attrition.

Of the 84, only 40 were on the roster last season, meaning UW added 44 players this offseason. Only 19 of those are true freshmen from the 2024 recruiting class; the other 25 are transfers.

By eligibility

Seniors: 20
Juniors: 19
Sophomores: 12
Freshmen: 33

That’s 14 redshirt freshmen and 19 true freshmen, so the numbers are distributed fairly evenly by class, with the obvious exception of the sophomores. That’s a result of UW’s small class in 2022, combined with only two returning 2023 signees — OL Landen Hatchett and EDGE Jacob Lane — who didn’t redshirt last season.

Of the 20 seniors, 13 came to UW via transfer, combining portal and JUCO.

By high-school recruiting class

2024: 19
2023: 17
2022: 15
2021: 10
2020: 13
2019: 9
2018: 1

The addition of seventh-year Oklahoma transfer Justin Harrington — he received a medical waiver before transferring — means UW has at least one scholarship senior from four different recruiting classes.

The pandemic eligibility pause is still impacting 23 scholarship players on UW’s roster — those who signed in the 2018-20 classes, whether at UW or elsewhere — with nine exercising their sixth (or seventh) year in 2024.

By recruiting ranking (high school only)

Using the 247Sports Composite.

Four-star: 21
Three-star/other: 63

That’s a roster blue-chip ratio of 25 percent. At this time last year, that figure was 33.7 percent. (It’s worth noting this isn’t quite the same as Bud Elliott’s BCR metric, which measures the percentage of blue-chip signees throughout a school’s four most recent recruiting classes.)

Here’s how those blue-chippers are distributed by position:

QB: 1
RB: 4
WR: 3
TE: 1
OL: 4
DL: 1
EDGE: 1
LB: 0
DB: 6 (3 cornerbacks, 3 safeties)

Though UW’s roster has more scholarship players on defense than offense, the majority of the blue-chip talent — 13 of 21, or 61.9 percent — is concentrated on offense, and six of the eight defensive blue-chippers can be found in the secondary: cornerbacks Ephesians Prysock, Curley Reed and Caleb Presley, and safeties Kam Fabiculanan, Vincent Holmes and Peyton Waters.

By head coach

Kalen DeBoer: 36
Jedd Fisch: 30
Chris Petersen: 10
Jimmy Lake: 8

Whereas Petersen recruits dominated last season’s roster, the 2024 Huskies mostly are a creation of the newer guys. Different as the roster might be from last year, DeBoer still supplied more of UW’s scholarship personnel than any other coach, though Fisch is responsible for 30 additions already. At this time last year, UW had 37 players who had committed to DeBoer, so that number has actually decreased.

The 10 remaining Petersen recruits are split between the 2020 class (RB Sam Adams II, OL Gaard Memmelaar, LB Carson Bruener, CB Elijah Jackson, S Makell Esteen) and the 2019 class (RB Cam Davis, DL Jacob Bandes, LB Alphonzo Tuputala, LB Drew Fowler, S Kam Fabiculanan).

The eight players who committed to UW under Lake: WR Giles Jackson, WR Denzel Boston, TE Quentin Moore, TE Ryan Otton, EDGE Voi Tunuufi, EDGE Maurice Heims, EDGE Lance Holtzclaw, DB Dyson McCutcheon.

By mode of arrival

High-school recruit: 52
Transfer portal: 28
JUCO: 4

This is a tricky calculation, because the Huskies added several players from Arizona’s 2024 recruiting class who obviously haven’t played any college football, but did enroll at UA in January before following Fisch’s staff to Seattle. I think it’s most accurate, though, to categorize those players as high-school signees, with one exception: RB Jordan Washington, who stayed with the Wildcats through spring practices before transferring.

Of the 32 transfers — combining those from the portal and from JUCO — 22 have committed since Fisch’s arrival, and another eight players who signed with Arizona in the 2024 class instead switched to Washington.

For the record, I’m counting transfers such as Will Rogers, Drew Azzopardi, Sebastian Valdez and Jeremiah Hunter — and 2024 signees like Paki Finau, Peyton Waters, Decker DeGraaf et al — as DeBoer recruits, because he was coach when each committed to UW. Obviously, it took some work for Fisch’s staff to hold on to each of those players, but it’s most accurate to say DeBoer was responsible for bringing them into the program. (For the same reason, players who committed to Lake and were inherited by DeBoer in the 2022 class are counted as Lake recruits.)

Of the 36 DeBoer recruits still on the roster, 28 arrived as high-schoolers — four in 2022, 14 in 2023, and 10 in 2024 — and four of the eight transfers arrived this offseason.

The breakdown in this category at this time last year, by the way, was 67-13-3. So the Huskies have twice as many transfers in 2024 as they did in 2023.

By home state

“Home” generally refers to the area from which each player was recruited, and not necessarily where they grew up — so Audric Harris counts for Nevada, Daniyel Ngata for California, Lance Holtzclaw for Arizona, and so on. I also used high-school locations for both portal and JUCO transfers, and made a couple judgment calls, such as counting Jayden Wayne for Washington instead of Florida, even though he spent his senior year at IMG Academy, and counting Maurice Heims for California, even though he’s originally from Germany.

And remember, this is just scholarship players. With walk-ons included, another two states would be represented: Illinois (punter Adam Saul) and Montana (receiver Camden Sirmon).

California: 44
Washington: 14
Arizona: 6
Oregon: 2
Utah: 2
Colorado: 2
Texas: 2
Michigan: 2
Minnesota: 2
Idaho: 1
Nevada: 1
North Carolina: 1
Mississippi: 1
Louisiana: 1
Hawaii: 1
Missouri: 1
Ontario (Toronto): 1

California always will supply a greater portion of UW’s roster than any other state, but Washington isn’t nearly as close of a second as it was last year, when 32 scholarship players hailed from California and 20 were in-state products. Unsurprisingly, four of the six Arizona players came with Fisch’s staff from Tucson.

A huge chunk of the scholarship roster — 73 of 84 players, or 86.9 percent — comes from within UW’s traditional recruiting footprint, and that figure increases to 75 of 84 if we include Texas. Of the remaining nine, five arrived as transfers: QB Will Rogers (Mississippi), OL Maximus McCree (Missouri), DL Bryce Butler (Connecticut), EDGE Zach Durfee (Minnesota) and DB Justin Harrington (North Carolina).

The other four from outside the footprint-plus-Texas: DL Jayvon Parker (Michigan), DL Armon Parker (Michigan), DL Elinneus Davis (Minnesota) and CB Curley Reed (Louisiana).

The longest drive from a player’s hometown in the contiguous United States? That would be Butler, who is originally from Toronto but played high-school ball at St. Thomas More in Oakdale, Conn., some 2,966 miles from Husky Stadium. A close second is Justin Harrington, whose hometown of Raleigh, N.C., would require a 2,852-mile journey.

By Jakes

There’s Jacob Bandes and Jacob Lane, plus walk-on edge rusher Jake Jennings for a total of three. That’s down from five last year. This is a concerning trend, though Washington does have a commitment from offensive lineman Jake Flores in its 2025 recruiting class.

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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