Analysis: Where UW football improved in the first transfer portal window — and where more additions are needed

It’s addition by subtraction… and then more addition.

After closing an ascendant 2022 season with an 11-2 file and a No. 8 nationwide rating, Washington holds legit College Football Playoff hopes this fall. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr., broad receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, edges Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui, left deal with Troy Fautanu and defensive deal with Tuli Letuligasenoa all bypassed the NFL draft to hold a banner (or two) inside Husky Stadium.

To do this, they’re going to must be higher than the bunch that led the nation in passing, first downs, third down conversions and tackles for loss allowed; that closed the season with seven consecutive wins, sweeping their bitter rivals; that went 7-0 inside Husky Stadium, with a mean margin of victory of twenty-two.9 factors; that fell a tiebreaker shy of showing in the Pac-12 championship recreation in Kalen DeBoer’s debut season.

And, to be higher, they’re going to must be more full — addressing the Huskies’ uncovered holes. That means stabilizing a secondary that ranked 111th (out of 130 groups nationally) in opponent cross effectivity score (145.8), 114th in opponent cross touchdowns (26), 117th in third down protection (44.51% completions) and 129th in passes defended per recreation (2.54).

Unsurprisingly, the Huskies have added seven scholarship defensive backs this offseason: Oklahoma State transfer cornerback Jabbar Muhammad, Long Beach City College nook Thaddeus Dixon and 5 freshmen (four-star corners Caleb Presley and Curley Reed, four-star security Vincent Holmes, three- star nook Leroy Bryant and three-star security Diesel Gordon).

But what else did they do?

And what else wants doing?

The first of two offseason home windows for gamers to enter the transfer portal with out sacrificing a 12 months of eligibility closed Wednesday, with the second window following spring apply on May 1-15. The Huskies misplaced a complete of 9 gamers to the portal, whereas including seven potential contributors as nicely.

Incoming UW football transfers

Outgoing UW football transfers

The above ought to be categorised as crucial attrition — permitting reserves with little potential for enjoying time to discover a more appropriate vacation spot, whereas (hopefully) reloading with more aggressive and contributing depth. Of UW’s 9 offseason departees, none have been starters final season, and solely senior offensive lineman Victor Curne made constant begins at any level in his profession (though he was overtaken by redshirt freshman proper deal with Roger Rosengarten final fall).

Huard, in fact, is a legit loss — notably given UW’s a lot maligned lack of quarterback depth. But in any other case, the departures present alternatives for quick enchancment.

And the additions every serve particular functions — with Muhammad anticipated to step right into a beginning function at nook, Johnson and Ngata offering confirmed backfield depth following Wayne Taulapapa’s departure, Goforth doubtlessly stepping in for the departed Cam Bright, Cuevas and Bernard including playmaking potential this season and past, and Durfee studying from Trice and Tupuola-Fetui earlier than assuming a more important function in 2024.

But the Huskies are seemingly not finished but. Each FBS program can not surpass 85 scholarships at any given time, and UW initiatives to have 87 scholarship gamers as soon as more freshmen enroll this summer season. That means more gamers must transfer out between now and then to supply alternatives for additional additions.

Assuming that occurs — and it unquestionably will — Washington should still look to enhance at the following spots.

Quarterback

This is the apparent one. With simply Penix and junior Dylan Morris on scholarship (and three-star Garfield quarterback EJ Caminong dedicated in the 2024 class), UW should add not less than one scholarship sign caller this offseason. But that requires a balancing act.

The Huskies are searching for a quarterback with 3-4 seasons of remaining eligibility who’s proficient sufficient to sometime succeed as the starter however additionally prepared to take a seat behind Penix this fall. That could show a difficult promote.

And but, UW can market its confirmed passing assault, revered tutors in Penix and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, and a comparatively direct path to the beginning spot subsequent offseason.

Might five-star 2023 quarterback Jaden Rashada — who reportedly requested his launch from Florida and additionally owns a UW supply — see the upside in Seattle? On Tuesday, 247Sports listed UW (which simply signed Rashada’s prime goal at Pittsburg High, four-star wideout Rashid Williams) as one in all three potential locations, alongside Arizona State and Cal.

Safety

Alex Cook is out of eligibility, leaving UW with a emptiness at an underperforming spot this offseason. And whereas inconsistent senior Asa Turner returns, he is accompanied by valuable little confirmed depth. UW’s solely different scholarship safeties are sophomores Vincent Nunley and Makell Esteen, redshirt freshman Tristan Dunn and true freshmen Vincent Holmes and Diesel Gordon. None have began on the collegiate degree.

It would make sense, then, so as to add an influence security to step in beside Turner — a la Muhammad at cornerback.

But the Huskies are additionally bullish on their admittedly unproven choices.

“Vince Nunley was a participant that I completely had monster expectations for this season, and felt like popping out of camp he may need been our third or fourth security,” UW co-defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell mentioned final month. “He definitely would have performed quite a lot of football for us. To lose him for the season (attributable to an damage) at the very outset…he’ll be again, and he’ll be wholesome.

“I’m actually enthusiastic about Tristan Dunn [as well]. He made some large strides. Extremely athletic. He’s arguably one in all the more proficient athletes on the total defensive aspect of the ball.”

Defensive line

UW confirmed enchancment up entrance final fall, main the Pac-12 in opponent yards per carry (3.52) and rating third in each rush protection (123.21 yards allowed per recreation) and sacks per recreation (2.85). Letuligasenoa, senior Ulumoo Ale, juniors Faatui Tuitele, Voi Tunuufi and Jacob Bandes, and sophomore Jayvon Parker all return as nicely.

So, no: this would possibly not be categorised as a vital want. But UW may nonetheless welcome a disruptive defensive lineman.

Or develop one from inside.

“We really feel very strongly he might be a premier defensive deal with,” Morrell mentioned of redshirt freshman Armon Parker, who missed the 2022 season with a torn ACL. “There’s little question about it. He truly simply began working this final week for us. So it should be thrilling to have him throughout spring ball.”

Honorable mentions: Placekicker, punter

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