Christian Caple of The Athletic is reporting that Washington LB Ariel Ngata has entered the transfer portal. Dawgman.com and Mike Vorel of the Seattle Times have also been able to confirm the information.
UW linebacker Ariel Ngata appears in the transfer portal, @TheAthleticCFB has learned. Bounced between OLB/ILB last season and had 11 tackles. Will be a fourth-year junior in 2020.— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) January 17, 2020
As Caple referenced in the tweet, the Folsom, California native Ngata split his time between OLB and ILB during the season to try to meet the team’s needs. He played exclusively at OLB, which was his listed position on the depth chart, throughout the first 5 games of the season. But during the Arizona game the team put Ngata inside to give them enough speed to deal with Khalil Tate and the defensive strategy seemed to work well. He finished that game with 8 tackles in just 26 defensive snaps.
Ngata continued to see some limited playing time inside during the Oregon and Utah contests but his playing time faded to just 3 snaps against Oregon State and 1 snap against Colorado once Edefuan Ulofoshio asserted himself as a starter at the position and Kyler Manu returned from being banged up. Laiatu Latu and Zion Tupuola-Fetui clearly seemed to have jumped Ngata on the edge (with 5-star Sav’ell Smalls coming in next year) while Ngata would seemingly have had to compete with Jackson Sirmon, MJ Tafisi, Josh Calvert, and Daniel Heimuli among others for the second ILB spot in 2020. It seems likely that Ngata would have gotten at least some playing time and played a key depth role as a 4th year junior but less likely that he would start.
Ngata arrived at UW as a 4-star recruit per the 247 Sports composite and the #333 player in the country at 6’4 and 210 pounds. Throughout his time at Washington Ngata seemingly struggled to gain weight and never bulked up enough to help in run support as the Huskies generally want out of their outside linebackers. He is the eldest of 3 brothers and each of the younger two have been 4/5 star prospects on the offensive side of the ball in recent years. WR Joe was a freshman this season at Clemson while younger brother Daniyel is an APB who signed with Arizona State last month.
The upcoming transfer of Ngata continues the struggles the Huskies have had over the last few years keeping upperclassman depth on the roster at the linebacker spot. Camilo Eifler, Amandre Williams, and Ale Kaho are also linebackers that have signed with Washington but left before becoming major contributors (or before the 1st day of fall practices in Kaho's case). While DJ Beavers was forced to medically retire.
Best of luck to Ariel in the future and hopefully he is able to land at a spot where he can show off his talents.
EDIT: Ngata has confirmed the news via Twitter