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Linebacker Josh Calvert Has Left the UW Program

The Huskies are losing some depth at the inside linebacker spot

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Arizona at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Per the Seattle Times’ Mike Vorel, a UW spokesperson has confirmed that Linebacker Josh Calvert is no longer a member of the Washington football team. A few days ago Calvert was removed from the team roster but no official word came out from the team or Calvert himself until today. Calvert is a redshirt freshman for eligibility purposes and with the new first-time transfer rule he will have 4 years to play 4 at his next school if that’s what he chooses to do.

Calvert was a part of the 2019 recruiting class which saw the Huskies bring in 4 inside linebackers to a depleted position group: Calvert, Daniel Heimuli, Alphonzo Tuputala, and Miki Ah You. Calvert and Heimuli were the headliners as 4-star recruits coming out of California. There was a lot of talk that Calvert could be a sleeper as a 2-way QB/LB who used his experience throwing the ball to understand defensive positioning.

That looked like it was coming to fruition early as reports out of fall camp in 2019 said that Calvert was often running with the #1 defense alongside Brandon Wellington in his first major college action. Unfortunately Calvert soon after tore his ACL and missed the entirety of his season. He returned in time for the delayed fall camp in 2020 but never made it onto the field as he continued recovering from the injury. This spring there was a thought that perhaps Calvert would be able to push Jackson Sirmon to run with the 1’s but that never really happened. It would appear that Calvert felt with 2 starters entrenched above him each with 2 years of eligibility remaining that his best chance to see major playing time was by transferring.

When you bring in 4 players at a single position in a recruiting class it’s only a matter of time that one of them decides to transfer since there just aren’t enough spots to keep them all happy. Calvert has 2 other brothers in the Pac-12 at UCLA and Utah and although each said they didn’t really want to play together you would think he’d have a chance to head to one of those schools or somewhere else in the conference if he wants. The Pac-12 is on the verge of abolishing the rule that causes intra-conference transfers to sit out without the school they’re leaving approving the transfer.

Without Calvert the Huskies have 6 Inside Linebackers remaining on scholarship before the summer. Both Carson Bruener and Cooper McDonald in the 2020 class were initially listed as inside linebackers when they signed but now display as outside linebackers on the roster. It will be interesting to see how much of that switch was due to the losses of Laiatu Latu and ZTF to injury and whether now at least one of them will switch back. Incoming freshman Will Latu is also listed at inside linebacker and will be joining to give a 7th scholarship player in the fall. Walk-on Drew Fowler turned down a scholarship from Utah to play for the Huskies out of high school and also wouldn’t be a shock to see him eventually put on scholarship given his pedigree.

As it stands the depth chart still has Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon as the starters while it will likely be an all out battle between MJ Tafisi, Heimuli, Tuputala, and Ah You for who take the 2 backup spots. Traditionally the Huskies play with 2 starters at the ILB spot and 2 subs who rotate in for them for 25-30% of the defensive snaps. We could also see Washington try to replace Calvert from the transfer portal with former USC 5-star Palaie Gaotaote an intriguing option still available.

Best of luck Josh at your next stop and I greatly wish we could’ve seen the alternate universe where he never tore his ACL and got a chance to immediately compete as a freshman.