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Camp Notes from Day 1

The ILB position appears to be thinner than expected but the OLB spot could be getting a boost

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Lake had his introductory press conference today after the first day of preseason camp and as always with the first day there were plenty noteworthy updates.

Roster Updates- Depth Depleted at Inside Linebacker

Every spring/fall there are unexpected departures from the program announced and this year it was linebacker Miki Ah You and Will Latu who have a combination of family/personal issues. Lake later clarified that neither player is 100% gone from the program permanently but it is for certain that neither will suit up this fall.

Latu’s situation is particularly noteworthy since he is an incoming true freshman who hasn’t even been to a practice yet. When the 2021 roster was updated a few days ago it was pointed out that Latu was listed at 260 pounds, significantly heavier than you would expect for an inside linebacker. A refresh on the team site today shows Latu entirely absent. The local 4-star Latu was the lone linebacker signed in the 2021 class with the Huskies seemingly having plenty of depth at that spot. That will now be tested.

Ah You was one of 4 inside linebackers brought in with the class of 2019 along with Alfonzo Tuputala, Daniel Heimuli, and Josh Calvert. Now that he is no longer with the program it means only half of that group remain. Josh Calvert transferred to Utah earlier in the offseason.

It appears that Carson Bruener is back at inside linebacker after playing outside in the fall to help bolster the room there but it’s suddenly a much thinner group. Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon are the clear favorites to start while some combination of Hemuli, MJ Tafisi, Tuputala, and Bruener will back them up. The Dawgs do also have a few walk-ons they like as well including Drew Fowler who turned down a scholarship from Utah to join UW coming out of high school.

Recovery Ahead of Schedule

On a more positive note, Jimmy Lake said that Outside Linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui’s rehab is putting him ahead of schedule. He said (without giving himself any wiggle room) that ZTF will play at some point in the regular season. ZTF tore his achilles during spring practices and the front end of the recovery timeline coincided exactly with the UW-Oregon game in week 11. However that seemed a little unrealistic given the difficulties of that particular injury.

Assuming that ZTF’s progress is still within the initial stated timeline it would provide the hope that he could participate in 4 regular season games (Oregon, ASU, at Colorado, WSU) plus hopefully a conference championship game and any bowl games. This obviously is a situation that we’ll be monitoring closely throughout the year. The last thing anyone wants is to rush ZTF back before he’s actually ready and either have him play while ineffective or even worse re-aggravate the injury. But if he comes back anything close to the player we saw in 2020 it stands to give the Huskies a major shot in the arm for the back third of the schedule.

Other News and Notes

  • Not unexpected but doesn’t sound like there’s much in the way of a QB competition this fall unless something happens to Morris. He’s going to be the guy.
  • It’s been an odd last 9 months for Newton after he was benched for the final 2 games of UW’s abbreviated season last year and then missed several practices due to false positive tests in the spring. But it looks like he’s expected to be a major piece this year.
  • The battle at the safety spots is the position battle I’m most curious to see unfold over the next month.

Practice Updates

And what a sight they are, Christian.