Washington quarterback Sam Huard is entering the transfer portal as first reported by the Seattle Times’ Mike Vorel. Huard just finished his 2nd season in the Husky program after entering as one of the most hyped prospects in team history. The decision was later confirmed by Christian Caple and others.
The 6’2 Huard joined the UW program just in time for spring ball before the 2021 season and ended up as the backup for Dylan Morris as a true freshman. That season collapsed into disaster under OC John Donovan and head coach Jimmy Lake as Morris regressed greatly from a solid 2020 debut in the shortened 4-game season. Following the dismissals of both Donovan and Lake, Huard was named the starter for the Apple Cup as his 4th appearance to preserve his redshirt. It didn’t go well as Huard completed 17 of 31 passes for 190 yards and threw 4 interceptions as the Huskies were routed by the Cougs.
This past year there was nominally an open competition between Michael Penix Jr., Morris, and Huard under the new UW coaching staff which Penix won. Huard never appeared to find much consistency and despite the 2nd team on the depth chart being listed as Dylan Morris OR Sam Huard, it was clear that Morris was the backup in reality. The only time Penix left the game outside of garbage time was on the final drive against Arizona State and Morris entered to take those reps. Huard finished the year 2 of 3 passing for 24 yards.
According to 247 Sports’ composite rankings the former 5-star Huard is the 4th highest rated recruit all-time for the Huskies since the year 2000 trailing only LB Shaq Thompson, WR Reggie Williams, and OT Nathan Rhodes. He also carried the weight of expectations associated with his last name as his father Damon and uncle Brock both started at quarterback for the Huskies in the past.
Given that family legacy there was a thought that Huard might stick around one more season in order to keep alive his lifelong dream of starting at QB for Washington. The prospect of losing another year of eligibility and then not being any guarantee to win the job let alone be the backup in 2024 appears to have been enough for Huard to decide to try things out elsewhere.
The announcement by Huard leaves Washington’s quarterback depth chart perilously thin. 2023 recruit Lincoln Kienholz was committed to the Huskies for nearly 5 months but flipped to Ohio State shortly before signing day. The coaching staff opted not to reach for a lower-tier prospect and decided to move forward with just 3 QBs in the room. Washington has a commitment in local QB E.J Caminong for the 2024 class but that does not help for next season.
Now that they are down to 2 however it must be expected that they will make a move to bring in a quarterback from the portal. The timing is not ideal for Washington as the portal is largely picked over. With both Penix and Morris in the fold the Huskies will ideally be looking for a quarterback with significant upside and 3+ years of eligibility remaining who will be willing to sit on the bench in 2023 as the 3rd string and then compete with Morris or anyone else in the QB room after Penix graduates following the upcoming season.
Husky Nation will be rooting for Sam at his next stop. He was a lifelong Husky who committed extremely early and did his best to recruit for the Dawgs despite head coach Jimmy Lake’s inattention to the task. Huard kept committed despite the coaching change from Petersen to Lake and did his best to compete while learning 2 offenses in 2 seasons (well, 1 offense plus whatever Donovan put out there). In the end he had to make a choice between sitting another season behind one of the best QBs in the country and having at best 2 years of eligibility left after or potentially playing earlier. That’s the life of a college quarterback in the transfer portal era and it’s not an easy decision.
We’re sorry to see you go Sam and wish that we could’ve seen UW see the success it did in 2022 with you at the helm. But it wasn’t meant to be and now both sides must move on.
Sam Huard said he's been "back and forth" for the past couple weeks re: deciding to transfer. Said he made the decision a couple nights ago.— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) January 10, 2023
Huard says Penix coming back absolutely impacted his decision. Doesn’t have a particular school he’s focusing on yet— Dave “Softy” Mahler (@Softykjr) January 10, 2023
On telling the coaching staff, Huard says that "obviously, they told me they wanted me to stay and be a Dawg," but they understood he wants to play.— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) January 10, 2023