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Transfer Portal Tracker 12.28.23

Looking at which positions may still be in play for a late portal addition as the winter portal cycle winds down a bit

California v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

We have now gotten to the other side of the mountain when it comes to the winter window of the transfer portal. There are only a few more days for players to enter the portal with the deadline of January 2nd. It’s worth noting though that teams in the College Football Playoff get an extension so especially if UW defeats Texas and makes the title game you could see entries from the Huskies which span into mid-January.

There are players who decided to wait until after their bowl game to enter the portal that will continue to trickle in but we’ve probably reached at least 90% of the total entrants this cycle. We’ve also just about reached the end of the obvious Washington targets.

By my count there were 27 players who either reported a Husky offer or we know took a visit to Washington out of the portal. 25 of those players have committed to a school including 6 to the Huskies. Only Arizona State ED transfer BJ Green has yet to officially sign as it sounds like there are some transcript holdups that may require him to wait until spring quarter to enroll.

One of those two unsigned players is Alabama DT Isaiah Hastings who was a 4-star recruit in the class of 2022 but has only gotten on the field for 4 defensive snaps. It’s worth noting though that Hastings has since deleted every tweet about the offers he has gotten and there is absolutely no info about his recruitment. Unless we get evidence to the contrary, I’m going to assume that Hastings isn’t an option anymore.

New Offers

LB Xe’ree Alexander- Idaho, Current Portal Ranking: 75.9, #8 LB, #109 Overall

The 6’2, 215 lb Alexander graduated from Kennedy Catholic in Seattle and is the younger brother of WR Lonyatta “Junior” Alexander who spent a season with the Huskies in between seasons at Arizona State and Montana State. Xe’ree like his older brother was committed to Arizona State but one side or both didn’t like the fit once Kenny Dillingham took over as head coach and he ended up decommitting. He had a mid 3-star recruit rating in the 247 Sports Composite that would normally have suggested at least a Mountain West landing spot but instead went to FCS Idaho where local FSP trainer Tracy Ford’s brother was on staff.

If my system has one potential weakness it’s that it has a hard time with players that had high recruiting grades while playing at lower levels of competition. Alexander had 61 tackles and 2 forced fumbles as a true freshman earning honorable mention all-conference honors. Had he put up those numbers at ASU he’d be a surefire star. It’s harder to tell when it happens at Idaho so if you were going to manually tweak the numbers at all I would likely downgrade Alexander a little bit.

Still, there’s reason to think that Alexander could at least be a good starting linebacker at the power conference level if not this year than the next. He has 3 years of eligibility remaining so he’d fill the giant gap in the depth chart between your 3 seniors (Tuputala, Bruener, and Barr) and 3 freshmen (Bryant, Whitney, and House). I’m not sure that UW needed to take 2 portal linebackers but I certainly think it’s a good addition if it happens.

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At the beginning of the month I put out my priority list with a 1-10 rating on how badly UW needed to get someone from the portal if everyone on the fence did decide to head for the draft. If for instance Jabbar Muhammad comes back then that counts as plugging the hole at cornerback. Let’s re-assess to see how UW has done at each spot so far to identify where there are still potential needs.

Quarterback- Early December Starter Need- 7, Backup Need- 2

Portal Additions: Will Rogers, Mississippi State, #21 overall, #5 QB

I put the need for a starter at a 7/10 when Dylan Morris was still on the roster. It seems likely that UW targeted Rogers and Morris would’ve stayed without further QB additions but with Morris gone the need for a starter bumped up to a 10. Washington got their guy and we’ll see how well he’s able to replace a legend.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: KJ Jefferson, Arkansas- 93.8 (#1 QB), DJ Uiagelelei, Oregon State- 93.8 (#2 QB), Jayden de Laura, Arizona- 88.4 (#6 QB), Casey Thompson- 85.3 (#10 QB), Gerry Bohanon, South Florida (#12 QB)

Running Back- Early December Starter Need- 3, Backup Need- 2

Portal Additions: None

Washington sniffed around a couple of running backs in Woody Marks from Mississippi State (went to USC) and Anthony Woods of Idaho (went to Utah) but haven’t added anyone. If Dillon Johnson turns pro then the Huskies still (at least for now) have Cam Davis returning from injury, Will Nixon, Tybo Rogers, Daniyel Ngata, and Sam Adams. That is still a very solid group and it likely takes 2 defections for UW to add someone.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Peny Boone, Toledo- 83.3 (#4 RB), Kay’Ron Adams, Massachusetts- 81.4 (#6 RB), Deion Hankins, UTEP- 79.5 (#7 RB), Michael Allen, NC State- 78.5 (#9 RB), Ja’Quinden Jackson, Utah- 78.3 (#10 RB)

Wide Receiver- Early December Starter Need- 9, Backup Need- 4

Portal Additions: None

There was early buzz that Washington would end up with Notre Dame in-state product Tobias Merriweather but he ended up at Cal. The Dawgs also hosted Tulane’s Chris Brazzell who went to Tennessee. It seemed that maybe UW passed on both to help land 4-star prep player Aaron Butler but he swerved and committed to Texas at the last hour without having visited.

Washington is definitely losing Rome Odunze and 4-star freshman Taeshaun Lyons entered the transfer portal. If either of Jalen McMillan or Ja’Lynn Polk turn down the NFL then the need for a starter is lessened a bit. If both go pro then UW has to go get a proven entity or else is requiring a massive leap from at least 2 of their young receivers.

There’s been a little buzz about Cal WR Jeremiah Hunter who is my personal pick as a ready-made replacement for Rome Odunze. No one is Odunze but Hunter is definitely Odunze-lite having played in a terrible passing offense for the better part of 3 seasons. He has caught over 60% of his contested catches and has a drop rate under 5%. It would be hard to do that even with hands covered in tar. Go get him, Jamarcus.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Evan Stewart, Texas A&M- 89.4 (#1 WR), Jeremiah Hunter, California- 87.5 (#2 WR), Marion Williams, USC- 83.7 (#4 WR), Jahmal Banks, Wake Forest- 77.6 (#13 WR), Cameron Camper, Indiana- 77.0 (#16 WR)

Tight End- Early December Starter Need- 3, Backup Need- 8

Portal Additions: Tre Watson, Fresno State- 53.2, #679 Overall, #26 TE

I didn’t think the Huskies needed a frontline starter at tight end with both Josh Cuevas and Quentin Moore returning and that’s good because they struck out there. They were reported to be getting visits from 3 of my top-ten rated TEs but each ended up committing elsewhere. Stanford TE Ben Yurosek entered the portal a little later and has clear ties to the area but either wasn’t interested in UW or UW wasn’t interested in waiting for him.

Instead, UW adds Watson who at the very least will be a capable backup after having more than 400 receiving yards this past year for the Bulldogs. He was recruited to Fresno by Deboer and his staff and so is familiar with the offense and should be relatively plug and play as at least a solid backup tight end who can make the easy catch and pass block.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Maliq Carr, Michigan State- 81.0 (#1 TE), Ben Yurosek, Stanford- 77.2 (#4 TE), Corey Dyches, Maryland- 74.2 (#6 TE), Michael Trigg, Ole Miss- 63.1 (#10 TE)

Interior Offensive Line- Early December Starter Need- 2, Backup Need- 5

Portal Additions: None

There were no rumors about UW going after an interior offensive lineman with all 3 of their starters (Nate Kalepo, Parker Brailsford, and Julius Buelow) expected to return plus backups Geirean and Landen Hatchett coming back. Getting an experienced backup guard wouldn’t have been the worst thing but this is perhaps the most set position for next year on the roster so totally find with UW standing pat here. Especially since this may have been the weakest position in the portal this year.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Quantavious Leslie, WKU- 82.5 (#1 iOL), Vincent Murphy, WKU- 77.5 (#4 iOL), Joshua Atkins, Hawaii- 64.4 (#16 iOL), Darrell Simmons, Iowa State- 63.4 (#19 iOL), Jacoby Jackson, Texas Tech- 61.8 (#23 iOL).

Offensive Tackle- Early December Starter Need- 10, Backup Need- 4

Portal Additions: Drew Azzopardi, San Diego State- 59.1, #493 Overall, #21 OT

The 10/10 need for a tackle was in the event that both Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten depart for the NFL Draft. Even with Rosengarten returning though it would’ve been at least an 8 need for a starter. Enter Azzopardi who started 6 games as a redshirt freshman for SDSU. He’s not guaranteed to start opposite Rosengarten but he becomes the favorite for that position. Also, the offensive tackle class may have the iOL beat for worst position overall.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Percy Lewis, Mississippi State- 73.3 (#1 OT), Micah Sahakian, Cornell- 71.7 (#2 OT), JC Davis, New Mexico- 67.5 (#7 OT), Michael Tarquin, USC- 67.3 (#8 OT), Jacob Rizy, Harvard- 67.2 (#9 OT)

Defensive Tackle- Early December Starter Need- 10, Backup Need- 7

Portal Additions: Sebastian Valdez, Montana State- 65.8, #315 Overall, #17 DT

Well step number one accomplished as the Huskies added one player that projects as a starter. Sebastian Valdez was 2nd team all-Big Sky this year and 1st team last year as a premier FCS interior pass rusher. Right now the most likely scenario is that he lines up next to Faatui Tuitele on the inside come the first defensive snap next September.

It would not be a shock at all for Washington to continue to search for another proven body, especially if rumors about a portal departure from one of the current backups comes true. This may be a spot though where UW waits to see what comes available in the spring rather than go after any of the names still left (or if one happens to come available in the next 4 days then great).

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Chidozie Nwankwo, Houston- 80.9 (#2 DT), Elijah Alston, Marshall- 71.5 (#8 DT), Grady Kelly, Colorado St- 69.4 (#13 DT), Nick James, Indiana- 66.2 (#16 DT), Charloes Looes, Dartmouth- 65.7 (#18 DT)

Edge Rusher- Early December Starter Need- 8, Backup Need- 3

Portal Additions: BJ Green, Arizona State- 70.5, #199 Overall, #17 EDGE

Washington is expected to lose their 3 leaders in snap at the edge spot with Bralen Trice, Zion Tupoula-Fetui, and Sekai Asoua-Afua all departing. They essentially add a transfer with Zach Durfee having missed the first 13 games of the year due to an NCAA eligibility ruling. They still needed at least one more piece though. Enter Green who is brought down by his low recruiting grade out of high school when he walked on at ASU. He showed he belonged though from day one so this is one where Green could very easily overperform his grade in my rating system. I’d be surprised to see UW add another edge player unless Dominic Kirks ends up decommitting from the high school class or another piece transfers out.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Nic Scourton, Purdue- 91.9 (#1 ED), Patrick Payton, Florida State- 82.8 (#4 ED), Korey Foreman, USC- 78.0 (#7 ED), Ty French, Gardner-Webb- 74.4 (#12 ED), Zavier Carter, UNLV- 73.4 (#13 ED)

Linebacker- Early December Starter Need- 2, Backup Need- 9

Portal Additions: Ethan Barr, Vanderbilt- 70.5, #713 Overall, #65 LB

Well I said that UW didn’t need a starting linebacker and they evidently listened. With Carson Bruener and Alphonzo Tuputala returning it was unlikely the coaching staff would get a starting quality linebacker who expects to start. They ended up adding Barr who is a long-time starter at Vanderbilt but who didn’t put up great numbers. Ralen Goforth profiled very similar last offseason and has worked out just fine in a backup role.

We talked about Xe’ree Alexander at the top who seems like the only other potential addition here. Although local product Julien Simon is in the portal for the second time after a pretty good sophomore season at Tulsa.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Jackson Bratton, UAB- 82.4 (#3 LB), Ozzie Nicholas, Princeton- 79.0 (#4 LB), Julien Simon, Tulsa- 78.0 (#5 LB), Stefon Thompson, Syracuse- 77.7 (#6 LB), Devyn Curtis, Middle Tennessee- 76.0 (#7 LB)

Cornerback- Early December Starter Need- 9, Backup Need- 2

Portal Additions: None

Washington went after a trio of corners who all got offers from Washington and two of which visited campus. All committed elsewhere going to Texas A&M, Florida, and TCU. The optimists’ view is that UW started the process because they weren’t sure about Jabbar Muhammad’s status but he seems more likely than not to return so they didn’t go all out in pursuit of one. Or it could be that they just got outbid. If Muhammad goes to the draft then UW has to address this position with a late portal add this cycle or in the spring.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Duce Chestnut, LSU- 88.4 (#1 CB), Tyreek Chappell, Texas A&M- 81.0 (#4 CB), Mumu Bin-Wahad, UConn- 79.7 (#6 CB), Antoine Jackson, East Carolina- 76.9 (#9 CB), Jyaire Brown, Ohio State- 76.9 (#10 CB)

Safety- Early December Starter Need- 8, Backup Need- 6

Portal Additions: None

This is another spot where I felt UW needed reinforcements. Asa Turner may choose to return next season after only appearing in 4 games due to injury and using his redshirt but he has been hampered by injuries enough that he can’t be relied upon to play a full year at this point. Washington went after both Kamari Ramsey and Cole Savage but got beat out by USC nd Oregon respectively. There are still some intriguing names on the board at the safety spot although almost all of them are already on their 2nd transfer which may be a red flag. Washington added 3 highly rated true freshmen at this position so maybe they feel there’s enough internal depth to make it work if they can’t get an elite addition.

Top 5 Uncommitted Options Remaining: Myles Rowser, New Mexico State- 89.5 (#2 S), Wesley Walker, Tennessee- 82.7 (#5 S), Jalen Catalon, Texas- 82.5 (#6 S), Sage Ryan, LSU- 81.4 (#7 S), Isheem Young, Ole Miss- 80.7 (#8 S)

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Don’t forget to check out my portal rankings right here.