The Friday before spring practices start is always an interesting one as we get a lot of new information for the first time in several months. The new spring rosters come out and we can see which players have made dramatic changes in their weights over the last 6 months. For those who love such things, there are jersey number changes to monitor. There’s also always a departure or two from the program which is usually the most consequential update even if not the happiest.
On that note...
DB Julius Irvin Medically Retires
DeBoer announced that Julius Irvin will graduate this spring and then medically retire from football. Irvin entered UW as a slightly higher rated corner than Kyler Gordon in the same recruiting class. However, Irvin was seemingly never able to withstand injuries during his tenure with the Huskies.
Irvin didn’t see his first non-special teams game action until the COVID-shortened 2020 season in his 3rd year with the program. He played 16 snaps in reserve against Arizona and gave up a pair of touchdowns on good throws that beat tight coverage. Then in 2021 he served as a backup safety appearing in 9 games and securing his first career interception against Arkansas State. Last year Irvin moved back to corner after UW was hit by a series of injuries and started 4 games from Portland State through UCLA. Unfortunately he got hurt in the game against the Bruins and missed the rest of the season. There would’ve been one more season of eligibility remaining for Irvin with the extra Covid mulligan rule.
Washington is over on scholarships at the moment and the Huskies added 5 corners this fall with Oklahoma State transfer Jabbar Muhammad, JUCO transfer Thaddeus Dixon, and high school prospects Caleb Presley, Curley Reed, and Leroy Bryant. However it sounds like the retirement of Irvin wasn’t a known entity back in December since DeBoer hinted that the Huskies might be in search of a portal replacement once it re-opens in May.
Kalen DeBoer says "I don't think we're done yet," referring to adding to UW's roster in the transfer portal, particularly in the wake of Julius Irvin's medical retirement.— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) March 3, 2023
Kalen DeBoer said Elijah Jackson has made an impression this offseason. He had a '40 inch vert this offseason and that caught DeBoer's eye.— Lars Hanson (@LarsHanson) March 3, 2023
Adds Michael Powell will move around between inside and outside corner spots
DeBoer also confirmed that Dominique Hampton will play safety but also said they can "move him around a little bit."— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) March 3, 2023
It’s always of special interest to see what happened along the offensive and defensive lines. Here are some of the meaningful changes for the O-Line:
Myles Murao from 319 to 299 pounds (-20)
Zach Henning from 275 to 290 pounds (+15)
Samuel Peacock from 279 to 290 pounds (+11)
Washington has seen success recently with linemen who entered college at closer to 270 pounds and got up to closer to 300 by the time they actually got on the field. That was the formula for a guy like Roger Rosengarten. Henning was an early enrollee in January but has already added 15 pounds in just about 2 months apparently. Peacock had a similar frame with more time in the program and is also up to 290. Neither is expected to play in 2023 but there might be playing time at the tackle spots available in 2024.
Myles Murao was the opposite. He was viewed as a guy with a chance to play early at nearly 330 pounds. He has had a few injuries and it seems like not all of that weight was considered good by the strength and conditioning staff. We’ll see if the plan is for Murao to play at closer to 300 pounds or if they needed to get him to shed the bad weight (which it seems he has done) and then rebuild with more muscle on top to get over 300.
Now along the D-Line:
Jacob Bandes from 292 to 314 pounds (+22)
Faatui Tuitele from 302 to 314 pounds (+12)
Maurice Heims from 261 to 246 pounds (-15)
Voi Tunuufi from 258 to 249 pounds (-9)
Bandes and Tuitele entered as part of the same recruiting class having been viewed as 2 of the best defensive linemen on the west coast. Tuitele started for much of the season but neither has yet become the player that Husky fans hoped for when they signed. Now they’re listed at an identical 314 pounds and it seems that the staff would like to have the interior guys bulk up a little more and potentially open things up for the edge rushers.
That leads to a question about the future of Voi Tunuufi. He entered the program as an undersized lineman with pass rush skills at ~270 pounds. He’s now down all the way to 250 and that certainly suggests that the coaching staff would prefer to have him on the outside or inside on passing downs only. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Tunuufi ultimately on one edge spot in 2024 after ZTF graduates and Trice (presumably) declares for the draft.
Another potential option on the edge is Maurice Heims who continues to trim down. He entered the program incredibly raw having been late to play the sport after coming to the States from Germany. He flashed the few times he was able to get on the field last year and we’ll see if dropping some additional weight can help him to be even faster.
A grab bag of other positions:
LB Ralen Goforth from 225 to 236 pounds (+11)
RB Daniyel Ngata from 200 to 187 pounds (-13)
RB Tybo Rogers from 180 to 192 pounds (+12)
WR Rome Odunze from 200 to 210 pounds (+10)
I always find it interesting when a player transfers and then re-shapes their body with a new coaching staff. Goforth struggled at times at USC but it appears the Husky coaches want him to bulk up a little to play in the middle at UW. Meanwhile it was nearly a reversal for Arizona State transfer Daniyel Ngata and true freshman Tybo Rogers at the same position. They came close to flipping weight values and we’ll see what that means for each of their individual games. Finally, Rome Odunze must have gotten some feedback that he needed to show more strength as he is up 10 pounds. Hopefully he has managed to gain that weight without sacrificing any of his speed and agility.
For those of you who don’t like seeing single digit numbers at non-traditional positions, well maybe skip ahead a bit.
Some UW number changes:— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) March 3, 2023
ZTF now 4 (was 58)
Mishael Powell now 3 (was 23)
Edefuan Ulofoshio now 5 (was 48)
Davon Banks now 6 (was 10)
Voi Tunuufi now 52 (was 90)
Numbers for new arrivals, at least those expected for some/all of spring:— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) March 3, 2023
7 D. Johnson
17 D. Bryant
47 A. James
66 L. Hatchett
90 E. Davis
Sounds like there won't be a lot of contact for CB Davon Banks this spring as he recovers from injury. S Vincent Nunley will be limited, too, but DeBoer says he will build up to more participation as spring goes along.— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) March 3, 2023
Kalen DeBoer says he believes UW can continue to achieve its goals in the Pac-12 Conference, but adds "we're going to end up in a good spot, no matter what this looks like."— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) March 3, 2023
DeBoer said Nate Kalepo, Matteo Mele, Julius Buelow and Geirean Hatchett are all expected to compete for the three interior starting positions along the OL this spring— Lars Hanson (@LarsHanson) March 3, 2023
When asked about Ryan Grubb's decision to stay despite interest from Texas A&M and Alabama, DeBoer emphasized the length of their relationship, but also said "he knows what he has here. I think (UW) is unique and special."— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) March 3, 2023