The Huskies released their depth chart this morning heading into Saturday’s season opener and it mostly falls with what was expected except for a shake up along the offensive line.
UW's Boise State week depth chart is here: pic.twitter.com/qRzpdTKej6— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) August 28, 2023
Washington’s biggest hole entering the season was the interior of the offensive line after the starters at both guard spots and center all graduated. Throughout the spring and during the majority of the fall we saw those replacements coming from veterans Nate Kalepo, Julius Buelow, and Matteo Mele. During the last practices available to the media there were some signs though that Parker Brailsford was forcing himself into playing time. Well, it happened.
Brailsford is listed as the starter at right guard despite being a 6’2, 275 lb redshirt freshman. Kalepo and Buelow are listed as co-starters at left guard and we will have to wait until Saturday to see which one takes the opening snaps and whether there will be any kind of rotation at the position.
Along the rest of the offensive line, the starters on the tackles (Troy Fatutanu, Roger Rosengarten) plus the center (Matteo Mele) went unchanged. The youth movement is evident in the 2nd level of the depth chart though with Jalen Klemm, Samuel Peacock, and both Hatchett brothers cracking it despite combining for 0 snaps so far.
The running back position also had some intrigue after presumed starter Cam Davis was lost to the season with an injury but as expected, Mississippi State transfer Dillon Johnson will take over in his place. Will Nixon had a strong fall camp and is listed as the backup entering week one. That means Richard Newton, Daniyel Ngata, and Sam Adams II slot in as 3-5 in some order.
There had been talk of WR Giles Jackson potentially redshirting and it seems he for sure won’t be playing at the beginning of the season since he isn’t on the 2-deep. In his place is true freshman Taeshaun Lyons who is one of only two true freshman to make the list (Landon Hatchett at C). He’s joined in the backup spots by Germie Bernard and Denzel Boston, the latter of whom was one of the stars of August practices.
On defense, Ulumoo Ale did in fact supplant Faatui Tuitele in the middle of the Husky line after Tuitele started all of last season. Expect Tuitele and Jacob Bandes to still be heavy parts of the rotation as the backups. The edge starting spots (Trice and ZTF) are no surprise but senior Sekai Asoau-Afoa winning a backup position is a slight surprise but potentially speaks to Zach Durfee still not being granted a waiver to play right away.
Every other starting spot is as expected and the backups are also for the most part as expected. Linebacker is the group of 4 players with by far the most experience. JUCO transfer Thad Dixon and Davon Banks were mentioned as the next pair behind Muhammad and Jackson at corner and that holds true. The safety/Husky spot was the only one with some uncertainty and Tristan Dunn, Makell Esteen, and Kam Fabiculanan win those jobs.
On special teams, Jack McAllister will continue as the punter while Grady Gross replaces Peyton Henry at placekicker. Germie Bernard and Daniyel Ngata will handle kickoff returns in Giles Jackson’s absence and it will be exciting to see Jalen McMillan taking back punts.
Washington’s season begins on Saturday when they host Boise State at 12:30p on ABC.