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Three More Huskies Declare for Draft

Troy Fautanu, Jalen McMillan, and Bralen Trice are moving on to the next phase of their career

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Edit: This article was updated to include Bralen Trice after he also declared for the draft tonight.

Yesterday, Washington WR Ja’Lynn Polk announced that he would be foregoing his remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. Today, two more offensive teammates (OL Troy Fautanu and WR Jalen McMillan) and one defensive one (ED Bralen Trice) joined him as all have announced that they’ve played their final game for the Huskies.

It has been a foregone conclusion for some time that Fautanu would be heading to the NFL. He was viewed as a mid-round candidate last offseason before opting to return along with the rest of Washington’s core with eligibility remaining. That decision paid off in more ways than one. Obviously, the Huskies saw additional success given they made the national championship game but Fautanu also saw his stock soar.

Fautanu started his Husky career playing a mix of left tackle and left guard. He made one start at guard last season once Jaxson Kirkland returned to the lineup before Kirkland instead shifted inside and Fautanu has been entrenched at left tackle ever since. The consensus though is that Fautanu will move inside in the NFL due to his shorter arms but he is widely viewed as the top interior lineman available in the draft. He is a 2-time all-Pac-12 1st team selection and gave up just 2 sacks in over 1,200 pass blocking snaps over the last 2 years according to Pro Football Focus. He is expected to end up somewhere in the back half of the 1st to early 2nd round.

There was more uncertainty about McMillan. Throughout the offseason plus during the first 2.5 games there was no doubt that Jalen would go pro and perhaps be drafted as high as the 2nd round. But then he injured his knee against Michigan State and had several failed attempts to return, sparking concern he would be shut down for the year. McMillan got healthy though just in time for the Pac-12 Championship game and had 20 catches for 222 yards and 2 TDs over Washington’s final 3 games. Showing off that production and return to health against 3 top-ten opponents likely helped Jalen’s stock rebound enough to make a departure worthwhile. He finishes his Husky career with 2,137 receiving yards and 17 TDs.

It will be very difficult for Washington to replace either player. That’s always the case for players who have a chance to be high NFL Draft picks but it’s still true for UW. We are still awaiting a decision from Roger Rosengarten but if he returns to school then it could make sense for him to move to LT to give UW a standout returner for Will Rogers’ blind spot. Washington should return both Giles Jackson and Germie Bernard, either of whom could potentially start in the slot. The Huskies have also been connected to receivers in the portal such as Oregon State’s Silas Bolden.

Bralen Trice was perhaps the least heralded of the three coming out of high school although he was nearly a four-star recruit. Then Husky coach Ikaika Malloe raised eyebrows when he said that Bralen Trice would be better than eventual 1st round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. It turns out the now-UCLA DC knew what he was talking about. Trice quickly became the star of Washington’s pass rush by leading the country in quarterback pressures each of the past two seasons and earning all-conference recognition each of those years.

There is thought that Trice won’t test at elite levels from at the NFL Combine and doesn’t have “freak” athleticism. Put on the tape though and Trice just finds a way to consistently end up in a quarterback’s lap and he should hear his name called by the mid-2nd round at the latest.

All three players deserve a tremendous thank you from Husky Nation. Each could have made this decision last offseason but chose to come back and had UW within one score of a potential national title halfway through the 4th quarter of the championship game. They each were standout players almost from the time they arrived on campus and stayed either as recruits or players through the transition from Chris Petersen to Jimmy Lake to Kalen DeBoer. Congratulations to them for earning the opportunity to realize their lifelong career dreams. We can’t wait to watch them on Sundays for the next decade.