Analysis: Where UW football improved in the first transfer portal window – and where more additions are needed

It’s adding by subtracting…then adding more.

After closing the 2022 season upwards with an 11-2 record and a No. 8 national ranking, Washington holds legitimate hopes for the college football playoff this fall. Quarterback Michael Bennix Jr., wide receivers like Roma Odonzi and Jalen McMillan, tackles Bralin Trice and Zion Topola-Vitoe, left tackle Troy Futano and defenseman Tuli Letuligasinua all courted the NFL draft to hang a banner (or two) inside Husky Stadium.

To do so, they would have to be better than a group that led the nation in passing, first downs, third down conversions and tackles for loss allowed; which finished the season with seven straight wins, sweeping away their arch-rivals; which went 7-0 inside Husky Stadium, with an average margin of victory of 22.9 points; That fell a tiebreaker just shy of an appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game in Kalen DeBoer’s debut season.

And to be better, they have to be more complete–handling huskies’ vulnerable holes. This means a secondary installation ranked 111y (out of 130 teams nationally) in opponent pass efficiency rating (145.8), 114y In passes passed (26), 117y in third down defense (44.51% completion) and 129y In passes defended per game (2.54).

Unsurprisingly, the Huskies have added seven scholarship defensive backs this offseason: Oklahoma State transfer, cornerback Jabbar Muhammad, Long Beach City College cornerback Thaddeus Dixon and five freshmen (four-star corners Caleb Pressley and Curly Reed, four-star safety Vincent Holmes, three-star cornerback Leroy Bryant and three-star safety Diesel Gordon).

But what else did they do?

And what else needs to be done?

The first of two off-season windows for players to enter the transfer portal without sacrificing their year of eligibility closed on Wednesday, with the second window following spring practice on May 1-15. The Huskies lost nine players in total to the gate, with seven potential contributors also added.

Upcoming football transfers

UW Football Outbound Transfers

The above should be categorized as a necessary drain – allowing reserves with limited playtime potential to find a more suitable destination, while (hopefully) reloading with more competitive and contributing depth. Of UW’s nine offseason departures, none were starters last season, and only Victor Corney, the senior offensive lineman, has started consistently at any point in his career (although he was surpassed by right-footed freshman Roger Rosengarten last fall). ).

Howard is, of course, a legitimate loss – especially given UW’s lack of center depth. But other than that, checkouts provide opportunities for immediate improvement.

And the additions serve specific purposes – Mohamed is expected to step into the starting corner role, Johnson and Ngata provide proven depth in the backfield following the departure of Wayne Taulapapa, Goforth is likely to step in for departing Cam Bright, Cuevas and Bernard to add playmaking potential this season and beyond, Durfee learned from Trice and Tupuola-Fetui before taking on a more significant role in 2024.

But the Huskies are likely not done yet. Not every FBS program can exceed 85 scholarships at any one time, and UW projects another 87 scholarship players with freshman enrollment this summer. This means that more players will have to move in every now and then to provide opportunities for more additions.

Assuming that happens—and it undoubtedly will—Washington may still be looking to improve on the following points.


This is the obvious thing. With Penix and Dylan Morris rookies on scholarship (and three-star Garfield quarterback EJ Caminong committed in the class of 2024), UW should add at least one scholarship signal caller this offseason. But this requires a balancing act.

The Huskies are looking for a quarterback with 3-4 seasons of eligibility remaining who is talented enough to one day be successful as a starter but also Ready to sit behind Penix this fall. This could be a tough sell.

However, UW can market its steady offense, respected mentors at Penix and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, and a relatively straightforward path to the starting spot in the following offseason.

Is it possible that 2023 five-star quarterback Jaden Rashad — who reportedly asked to be released from Florida and also has a UW offer — sees the upside in Seattle? Tuesday, 247 UW listed sports (which had just signed Pittsburgh High’s top target, four-star wide receiver Rasheed Williams) as one of three potential destinations, along with Arizona State and Cal.


Alex Cook is ineligible, leaving UW with a vacancy in an underperforming spot this offseason. And while the inconsistent Asa Turner returns, it comes with a precious little depth. The only other scholarship safeties at the University of Wisconsin are sophomores Vincent Nunley and Michael Estyn, freshman Tristan Dunn, and real freshmen Vincent Holmes and Diesel Gordon. none started at the collegiate level.

It would make sense, then, to add the effect of a safety tackle alongside Turner – similar to Mohamed at the corner back.

But Huskies are also optimistic about their unproven choices.

“Vince Nunley was a player I had very high expectations for this season, and I felt like I came out of camp that might have been our third or fourth safe,” UW’s co-defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell said last month. “For sure he would have played a lot of football for us. To lose him this season (injury) first… he will come back and he will be healthy.

“I’m really excited about Tristan Dunn [as well]. He has made great strides. very sporty. He is arguably one of the most talented athletes on the entire defensive side of the ball.”

defense line

UW showed improvement up front last fall, leading the Pac-12 in opposition yards per carry (3.52) and ranking third in both rushing defense (123.21 yards allowed per game) and sacks per game (2.85). Letuligasenoa, senior Ulumoo Ale, juniors Faatui Tuitele, Voi Tunuufi, Jacob Bandes, and sophomore Jayvon Parker all return as well.

So, no: this would not be classified as an acute need. But UW could still welcome a crippled defensive lineman.

Or develop one from within.

“We feel very strongly that he can be an excellent defensive tackle,” Morrell said of freshman Armon Parker, who missed the 2022 season with a torn ACL. “There’s no doubt about it. He just started running this past week for us. So it’s going to be exciting to have him during Spring Ball.”

Little honor: Placekicker, The Gambler

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