After Kalen DeBoer took over as the University of Washington football coach, 13 of Jimmy Lake’s players left the program before the Huskies played another game.
They either saw no future in DeBoer’s system, wanted out after a poor UW season, or had personal reasons — Jackson Sirmon and Cooper McDonald joined family members elsewhere — to leave Montlake.
With the transfer portal now reopened, Husky junior safety Cam Williams is the first to leave the program this week and the 14th departure overall since the coaching change, which confirmed reports of his departure on Saturday.
Williams was a complete mismatch with the new DeBoer hires and watched his first-team reps dwindle during spring and fall training. The former starter’s body language seemed to indicate he didn’t feel a part of the action.
With college football’s portal a clear reality everywhere, Williams won’t be the last husky to move on in search of more playing time or a better program.
In Oregon, where the Ducks have their own freshman coach in Dan Lanning, they’ve lost at least five players to the Portal in the past week, including wide receiver Dont’e Thornton, who scored a 46-yard touchdown pass caught The Ducks’ 37-34 loss to the University of Washington plus reserve quarterback Jay Butterfield.
California offensive guard Ben Coleman, who started in the Golden Bears’ 28-21 loss to UW, announced his move.
Likewise, Stanford safety man Jonathan McGill and linebacker Levani Damuni, who started in the Cardinal’s 40-22 setback against the Huskies in Seattle, have added their names to the portal, as has reserve offensive lineman Drake Metcalf.
The transfer portal doesn’t spare any college football program these days. Here are breakdowns of William’s time at Montlake and other UW players who have had limited roles since the DeBoer staff stepped in and may be considering their options:
After appearing in the first four games this season, the junior safety from Bakersfield, Calif. decided to sit out the remainder of this season despite the Huskies desperately needing secondary help. He asked about Redshirt, which meant a transfer was likely imminent. It wasn’t long ago that he caused a late-game fumble for a 31-24 overtime win over California in 2021, and after that he was brought in for a meeting with the media as one of the stalwarts of the night. A freshman in 2019, the 6-foot-tall, 207-pound Williams started in the first six games of his Husky career, which was crowned by a 28-14 win over USC in which he caught two passes. He played in 27 UW games and started 10. But now he’s gone.
He was the Huskies’ quarterback for two years and won 7 of 15 games before two things happened: the interim staff chose freshman Sam Huard in the 2021 Apple Cup, and DeBoer and his coaches brought in Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr. to take over in that one Quarterback for the Huskies this season. Morris has served as a backup for Penix and has appeared in seven games but only one where play is questionable. He’s gone from 363 pass attempts last year to just 16 this season. Known for his competitiveness, Morris from Puyallup, Washington appears determined to reclaim the No. 1 job once Penix goes to the NFL, and he could be the last man on the list running the transfer portal. He still has two seasons of eligibility.
For some reason, many of the Texans on the roster retired or ended their Montlake careers once the new coaching staff took over. Running backs Caleb Berry and Emeka Megwa made trades to Incarnate Word and Oklahoma, with Megwa joining the Sooners as a walk-on while edge rusher Cooper McDonald left for San Diego State. Running backs Jay’Veon Sunday and Aaron Dumas have seen limited or no action this season. And then there’s Curne. The Houston junior offensive tackle was a two-year returning starter who opened 16 straight games before the new offense was installed, and he was limited to a backup role and only three games this season. At 6ft 4 and 320 pounds, he may not be the body type DeBoer staff are looking for to provide quarterback protection. Both current starting devices, sophomore Troy Fautanu and redshirt newcomer Roger Rosengarten, are also eligible to play for several more seasons.
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He drew snaps in four games this season before DeBoer announced that the promising defensive tackle from Hawaii had been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. Peihopa’s expulsion involved a kind of disobedience to a coach, and the new staff didn’t want to accept that. So the 6-foot-3, 304-pound redshirt newcomer was shelved two months ago. He has made eight appearances in two seasons for the Huskies. It remains to be seen if he can mend his relationship with the DeBoer staff and continue his UW career, or if he will move on.
Likewise, this second linebacker from East Palo Alto, California, was recently suspended indefinitely for a code of conduct violation that was not disclosed. It seemed to coincide with his playing time continuing to decrease with the return of Edefuan Ulofoshio, although there is no indication that this was the case. Heimuli has played in 19 career Husky games, starting with two a year ago when Ulofoshio injured himself, but he faced the possibility of becoming a third-team linebacker and stalling his career. It was thought that when high school teammate and defensive tackle Noa Ngalu left the UW program after spring football, Heimuli might not be too far behind
This 6-foot-8, 311-pound Hawaiian student started as a left offense guard in the first five games of 2021 and appeared in 10 games overall, but hasn’t been given major responsibilities since. The new team has fielded Bülow in 10 games this season, but mostly on special teams. While he’s young, the starting tackles in front of him, Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten, are also young and Vic Curne remains in the mix.
The new staff brought Dumas as a transfer from New Mexico, where he led the Lobos as a freshman in 2021 with 658 yards, including 143 against Fresno State and DeBoer, in rushing. While he took most of the spring practice snaps, with most of the UW backs nursing injuries, he completely disappeared when fall camp started. While seven other defenders have carried the ball this season, Dumas has not appeared in any games. It’s possible he’s redshirting and trying to better align his game with the DeBoer/Grubb offense. The coaching staff only said that he was caught on the position in the competition.
The Seattle grantee appeared in just one game for the Jimmy Lake staff in 2021 and hasn’t seen any game action for the new coaches this fall. It’s not clear what Tinae held back for two different wands, whether he was injured or simply buried on the depth map. Anyway, he hasn’t made much progress in his two seasons at Montlake.
Running back from Waco, Texas, this redshirt freshman had caught everyone’s attention during spring 2021 football practice by taking tall strides, waving his fingers and drawing a genuinely negative reaction from the Husky defense , who made sure to vent her displeasure at his continued audacity. As the 21st season began, Sunday took his place behind four experienced runners and got limited playing time in four games, including the last three games on the schedule. He ran eight times for a modest 10 yards. When the new employees arrived, Sunday was moved even further back in the rotation. He performed lonely against Colorado this season, breaking up an encouraging 19-yard gain two weeks ago. However, he seems to like Seattle and will likely stay and try to make it work with the new regime.
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