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Washington’s Quarterback Problem

Washington has a quarterback problem. At the moment, there is just one scholarship quarterback on the roster. It’s Demond Williams Jr., a class of 2024 early enrollee who just transferred into the program. Jedd Fisch’s roster currently has two other quarterbacks, both walk-ons. Washington landed Williams Jr. on Sunday, along with three other transfers from Arizona. The Huskies will have to replace up to 30 players from its National Championship depth chart. Quarterbacks are just one piece of the puzzle, but possibly the most important.

Kalen DeBoer’s Quarterbacks

Michael Penix Jr. played his last game in purple and gold on Monday, January 8th in the National Championship Game. He has a bright future in the NFL, so Washington knew it would have a competition in the offseason at the position. Before the title game, backup Dylan Morris entered his name in the transfer portal on December 11th. That was the same day it was announced that Washington would be hosting an official visit for Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers. Morris’ future with the program was shaping up to be in the backup role again, and he transferred out.

Rogers announced his commitment to the Huskies on December 15th. It was a big move from the former Mississippi State quarterback. He tossed for over 12,000 yards in his career in Starkville with 94 touchdown passes. Rogers looked to be a fantastic fit in Kalen DeBoer’s offense in Seattle. 

But just four days after the championship game, DeBoer was gone. Things on the roster began to take a major turn. Rogers re-entered the transfer portal on January 12th. His decommitment from Washington was one of the first dominos of decommitments from the school, and the first from a quarterback.

Quarterback Dominos

In addition to Rogers entering his name back in the transfer portal, former San Diego State quarterback and Huskies reserve William Haskell joined him that same day. The class of 2021 Arizona native was someone DeBoer’s staff recruited through the transfer portal in 2023.

Two days later, the Huskies lost one of their perceived quarterbacks of the future. Austin Mack entered the transfer portal on January 14th. The 6’-6” quarterback from California was the eighth-ranked passer in the class of 2023. DeBoer and staff recruited him to Washington, and he was poised to be the future of that room. Instead, he followed DeBoer’s staff to Alabama in the transfer portal. That day also saw the decommittment of Jackson Kollock, a four-star quarterback in the class of 2025. The effect that DeBoer’s departure had on the current roster was significant, and it started trickling down into high school commitments.

January 14th was also the day that Fisch was brought in as the next head coach of Washington football. After he held a team meeting with his former program on that Sunday afternoon, Fisch hopped on a jet and flew to Seattle to meet his new program. He’d have a lot of roster reconstruction to get working on.

Jedd Fisch’s Roster Reconstruction

Fisch was formally introduced on Tuesday the 16th, and he spoke about the importance of reconstructing this Huskies roster. He also spoke about how he’d recruit to build another championship contender. However, his words did not entirely halt the transfer portal entries. A day later, senior reserve quarterback Alex Johnson entered the transfer portal. The community college transfer spent only the 2023 season with Washington. To this point, Washington had now lost seven quarterbacks. It included nearly everyone from last season’s starter to a 2025 recruit. The active roster now had just one scholarship quarterback and two walk-ons.

Fisch’s first wave of transfer portal additions did include a quarterback. He was able to land a former Arizona early enrollee in Williams Jr. The class of 2024 quarterback was an Elite 11 Finalist and the quarterback for the Army All-American Game in January. The Arizona native was a four-star recruit out of high school. His commitment to Washington was made on Sunday, January 21st. 

However, the problem is that the Huskies’ lone remaining scholarship quarterback on the active roster was also a class of 2024 early enrollee. Dermaricus Davis was in the same recruiting cycle as Williams and was also a four-star. Williams’ entrance to the program suggests that the staff is committing to him as its future quarterback. The history that Fisch had with Williams in Arizona helps strengthen the cause. Davis entered the transfer portal the following day.

Washington’s Quarterback Problem

It’s back to square one, of sorts. Washington has three quarterbacks on its roster as of this writing. Williams is the only one on scholarship. Walk-ons Camdyn Stiegeler and Teddy Purcell, a sophomore and junior, respectively, fill out the rest of the room. Eight quarterbacks from the Huskies roster have either entered the transfer portal, decommitted, or entered the NFL Draft. It’s not a great situation, but one that often comes with the territory of a coaching staff overhaul. Fisch landed a talented freshman in Williams, but there’s more work to be done this Spring. The transfer portal re-opens for undergraduate entry on April 15th.

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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