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Jedd Fisch’s Outlook on the Transfer Portal for Washington

Washington Transfer Portal

We were able to learn a lot about what Washington has right now from its scrimmage on Saturday. But the depth concerns at the line of scrimmage remain a topic of conversation. It’s difficult to put together a full evaluation of individual players when the protection just isn’t what it should be on offense. Jedd Fisch said after Saturday’s practice that their goal is to have between 15 and 16 offensive linemen healthy to participate by fall camp in August. He also said that Washington is targeting players in the transfer portal at every position, looking for players who can come in to compete and make this team better. The Spring transfer portal window is open, and Fisch is actively looking to strengthen the roster.

Offensive Line Depth

Right now, Washington isn’t able to double up on reps offensively. It doesn’t have two full offensive lines such that the team can split fields and get things done twice as efficiently. During the scrimmage session on Saturday, there were only nine offensive linemen dressed. That included Kahlee Tafai, who was in a no-contact gold jersey for practice and was a limited participant. Those numbers are hardly enough to fill one offensive line rotation. Towards the end of the scrimmage, protections began to break down faster, and there were a couple of muffed exchanges from the center to the quarterback. 

During practice the Thursday prior, Washington hosted Portland State transfer interior offensive lineman D’Angalo Titialii on an official visit. He’s a Washington native and attended Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, WA. Fisch and staff offered the 6-2 320-pound offensive lineman following practice. Just a few hours later, he committed to the Huskies. Titialii had 30 career starts at Portland State that were mostly at guard. But last season, he started every game at center. Titialii played over 2,100 snaps in his four years at Portland State and has given up just four sacks in total. The former Viking was the Huskies’ first, and much-needed, addition from the transfer portal at offensive line.

Fisch said that Washington’s acquisition of players during the Spring transfer portal period might stretch out. The transfer portal is open for entry through April 30th, but signing players out of the portal can extend beyond that date. Fisch’s goal is to know exactly who his 85 scholarship players are by the middle of May. He’s told his team that, “In about four to six weeks, we’ll know who our team is for 2024.”

Rising Tides Lift All Ships

“I think college football is messed up, but we’re going to embrace what it is right now.” Fisch made it clear to us after practice that he doesn’t agree with what the landscape of college football looks like right now with respect to the transfer portal. “There’s no such thing as a one-day contract, except for college football, I guess.” Despite the difficulty of the landscape, Fisch and his staff are embracing it. 

The Washington head coach said, “We’re targeting every position, and we’re continuing to try to bring great talent here.” He then explained what he tells his players with regard to competing for their positions. “Our job is to try to find people that can replace you, and your job is to be irreplaceable.” 

This mantra has been evident since day one of the Fisch tenure at Washington. It started with bringing transfer portal quarterback Demond Williams Jr. with him to Washington, despite the Huskies already having a four-star in the class of 2024 in Dermaricus Davis. Their competition has been making both quarterbacks better. This is also seen in the defensive backs room where Arizona transfer Ephesians Prysock has helped elevate the cornerbacks’ play this Spring. Jordan Shaw has done the same at the STAR position and with the safeties. At wide receiver, it’s a similar story. Jeremiah Hunter was the leading receiver at California in each of the last two seasons. We’ve seen that receiver room play to a high level thus far in Spring. 

Washington’s Transfer Portal Approach

Fisch said, “We understand that’s the world we’re living in.” He’s embracing the challenging landscape of college football right now.  He also said, “I do know that a lot of players want to be a part of this football team.” The culture he’s building in Seattle is one of high energy and competition in a professional atmosphere. We’ve already seen several significant NFL names attend practice and speak to the team. Those names include Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Jack Del Rio, and John Lynch.

The head coach expects his approach to work out for the Huskies. “Getting players is not the problem, it’s getting the right players that fit our culture… and our roster.” Washington is going to use the transfer portal to fill gaps where it’s needed, as well as strengthen position groups across the entire roster. Expect the next few weeks to be significant for Washington in its quest to build a program to compete in the Big Ten this fall.

 

Main Image courtesy: Nick Lemkau

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