Vea, 6 feet 5 and 332 pounds, was a third-year sophomore last season and was eligible for early entry into the NFL draft because he had been in the UW program for three seasons.

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After losing several stars who elected for early entry into the NFL draft, the Washington football team got some good news Friday as the school confirmed defensive tackle Vita Vea is returning for his junior season.

Vea, 6 feet 5 and 332 pounds, was a third-year sophomore last season and was eligible for early entry into the NFL draft because he had been in the UW program for three seasons.

Vea was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last season and he was also second-team All-Academic Pac-12. He is an anthropology major with a 3.10 grade-point average.

He had 39 tackles and five sacks last season and was considered to be a potential second-round pick if he had entered the draft early. He had four tackles, including a sack, in the Huskies’ 24-7 loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31.

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In the week after the loss to Alabama, receiver John Ross III, safety Budda Baker, defensive lineman Elijah Qualls and cornerback Sidney Jones elected to enter the NFL draft after completing their junior seasons.

Vea is very nimble for his huge size, having also played running back in high school. He was also on the basketball team at Milpitas (Calif.) High School. With a solid junior season, he could make a significant move upward in his draft status.

The Huskies will have two defensive-line starters back next season, with Greg Gaines also expected to return as a fourth-year junior.

WSU recruit switches to UW

Hazen (Renton) High School defensive end Joe Tryon, a longtime Washington State commit, flipped his commitment to UW on Thursday night, his high-school coach Chris Bennett confirmed in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Tryon (6 feet 5, 230 pounds) is rated a three-star defensive end by Scout.com and had been verbally committed to WSU since last August. The Cougars were the first Pac-12 school to offer him a scholarship.

But according to Bennett, UW entered the mix when the Huskies offered Tryon a scholarship about a week ago. Bennett said the departure of Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salave’a’s departure was not the reason Tryon flipped his commitment.

“I think a big thing was that his sister goes to UW, and being able to be close to her, and his mom living here and him being able to see her without getting on a plane, that was a big factor too,” Bennett said. “The UW offer came in a little later than others.

“I don’t think he thought the chance would happen, but when it did, it was in the back of his head.”