Erik Kohler, a two-year starter on Washington’s offensive line, has taken a medical retirement.
“My body just couldn’t do it any more,” Kohler told The Seattle Times on Thursday.
As a redshirt junior, Kohler appeared in five games for UW in 2013, including two starts at left guard. He started five games as a true freshman for the Huskies in 2010 and had a streak of 20 consecutive starts from 2010 to 2012, mostly at right tackle, before a series of injuries derailed his career.
He will remain on scholarship and plans to finish his UW undergraduate degree later this year, but he won’t count against the NCAA limit of 85 scholarships.
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“My body is definitely happier (now),” he said. “But I’ve been playing football since my freshman year in high school, and I’ve been an athlete all my life, and there isn’t really anything that can prepare you for this.”
Kohler, listed at 6 feet 4, 294 pounds, was considered one of the nation’s top five high-school guards when he came out of Oaks Christian High (Calif.) in the class of 2010. He chose UW over Notre Dame and arrived in Seattle — along with touted quarterback Nick Montana, an Oaks Christian teammate who transferred after the 2011 season — with much fanfare.
Another offensive lineman from the Huskies’ 2010 class, Colin Porter of Bothell High School, also was forced into retirement by injuries. Porter announced before the 2012 season that he could no longer play because of degenerative arthritis in both shoulders. Porter started six games as a true freshman in 2010 and every game in 2011.