Senior defensive end Josh Shirley, a former high-school All-American, has left the Washington football program.
Shirley would like to play his senior season closer to his native Southern California, a source told The Seattle Times.
Reached by phone, Shirley declined to comment.
Shirley had 18 sacks in three seasons with the Huskies, including a career-best 8.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He started three games in 2012, registering 6.5 sacks.
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As a reserve defensive end last year, Shirley was part of the Huskies’ special pass-rushing package called “Jetsons.” All three of his sacks in 2013 came in one game, at Illinois. He finished the season with 13 tackles in 12 games. He missed one game with an injury.
One of the nation’s top linebacker recruits at Kaiser High in Fontana, Calif., Shirley signed with UCLA but never played for the Bruins after being dismissed by then-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel in summer 2010, in the same incident that led to the dismissal of receiver Paul Richardson, the Seahawks’ second-round draft pick in May. The players had initially been charged with suspicion of felony theft, but later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“What had happened,” Shirley told The Seattle Times last fall, “was not in my character.”
Former UW coach Steve Sarkisian said last year that Shirley had been “amazing” in his time with the Huskies.
“He’s been a good student, he’s been great in the community, he’s been a good teammate,” Sarkisian said then. “I couldn’t ask for more than what he’s brought.”
Shirley was an honorable-mention academic selection in the Pac-12 last year.
UW confirmed Shirley’s departure Wednesday, and announced that sophomore offensive lineman Taylor Hindy would also seek a transfer. Hindy, from West Hills, Calif., appeared in two games for UW last season, in blowout victories over Idaho State and Colorado. He redshirted in 2012.
The departures of Shirley and Hindy leave the Huskies with 84 scholarship players — one under the NCAA limit of 85 — with just more than a month until the start of coach Chris Petersen’s first UW training camp on Aug. 4.
Jared Hilbers, an offensive lineman from Beaverton, Ore., is the latest recruit to make a verbal commitment to the Huskies.
Hilbers, 6 feet 7 and 275 pounds, is rated as a three-star recruit by Scout.com. He is the fourth recruit to commit to the Huskies the past two weeks, joining long snapper AJ Carty (Anaheim, Calif.), wide receiver Isaiah Renfro (Chatsworth, Calif.) and tight end Michael Neal (Etiwanda, Calif.).
The Huskies have three other known recruits committed for the Class of 2015: quarterback Jake Browning of Folsom, Calif., O’Dea running back Myles Gaskin and Wenatchee offensive lineman Trey Adams.
• The start time for the Huskies’ Aug. 30 season opener at Hawaii has been moved from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pacific (4:30 p.m. in Hawaii) for a TV broadcast on CBS Sports Net.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364
On Twitter: @a_jude