The name “Sirmon” has become synonymous with Washington football.
Gary Sirmon played at UW in the early ‘60s. His son, Peter Sirmon — the defensive coordinator at Cal — assisted with the Husky linebackers under Steve Sarkisian in 2012-13. Two of Gary’s grandkids, linebacker Jackson Sirmon and quarterback Jacob Sirmon, signed with Washington in 2018 — though Jacob announced a transfer to Central Michigan in December.
A Sirmon will participate in UW’s impending quarterback competition nonetheless.
On Thursday, Camden Sirmon — Jacob and Jackson’s cousin, who had previously committed to Montana — announced he has accepted a preferred walk-on spot at UW instead.
“I’ve been living in Washington all my life. I’ve been a Husky fan since day one,” Camden Sirmon said Friday. “So that’s a place I’d like to be. But ultimately this came down to how Washington recruited me. They made me feel wanted. They made me feel like I had a sense of purpose to go there.”
And last summer, Sirmon had a sense of purpose to leave. After the fall football season in Washington was pushed to the spring, Camden — a two-star quarterback who helped Wenatchee High School to a Big Nine Conference championship in 2019 — moved to Montana to salvage his senior season. He settled at Sentinel High School in Missoula, Montana, and led the Spartans to an undefeated 10-0 record and a Class AA state title — earning Montana State AA Offensive MVP honors along the way. He completed 65.3% of his passes and threw for 949 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, according to MaxPreps, while adding 847 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores as well.
In doing so, he also earned the attention of his home-state Huskies.
“(Moving) was pretty difficult at first,” he said. “But in terms of how it went, the reason I’m getting this opportunity is because I am here. Without my senior year film, I probably wouldn’t be having this opportunity at all. So I’m really thankful to the state of Montana that they were playing and the school I went to, my coaches and my teammates. They were great guys, and we were very successful.”
So successful, in fact, that Camden earned an offer and committed to Montana — where his brother, Cy Sirmon, had just wrapped up his college career. But, when the NCAA decided to extend scholarship limits to seniors for an extra season in 2021, Montana no longer had the money to offer the scholarship to Camden — making him, basically, a preferred walk-on by default.
UW quality-control analyst Payton McCollum and offensive coordinator John Donovan made contact shortly before Christmas — and Camden began to consider a sort of homecoming with the Huskies.
“I still wasn’t feeling quite comfortable with uprooting from Montana and leaving,” Camden Sirmon said. “So (McCollum and Donovan) got (head coach Jimmy) Lake on the phone and he talked to me a little bit. After I had conversations with him, I kept in communication, and eventually I knew it was the right move.”
Plus, Camden was in communication with more than the Husky coaching staff. Unsurprisingly, he also consulted cousins Jackson and Jacob Sirmon — with whom he says he’s “really close.”
“I talked to Jackson quite a bit because he’s still there obviously, and I talked to Jacob a little bit because he was there in the quarterback room. He experienced it,” Camden Sirmon said. “They had nothing but positive things to say about the university, about the football program. So I felt comfortable on that end of things.
“Obviously Jacob left … but he wanted to play, and he didn’t think he was going to get the opportunity with the offense they run. But he had nothing negative to say about the program.”
Now, Camden Sirmon will step into a program with three scholarship quarterbacks — graduate transfer Patrick O’Brien, redshirt sophomore/returning starter Dylan Morris and five-star freshman Sam Huard — after Jacob Sirmon and freshman Ethan Garbers (UCLA) transferred this offseason and graduate student Kevin Thomson opted for the NFL draft.
Surrounded by more prized prospects, he’ll work to earn respect — and hopefully, provide a different element to the offense.
“Just like anything, you’re going to have to work for it,” Camden Sirmon said. “And as a walk-on, you’re going to have to work for it even a little bit more. But I’m pretty used to that in life. I’m not afraid of any competition, and I’m going to do my best and give it my all. And whatever happens, happens.
“I was talking to coach Donovan a little bit and I think they want to expand the offense and use the quarterback in the run game. That’s definitely different from what we’ve seen from Husky offenses in the last couple years. So I think my skill set, that dual-threat ability, is going to add to that quarterback room.”
And undoubtedly, Camden Sirmon could have opted for more direct paths to playing time. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback was offered scholarships by Carroll College, Central Washington, the Colorado School of Mines, Columbia and Montana Tech. But, according to Camden, “I’ve always had in my mind that I wanted to see myself compete at the highest level I possibly could.”
Which meant a return to Montlake — where, just maybe, he’ll make his own name.
“Obviously it’s your home state school, and I’ve always been a Husky fan over a Coug fan,” Camden Sirmon said. “My uncle Peter was a defensive coach there under Sarkisian. So I remember going to the games and running around on the field after and hanging out there. Then my brother (Cy) was recruited by them, so I’d go in the recruit seats and watch the games.
“I experienced a lot of Husky football growing up, so it’s exciting to finally be a part of it.”