UW’s wide receiver depth continues to dwindle.
Redshirt junior wideouts Austin Osborne and Marquis Spiker have informed the Washington coaching staff of their decision to enter the transfer portal — Osborne’s father, Jim Osborne, said Friday. He declined to comment further on their decision.
By late Friday morning, Osborne and Spiker’s names had been removed from UW’s online roster.
“I’ve made the most amazing memories here and have met so many great people. I will cherish those things forever,” Osborne said in a tweet confirming his departure. “With that being said, I will be entering the transfer portal as a graduate transfer with three years of eligibility remaining. Thank you again Husky Nation.”
Added Spiker, in a separate tweet to Husky Nation: “Thank you for making Seattle my home for the past three years. I’ve grown both as a player and as a person in my time here. I’d like to thank Coach (Chris Petersen) and Coach (Keith Bhonapha) for recruiting me. Special thanks to Coach (Jimmy) Lake and Coach (Junior) Adams for bringing out the best of me every day. With that being said, I have decided to transfer with 3 years of eligibility remaining.”
Three other former Husky wide receivers — Puka Nacua (BYU), Ty Jones (Fresno State) and Jordan Chin (Sacramento State) — previously transferred this offseason as well.
A Wildomar, California, native, Spiker recorded just three catches for 67 yards in 10 career games at UW — despite setting the California state record with 72 career receiving touchdowns at Murrieta High School in 2017. When he signed with Washington in 2018, Spiker was ranked as a four-star recruit, the No. 12 wide receiver and the No. 80 player nationally by 247Sports.com. His offer list also included Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Michigan, Mizzou, Oregon, USC, Utah, Washington State and more.
Likewise, Osborne struggled to find the field at UW — making just one catch in five career games. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, was ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 41 wideout in the 2018 class by 247Sports. He chose the Huskies over scholarship offers from Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Duke, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and more.
In UW’s pandemic-shortened 2020 season, a pair of four-star true freshmen — Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan — passed Spiker and Osborne on the depth chart, which may have left them little choice but to look for other options.
“I know they’re gaining confidence, and I know I’m looking forward to them raising their game to another level,” UW coach Jimmy Lake said of Odunze and McMillan late last season. “Those are two exciting young players that, as long as they continue to work, can be big-time guys for us.”
It’s also worth noting that UW’s 27.8 pass attempts per game last season ranked 10th in the Pac-12 and 99th nationally — with the Huskies’ leading pass-catcher being a tight end (Cade Otton), not a wide receiver. So this exodus may also have something to do with the offense itself. After a season-opening 27-21 win over Oregon State last season, in which UW ran the ball 51 times to go along with 24 passes, Lake memorably wore a hat featuring four words printed in bold black type: RUN THE DAMN BALL.
Without Spiker, Osborne, Nacua, Jones and Chin, UW is left with six scholarship wide receivers as spring practices commence next week: senior Terrell Bynum, Texas Tech sophomore transfer Ja’Lynn Polk, sophomore Taj Davis and redshirt freshmen Odunze, McMillan and Sawyer Racanelli. Four-star freshman Jabez Tinae will join the fray this summer as well.
Of that group, only Bynum has entered the end zone in his Husky career — though Polk also produced 28 catches, 264 receiving yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman at Texas Tech in 2020. Bynum, Odunze, McMillan and Tinae were all considered four-star recruits.
Besides the five wide receivers, quarterbacks Jacob Sirmon (Central Michigan) and Ethan Garbers (UCLA) and safety Brandon McKinney also entered the transfer portal this offseason. The Huskies subsequently welcomed four transfers as well: Polk, Oklahoma defensive back Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles, Texas A&M outside linebacker Jeremiah Martin and Colorado State quarterback Patrick O’Brien.
In 2021, UW’s transfer portal activity approaches the national norm. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported in February that Power Five programs had an average of 8.5 players in the portal. To this point, the Huskies have had a total of eight (if you don’t count freshman walk-on Isaiah Strong as well).
Meanwhile, with three seasons of eligibility remaining, Osborne and Spiker are hoping their next stop sticks.