UW's preseason-All-American left tackle and potential first-round pick appears on track to return for the season opener against Auburn.
Once again, Trey Adams is starting to impose himself along the Washington offensive line.
Slowly eased back into the mix for the first 10 days of practice, the Huskies’ senior standout took every snap at left tackle during team periods on Tuesday during Day 11 of fall camp, his biggest step yet in his return from major knee surgery last October.
“He brings a different energy,” junior offensive lineman Henry Roberts said Tuesday. “Today we were doing a drill and I was at left guard and he was at left tackle, and I was setting someone and he came in and just blasted him. I was like, ‘Holy crap! Trey’s back!’ It’s so good to have him back.
“In spring ball, he was coaching me up and coaching everyone from off the field. Now that he’s on the field, he brings a bigger presence. When you know you’re going into a bar fight with Trey Adams, you feel a lot more comfortable.”
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Adams, the 6-foot-8, 316-pound senior from Wenatchee, was named a Sports Illustrated preseason first-team All-American on Wednesday (as was UW safety Taylor Rapp). Earlier Wednesday, ESPN’s Todd McShay listed Adams as his No. 15 prospect for the 2019 NFL draft.
At the start of camp, Adams said his goal was to be able to play in the season opener when the No. 6 Huskies travel to Atlanta to play No. 10 Auburn. Midway through camp, he appears closer to reaching that goal.
“We’re bringing him along slowly but surely, and he continues to make progress,” offensive line coach Scott Huff said. “He’s got to continue to gain confidence and I think he took a big step in that direction today in getting back and just getting out there in 2-minute drill and some of those things.
“I think he’s looking good. I’m happy with the progress he’s made. We’ve got to be smart with him and build him back up, but so far so good.”
Along the offensive line, Jaxson Kirkland has been the biggest revelation of camp.
For the last handful of practices, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound redshirt freshman from Portland has been splitting time at right guard with senior Matt James for the No. 1 offense.
“He’s doing a good job,” Huff said. “He’s picking it up quick. He’s done a good job with his feet. He’s playing physical. He’s not scared to jump in your face and he’ll mix it up. That’s a huge part of the game. He’s a big ol’ joker — he’s 6-7, 315 pounds or whatever. He’s making mistakes and those are good rookie mistakes. The encouraging thing is when he makes a mistake he typically doesn’t make it twice. And that’s the sign of progress. I think where he’s at.”
Kirkland is the son of former UW lineman Dean Kirkland, a captain and starting guard on the Huskies’ 1990 Pac-10 championship team that defeated Iowa in the Rose Bowl. Jaxson was able to switch jersey numbers this offseason and is now wearing the No. 51 his father wore at UW.
“Jaxson’s done a great job since he’s been here and it made perfect sense,” Huff said. “I mean, why wouldn’t you want to give a guy his dad’s number? That’s pretty cool and I know Dean will be fired up to see him run out that tunnel with that number on.”
Roberts, a junior from Bellevue, filled in at left tackle during spring ball, and he’s play both positions on the left side of the line during fall camp.
Part of that owes to an unknown injury to sophomore Luke Wattenberg — the No. 1 left guard coming into camp — and part of that is Huff’s plan to develop versatile linemen.
Roberts’ role could as the sixth man on the line this season. He looks like a capable starter able to fill in at various positions when needed.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens,” Roberts said, “but right now whatever Coach Huff does I’m just happy to be here in such a great setting with a great coaching staff.”
Senior Jesse Sosebee, a part-time starting guard last year, has also played multiple positions in camp, and appears to be settling in as the No. 2 center.
“Right now we’re just trying to move guys around,” Huff said. “There certainly comes a point where you want to get guy settled in and let them start playing together and make mistakes together and fix things together. That’s coming close, but we’re not quite at that point. But I think we’re making good progress with a lot of those guys.”