Draft awaits for UW products

Former UW cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon could each be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday, with tight end Cade Otton and offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg likely to hear their names called this weekend as well.

None of them played for new UW head coach Kalen DeBoer.

But that doesn’t lessen their impact on the program — both in the past and future.

“I know I didn’t get the chance to coach them, but they’re just great people,” DeBoer said of UW’s draft class last week. “They come around the offices and they’ve been out on the field. I’m proud of who they are, even without really having a chance to impact them. I know they’re impacting this university.

“As a whole, this program is known for putting out guys, over and over, each and every year. It is a huge deal, because when we’re recruiting players want to know and see what the process has been like, what that production’s been as far as going to the NFL. They all have that dream.”

DeBoer has made a point this offseason of connecting with UW alumni, whether they’re about to be drafted or have already concluded NFL careers.

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One such alum didn’t have to travel far from one facility to the other.

“Will Dissly was just up here the other day, and it was fun getting to know him and other guys as well,” DeBoer said. “I love our alumni. They’re so proud of this program. I can’t wait to see these guys and root for them (in the NFL). I think our coaching staff is building some strong relationships with them. It’s been fun.”

A ‘ZTF’ update

UW junior EDGE rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui has participated in all 13 of UW’s practices this spring.

That, in itself, is cause for celebration.

“He’s improved,” EDGE coach Eric Schmidt said of the former All-American, who played in just five games last fall after tearing his Achilles tendon. “I think I said it the first day, ‘If we can get him to be out here 15 practices, he’s going to get better and better and get more confidence the more reps he has.’

“I think the pass rushing stuff is just natural with him. He’s a natural bender. He can contort his body in a lot of different ways. It’s special when you watch him sometimes, as far as being able to do some of those things. The run game stuff is starting to come along. He’s a little bit heavier. He’s about four or five pounds heavier than he was when we first started. He’s in that 250 range. I think he’ll probably end up playing around 255 when it’s all said and done.”