Don’t forget about Terrell Bynum.
For some, that may be easier said than done — considering Washington touts three talented redshirt freshman wide receivers (Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Sawyer Racanelli) and two incoming transfers (Ja’Lynn Polk and June arrival Giles Jackson). It can be tempting to fixate on the new toys and forget about the senior.
But Bynum — a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Long Beach, California — demonstrated his considerable value Monday. In UW’s eighth practice of the spring, the fifth-year senior hauled in three touchdown passes — a 20-yard seam from Dylan Morris in a 7-on-7 drill, a 10-yard cross in a tight window from Patrick O’Brien and a gorgeous 29-yard connection down the sideline on a perfect pass from Morris over the outstretched arm of safety Julius Irvin.
Odunze and McMillan each caught short touchdowns as well.
Through two-plus weeks and eight practices, Bynum, Odunze and McMillan have worked consistently with the starters. But Racanelli in particular continues to stack positive plays. On Monday, the 6-2, 210-pounder from Brush Prairie snatched a fluttering popup from freshman quarterback Sam Huard over his shoulder for an impressive 17-yard score. Racanelli may lack the explosive athleticism of Odunze and McMillan, but he has proved the most consistent pass-catcher in the wide-receiver corps.
Come September, it’ll be interesting to see which Washington wide receivers — with Bynum, Odunze, McMillan, Racanelli, Polk, Jackson, etc., all in the running — ultimately earn the majority of reps.
Here are some other observations from Monday’s practice.
The outside linebacker shuffle
UW second-team All-American outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui missed his second consecutive practice after injuring his left leg/ankle in a scrimmage drill Friday. His fellow starter, sixth-year senior Ryan Bowman, was a full participant Monday after not attending Saturday’s scrimmage for an unspecified reason.
The same can’t be said for redshirt freshman Sav’ell Smalls, who watched Monday’s practice without pads or a helmet and did not participate.
Without Tupuola-Fetui and Smalls, UW’s outside linebacker starters were Bowman and redshirt freshman Cooper McDonald — with senior Jeremiah Martin and sophomore Bralen Trice working in with the top group as well.
Former UW outside linebacker Laiatu Latu, who was forced to medically retire due to a neck injury this offseason, attended practice as well. It’s the first time we’ve seen Latu, who will remain with the program as a student assistant, on the sideline.
Elsewhere on the injury front, junior cornerback Trent McDuffie participated in individual drills but sat out the scrimmage sessions for the third consecutive practice — allowing sophomore walk-on Mishael Powell to work with the starters opposite junior Kyler Gordon.
Starting right tackle Victor Curne, who appeared to suffer a minor injury during practice a week ago, also was limited. Junior Matteo Mele took the first-team reps at right tackle in his place.
Junior running back Richard Newton appeared limited with a minor injury. Sophomore Cameron Davis and senior Kamari Pleasant were the first-team running backs, while senior Sean McGrew worked with the second team.
Safety Alex Cook and tight end Mason West sat out practice. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Gaard Memmelaar, who had sat out the last couple practices, returned to the field.
The quarterback competition
Technically, UW is entrenched in a quarterback competition this spring. But through eight practices, Morris has received the entirety of the first-team reps, with O’Brien working with the second team and Huard leading the third team.
And, from what we’ve seen, that pecking order makes sense. Morris — a redshirt sophomore and the returning starter — threw a pair of touchdown passes to Bynum on Monday and looked both accurate and comfortable, while occasionally escaping the pocket and extending plays.
Morris did make one rather large mistake, however, attempting to force a ball up the middle that instead was intercepted by inside linebacker Daniel Heimuli on the shadow of the goal line.
O’Brien threw a pair of touchdown passes as well, the most impressive being a 10-yard out to tight end Devin Culp in tight coverage. The 6-4, 265-pound Culp has turned in consecutive promising practices as he vies to be UW’s second tight end alongside Cade Otton. Sophomore Quentin Moore and redshirt freshman Mark Redman are both pushing for playing time at tight end as well.
Huard also threw two TDs, to Racanelli and Odunze, but has generally been more erratic both with his accuracy and decision-making as the early enrollee adjusts to a more complex playbook and more competitive defenses.
- As they have been throughout April, Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon operated as UW’s starting inside linebackers — though sophomore Alphonzo Tuputala also got a few reps in Sirmon’s spot. The 6-3, 240-pound Sirmon turned in one of the defensive plays of the day, blitzing up the middle to sack Morris on third-and-goal.
- As UW continues to experiment with different secondary starters, Cameron Williams and Asa Turner were the starting safeties, while Brendan Radley-Hiles took snaps as the starting nickel.
- Redshirt freshman Jacobe Covington, who has been moved to safety this spring, took some snaps at cornerback. That’s something to keep an eye on.
- UW senior kicker Peyton Henry connected on all four field-goal tries, with a long of 41 yards. Junior Tim Horn went 2 for 3, connecting from 35 and 37 yards but missing from 41.
- Odunze was the team’s primary punt returner. Expect Odunze and McDuffie to compete for that job this fall.