Much has been said and written about Washington’s wide receivers.
But the tight ends can catch it, too.
Juniors Jack Westover and Devin Culp did plenty of that in UW’s third practice of preseason camp, on a sunny Saturday inside Husky Stadium. Westover — a 6-foot-3, 245-pound former walk-on from Bellevue — got loose in the secondary and outran linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala for a 45-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback Dylan Morris. He also hauled in a floater from redshirt freshman Sam Huard and tiptoed out of bounds for a 46-yard gain. Culp, meanwhile, kicked off Saturday’s proceedings by snaring a Morris pass up the seam in a tight window behind safety Julius Irvin.
Without the services of departed standout Cade Otton (plus Mark Redman, who transferred to San Diego State), UW touts just five scholarship tight ends — Westover, Culp, sophomore Quentin Moore, redshirt freshman Caden Jumper and true freshman Ryan Otton (who has watched the past two practices with an apparent injury). And yet, there’s some intriguing talent here to be utilized.
As for the players delivering passes, Morris took the majority of the first-team reps Saturday — as UW’s three scholarship quarterbacks take turns with the starters. The 6-0, 197-pound sophomore and returning starter threw the only two touchdown passes of the day, locating Westover for the aforementioned score before lofting a deep ball that freshman wideout Denzel Boston hauled in behind safety Cameron Williams for a 75-yard touchdown (while working with the third team).
Huard, who took most of the second-team reps, struggled to match his form from an impressive Friday — surrendering the day’s lone interception, on a crossing route safety Julius Irvin undercut to easily nab in front of wide receiver Giles Jackson. Huard later threw near-interceptions to linebacker Kristopher Moll and edge Zion Tupuola-Fetui on back-to-back plays. (Junior Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr., meanwhile, took the least scrimmage snaps — but is due for an uptick in reps Sunday.)
Speaking of Tupuola-Fetui, the 6-4, 249-pound edge continues to have an encouraging camp — recording a sack of Huard Saturday before tossing right tackle Roger Rosengarten to the side on a following play. ZTF also busted into the backfield to stone running back Sam Adams II for a tackle for loss, before shaking his head in earned defiance. The pass-rusher from Pearl City, Hawaii, has looked plenty explosive thus far.
An offensive line shuffle
Saturday’s practice started with the same first-team offensive line UW has utilized all week — left tackle Jaxson Kirkland, left guard Troy Fautanu, center Corey Luciano, right guard Henry Bainivalu and right tackle Roger Rosengarten.
It didn’t last long.
Less than halfway through practice, Kirkland — a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer — walked off the field flanked by a couple of trainers, without having suffered any obvious injury. The 6-7, 340-pounder walked on his own power without any noticeable limp and did not return, perhaps as a precautionary measure. But given the sixth-year senior’s recent ankle surgery, it’s something worth monitoring when UW returns to practice Sunday.
Without Kirkland, sophomore Julius Buelow took most of the first-team reps at left tackle. UW also tested a lineup that moved Fautanu from left guard to left tackle and inserted sophomore Nate Kalepo as the starting right guard.
- Sophomore wide receiver Taj Davis had a redemptive day, failing to haul in a Huard deep ball for a diving touchdown before climbing the ladder to snare a jump ball in front of a defensive back for a sizable gain.
- UC Davis transfer cornerback Jordan Perryman continues to impress, jamming his arms into Jackson’s catch radius to prevent a long completion along the sideline. The 6-0, 202-pound Perryman looks like a formidable starter in the secondary.
- Pitt transfer Cam Bright and sophomore Alphonzo Tuputala continue to take the most starting reps at linebacker, with Moll and sophomore Carson Bruener next in line. Sophomore Daniel Heimuli took sporadic reps with the second unit Saturday as well.
- Redshirt freshman edge Maurice Heims was credited with a sack of Huard, while sophomore Sav’ell Smalls burst around the edge for a tackle for loss of running back Will Nixon. Bralen Trice, Jeremiah Martin and Tupuola-Fetui seem established as edge contributors, while Smalls and Heims are competing for reserve reps as well.
- Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kuao Peihopa earned a cheer from the defense as he won a rep for a sack in a one-on-one drill. Peihopa and sophomore Voi Tunuufi seem primed to contribute this fall, whether as starters or rotational players.
- Though he’s expected to miss at least half of the season with an offseason injury, junior linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio attended Saturday’s practice and coached walk-on edge Milton Hopkins Jr. through a special teams drill.
- A scout from the Washington Commanders attended Saturday’s practice.
- The Huskies will return to the field for their fourth preseason practice at 9:20 a.m. Sunday.