As fall camp approaches Friday, let’s continue with our ranking of Washington’s 2021 football team.

40. Kamren Fabiculanan, redshirt freshman, 6-1, 185

Position: Defensive back

Potential role: Will compete with Brendan Radley-Hiles for the starting nickelback spot.

Why he’s ranked here: Fabiculanan is the kind of big, physical UW defensive back Jimmy Lake loves to develop, and he flashed both with run-stuffing hits and interceptions in the spring. The problem is former Oklahoma three-year starter Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles is also in contention to fill the void left by Elijah Molden at nickelback. Still, considering UW’s historically generous use of sub-packages, expect “Kam Fab” to get some run both on defense and in special teams even if he doesn’t win the job.

39. Julius Irvin, sophomore, 6-1, 185

Position: Defensive back

Potential role: Could finally emerge as a starting safety.

Why he’s ranked here: It feels like we’ve been waiting for Julius Irvin’s inevitable breakout for a decade or more. The 6-1, 185-pounder was a mesmerizing four-star recruit who chose the Huskies over Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and others. But after largely stalling in his first three seasons in Seattle, it’s time for Irvin to emerge … or possibly find another place to play. After an encouraging end to the spring, can he claim a starting safety spot? Time will tell.

38. Daniel Heimuli, redshirt freshman, 6-0, 225

Position: Linebacker

Potential role: Could provide depth at inside linebacker, and maybe even sneak past Jackson Sirmon into a starting role.

Why he’s ranked here: Fans love the man affectionately known as “Danny Hammer,” and it’s easy to understand why. A former four-star recruit and Polynesian Bowl Defensive MVP, Heimuli brings an electrifying burst to the inside-linebacker spot. But last season he continued to develop quietly behind a less athletically formidable starter in Sirmon. When asked in April if Heimuli is ready to contribute in a more regular role, defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said: “He’s getting close.” Meanwhile, fans are getting impatient.


37. Quentin Moore, sophomore, 6-5, 245

Position: Tight end

Potential role: Could be another game-breaking pass catcher for UW at tight end.

Why he’s ranked here: The highs for junior-college transfer tight end Quentin Moore last spring were exceedingly high. The 6-5, 245-pound colossus runs like a wide receiver, and he notched several of the most difficult catches in camp. But he also struggled with drops at times, and he’s continuing to learn the offense in his first season in Seattle. Tight ends coach Derham Cato said Moore is “going to be one of those dudes that can give defenses fits.” But when will it happen? With Cade Otton, Devin Culp and Mark Redman all sharing a room, opportunities will have to be earned.

36. Cooper McDonald, freshman, 6-3, 245

Position: Outside linebacker

Potential role: Should earn a role alongside outside linebacker Ryan Bowman and others.

Why he’s ranked here: Since he arrived on campus last year, McDonald has earned effusive praise from Lake. Likewise, Bowman called his edge protégé “an extremely hard worker and a really talented kid.” And yet, McDonald produced just two tackles and one pass defended in three games as a true freshman last fall. In the wake of All-American Zion Tupuola-Fetui’s torn Achilles, the Huskies need other outside linebackers to carry the load — which translates to McDonald making significant strides in his second season.

35. Kamari Pleasant, senior, 6-0, 225

Position: Running back

Potential role: Will vie for touches in an immensely crowded running-back room.

Why he’s ranked here: Pleasant started two games last season and produced an entirely respectable 210 total yards with 4.2 yards per carry and three touchdowns in four games. He’s a reliable runner and a plus pass blocker who catches the ball more naturally than his fellow tailbacks. In short: Pleasant’s experience and skill set are valuable. But Cameron Davis is more explosive, Richard Newton is a tougher runner and Sean McGrew is a more versatile back. So where does that leave Pleasant?


34. Jeremiah Martin, junior, 6-3, 265

Position: Outside linebacker

Potential role: Should be a valuable cog in the Huskies’ outside-linebacker rotation.

Why he’s ranked here: Martin was a prolific high-school pass rusher, but he failed to snare a sack in three seasons at Texas A&M. Still, he has both experience and a formidable frame, and Lake clearly believes his staff can maximize Martin’s talent. “We saw a player that we could bring in here, and as long as he bought in — which he has — we could develop him into a possible all-league player for the University of Washington,” Lake said last spring. “And he’s right on track.”

33. Devin Culp, sophomore, 6-4, 265

Position: Tight end

Potential role: It’s time for Culp to produce alongside Otton and others.

Why he’s ranked here: Culp’s potential has always been evident, but he remains in search of consistent results. Cato said this spring the 6-4, 265-pounder “has taken a big step from a mental standpoint. He did a lot of work in the offseason just studying and getting his playbook down. We’re thinking big things for him.” If he can specifically cut out the drops, Culp could develop into a mauling mismatch in the vertical passing game.

32. MJ Tafisi, sophomore, 6-0, 245

Position: Inside linebacker

Potential role: Will provide inside-linebacker depth and contribute on special teams.

Why he’s ranked here: Tafisi showed some intriguing flashes in 2019 before losing his season to a significant stinger. The physical, 245-pound linebacker is finally back at full strength, and Lake said in April that “if something happened and he had to be the starter or he eventually took over as a starter, that would not surprise me one bit.” Cue the competition.

31. Sav’ell Smalls, freshman, 6-3, 255

Position: Outside linebacker

Potential role: Will compete with Bralen Trice and Cooper McDonald to start on the opposite side of Ryan Bowman.

Why he’s ranked here: Smalls arrived at Washington with five-star potential but produced relatively modest results in his freshman season (seven tackles in four games). The Seattle product missed some of the spring with an injury, but Lake singled him out last week as one of the Huskies’ premier performers in workouts this summer. Considering ZTF’s injury, the opportunity is there for Smalls to flourish in an expanded role.