On Sunday, UW wide receivers coach Junior Adams accepted the same role at rival Oregon.
By Wednesday, a devastating domino fell.
Germie Bernard — a four-star wide receiver and the most highly rated recruit in UW’s microscopic 2022 class — will be released from his national letter of intent, according to a report by 247Sports. Bernard did not respond to an interview request, while a UW spokesperson declined to comment.
But though Bernard’s apparent exit is certainly scarring, it’s also unsurprising. In November, the Las Vegas product told 247Sports that “with coach Jimmy Lake getting fired nothing has really changed for me because my position coach (Adams) is still there. If anything changes it would be because my position coach left, but I don’t see that happening.”
And now this is happening.
None of which Bernard expected when he became one of five seniors — along with four-star tight end Ryan Otton, three-star offensive lineman Parker Brailsford, three-star outside linebacker Lance Holtzclaw and three-star wide receiver Denzel Boston — to sign with Washington last month. Due to its sheer lack of bodies, that class was ranked dead last in the Pac-12 and 101st in the nation by the 247Sports Composite.
But in Bernard, new UW head coach Kalen DeBoer saw “just a very dynamic player” who could be “really special.”
“His talent and his energy that he’s going to bring, just because he’s so comfortable and so familiar with this program already, it’s really exciting,” DeBoer said. “Him seeing what we’re going to do offensively got him even more motivated and excited to be part of it.”
That is, until Adams relocated 300 miles south.
Now essentially a free agent, Bernard — a 6-foot-2, 195-pound wideout — was named the 2021-22 Gatorade Nevada Football Player of the Year, after registering 53 catches for 956 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns at Liberty High School. Bernard added 452 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, three punt return touchdowns, one kick return touchdown and one interception return touchdown as well.
The longtime UW commit is ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 5 player in the state of Nevada and the No. 37 wide receiver in the 2022 class by 247Sports. Besides Washington, he publicly received scholarship offers from Arizona State, Hawaii, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, Utah and more.
But Wednesday’s 247Sports report states that “Michigan State sits in pole position to secure a commitment from Bernard, as his close friendship with MSU QB signee Katin Houser will play a big role in his decision-making process.”
Regardless, UW — which has also seen Terrell Bynum (USC) and Sawyer Racanelli (TBD) hop into the transfer portal this offseason, after losing five scholarship wideouts to the portal last year — will have to reckon with the loss of yet another wide receiver.
Oh, and the Huskies still have to hire a wide receivers coach as well.
That as-of-named assistant will be tasked with elevating a room that currently comprises seven scholarship wide receivers — junior Giles Jackson, sophomores Jalen McMillan, Rome Odunze and Taj Davis, redshirt freshmen Ja’Lynn Polk and Jabez Tinae, and true freshman Boston.
Unless, of course, another domino falls.
Sirmon announces Cal transfer
Former UW inside linebacker Jackson Sirmon on Wednesday announced a transfer to Cal, where his father — Peter Sirmon — is the Golden Bears’ defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach.
The 6-3, 235-pound Sirmon led the Huskies with 92 tackles in 12 games last fall, while adding four tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. The redshirt junior from Brentwood, Tenn., contributed 148 tackles in 33 career games.
Without Sirmon, junior Edefuan Ulofoshio and redshirt sophomore Carson Bruener are expected to emerge as UW starters at inside linebacker.
Racanelli headed to Montana
Former UW wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli will continue his college career at Montana, he announced Wednesday.
A 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver from Brush Prairie, Racanelli failed to catch a pass in his first two seasons and 13 games. The former three-star recruit and Hockinson High School standout struggled to see the field behind the likes of Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Giles Jackson and Ja’Lynn Polk.
Before signing with the home state Huskies, Racanelli eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons at Hockinson High, leading the Hawks to back-to-back Washington 2A state championships in 2017 and 2018. Racanelli — who missed his senior season with a torn ACL — excelled on the defensive side as well, posting 88 tackles with 11 tackles for loss and two interceptions as a junior in 2018.