UW sophomore cornerback Jacobe Covington has entered the transfer portal, a source confirmed to The Times on Monday.
The news dropped 12 days after he told local media: “I love it up here. It’s home. It’s home. I wasn’t going nowhere (this offseason). I love the fans and I love the city. Anywhere you go, you have to play football. You just have to play. So I just decided to stay here, stay loyal to the fans.”
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound corner from Chandler, Arizona, did not attend both Saturday’s “Spring Preview” and Thursday’s walk-through. He produced five tackles and a sack in two seasons and 13 career games — stashed behind stalwarts like Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor, Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon.
Covington contributed sparingly to a UW secondary that ranked first nationally in both passing defense (142.9 yards allowed per game) and opponent yards per pass attempt (5.4) in 2021.
As a four-star recruit out of Saguaro High School, Covington initially committed to UW on Aug. 17, 2019, then rescinded that commitment on Oct. 15, before recommitting Dec. 14 and signing with Washington days later. The versatile cornerback has witnessed the resignation of Chris Petersen, the hiring and firing of Jimmy Lake and the hire of new UW coach Kalen DeBoer since making that initial commitment.
While senior UC Davis transfer Jordan Perryman and sophomore Mishael Powell appear UW’s likely starters at cornerback, Covington and redshirt freshmen Elijah Jackson and Davon Banks also took first-team reps at times this spring. Last Tuesday, UW co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Morrell called Covington “another guy that’s younger and has gotten a lot of run and has been highly productive for us.”
Not productive enough, apparently, to dodge the transfer portal.
But Covington will likely not be alone in that regard.
“I know a lot of guys don’t really know what they want to do, just really from the coaching changes,” sixth-year safety Alex Cook, who has stayed at UW despite a position switch and erratic playing time, said Saturday. “They’re just really still feeling everything out a little bit. I just tell them, ‘Whether you (stay) or go, it’s going to be the same situation. You’re still going to have to learn. You’re still going to have to build new relationships with the coaches. You’re still going to have to learn new defenses and earn your stripes.
“And this is just a personal opinion: I don’t really see the value of leaving when you’re already in a good spot here. You’re going to have to compete no matter where you’re at, no matter where you are on the depth chart — ones, twos and threes. I don’t really see the value in leaving.”
And yet, in the transfer portal era, attrition is inevitable. And considering UW held its annual “Spring Preview” on Saturday, and Sunday marked the NCAA deadline to enter the portal and maintain eligibility this fall, Huskies who chose to complete spring practices were left with roughly a 24-hour window to enter the portal.
More transfers could become public in the coming days.
“We’ve started some individual meetings and I think there’s some ongoing discussions with a few guys, just kind of waiting to see,” DeBoer said Saturday, when asked if he’s been informed of imminent transfers. “There could be some of that that happens here.”
It happened with Covington, and will continue to happen.
And when it does, Washington will adjust.
“You’re always trying to make your roster better,” DeBoer said Saturday. “It’s just the world we live in with college football. Every day we’re recruiting depth with our ’23 class, because guys are going to come, and (other) guys aren’t. We’re continuing to work our roster to try to make it stronger with the relationships and do the best we can to show the roles guys can have in this program, even if it’s not at the level they want it to be at this point in their careers.
“That’s the (biggest) piece — not getting so caught up with immediate gratification and immediate results, but thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to be a different player two months from now, four months from now, six months from now, a year from now,’ and having that patience. We’re trying to get stories in front of these guys where they hear about the guys that just hung in there and stayed the course. That’s a lot of what we’re trying to do.
“But we certainly understand that some of that (attrition) is going to happen. You just move on, and you love the guys that are here with us that want to be a part of it.”