Washington’s most imposing outside linebacker is headed for the NFL.

Joe Tryon — a 6-foot-5, 262-pound redshirt junior from Renton — will forgo his remaining eligibility to enter the 2021 NFL draft, UW announced on Saturday night.

The former Hazen High School standout broke out in a big way in 2019 — totaling 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 13 games to earn second-team All-Pac-12 honors. He closed the 2019 regular season with six sacks in his final four games and was named a preseason Phil Steele first-team All-American this summer.

In 25 career games on Montlake, Tryon compiled 61 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and two passes defended. The former Washington State verbal commit was ranked as a modest three-star prospect by 247Sports.com out of high school in 2017.

Last week, ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay ranked Tryon as the No. 40 overall prospect in the 2021 NFL draft.

“Tryon has experience as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker,” McShay wrote in his evaluation of Tryon. “Wherever he lines up, he has a quick first step and a fluid swim move. He will also contribute in coverage, dropping into underneath zone, and in run defense, fighting through double-teams.”

As the Pac-12 Conference approaches a possible spring season, two other UW defensive standouts — seniors defensive back Elijah Molden and defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike — could realistically forgo remaining eligibility to declare for the 2021 draft. Meanwhile, the Huskies have six scholarship outside linebackers remaining on their roster: senior Ryan Bowman, sophomores Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Laiatu Latu, redshirt freshman Bralen Trice and true freshmen Sav’ell Smalls and Jordan Lolohea.


UW has one other outside linebacker — Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.) standout Maurice Heims — verbally committed in the 2021 class.

Outside of his on-field production, Tryon was one of two Huskies (along with redshirt junior wide receiver Ty Jones) explicitly involved with the #WeAreUnited movement — a player group pushing for improved health and safety protocols, racial-injustice initiatives and compensation opportunities for Pac-12 athletes.

“The current state of the world is extremely fragile,” Tryon wrote in a news release distributed by the #WeAreUnited group this month. “We must be able to ensure the safety of all my brothers if we are to return to the field in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. We must also look into the continued exploitation of student athletes and how we do not receive fair compensation according to the amount of revenue we bring in. The line has to be drawn somewhere, it’s been too long.”

In short order, Tryon will be added to the list of UW’s NFL alums.