The easy decision by UW coaches last week to make Trey Adams their new starter at left tackle — the first true freshman to start there since at least 1976, according to UW records — was made in part because of the fight Adams showed during his first days in a Husky uniform.
To keep Trey Adams true to his in-state commitment, Washington coaches were expecting a fight with more high-profile programs. Instead, Adams made it easy on them, never wavering in his pledge to the Huskies.
In turn, the easy decision by UW coaches last week to make Adams their new starter at left tackle — the first true freshman to start there since at least 1976, according to UW records — was made in part because of the fight Adams showed during his first days in a Husky uniform.
Adams, a 6-foot-7, 302-pound goliath from Wenatchee, got into at least two minor scuffles with UW defensive linemen in the first week of fall camp last month. That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary during the monotony and intensity of two-a-day workouts. Truth be told, it’s not out of character for Adams, either.
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“Trey has a nasty streak,” Wenatchee coach Scott Devereaux said. “A lot of people think he is a big teddy bear. … But he would always get in that extra nudge even on his own teammates (in practice). He’s a polite kid, but he’s going to get his licks in if he gets his opportunity. That’s just who he is.”
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That nastiness manifested itself in the form of a lot of lost yards for Wentachee last season. Adams had a penchant for picking up personal-foul penalties, calls that Devereaux argued weren’t out of line. They just looked worse, he said, because of how much bigger and better Adams was than the guy he was blocking.
“It was ridiculous how dominant he was against high-school kids,” Devereaux said. “He would get penalties every game because he would be pancaking kids 30 yards down the field and then we’re getting 15-yard penalties going the other way. …
“I would just tell him, ‘Hey, don’t hurt the poor kid.’ But I wasn’t going to tell him to back off.”
UW coach Chris Petersen was in attendance for Wenatchee’s game at Sunnyside one Friday night last season. Naturally, Adams picked up a personal-foul penalty after blocking a defensive lineman out of bounds.
“He did that right in Coach Pete’s view,” Devereaux said. “Coach Pete and I looked at each other and smiled. It’s like, ‘Well, what do you do?’ He was just finishing his block.”
Adams was the first recruit from the class of 2015 to commit to the Huskies, doing so after then-coach Steve Sarkisian became the first to offer him a scholarship. Despite Sarkisian’s departure for USC, and despite late interest from the likes of USC, UCLA and Michigan, Adams never questioned his commitment to the Huskies, Devereaux said.
“He got a lot of attention from other schools, particularly down the stretch there,” UW offensive-line coach Chris Strausser said. “He held strong. In all my years recruiting, he held stronger than any guy I’ve ever recruited. He told every school that he talked to: ‘I really appreciate the interest, but I’m committed to Washington.’
“That was a true bonus for us. We were expecting to probably have to battle harder than we did.”
Adams was considered a consensus four-star recruit, one of the best prospects in the state last year. Even then, he might have been underrated.
“I really think if he was playing in L.A., I think he would’ve been a top-100 (national) recruit. Easy. I really believe that,” Strausser said.
Adams made his UW debut in second-half mop-up duty in the 49-0 rout of Sacramento State two weeks ago, becoming the first true freshman Petersen has ever played on the line. Coaches had projected Adams and redshirt freshman Kaleb McGary as their future bookends, and that projection came to be earlier than expected in part because of injuries to junior guards Jake Eldrenkamp and Shane Brostek last week.
Another redshirt freshman, right guard Jesse Sosebee, made his starting debut along with Adams and McGary against Utah State last week. The line gave up only one sack and that was on the Huskies’ first drive — a linebacker blitzed past Adams, though Strausser said the sack was less to blame on Adams and more on the overall protection sliding the wrong way — and the new-look line received generally “solid” reviews from Strausser.
With his quick feet, Adams has always excelled at pass protection, Devereaux said. Run blocking remains a work in progress for Adams and the line in general, and Strausser said there could be more shuffling as Eldrenkamp and Brostek get healthier.
For now — and, surely, for the future — Strausser is pleased with what Adams has to offer.
“He’s not a kid that really gets flustered,” Strausser said. “To me, it was a lot like the recruiting process: He’s not overwhelmed by all this stuff. He’s focused on, ‘What am I doing? And what’s next?’ ”