Jeff Lindquist is a converted quarterback and Will Dissly had been a defensive end, but both were low on the depth chart and figured they needed to change positions to get more playing time.
One was a quarterback, and the other was a defensive lineman.
Jeff Lindquist and Will Dissly took vastly different paths to arrive at the same place: playing tight end at Washington.
Not long ago, they were teammates on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage.
Lindquist is ruggedly built at 6 feet 3 and 244 pounds, but he used to spend his days running away from guys such as the 6-4, 274-pound Dissly.
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These days, they’re practically inseparable. They share meetings, drills and repetitions while trying to get adjusted to a new position.
“The thing about Jeff is he’s a quarterback, so he knows the entire offense,” Dissly said. “He’s definitely one-up there on me. I can always go to Jeff for questions. We definitely watch each other.”
Still, the conversion might be a little easier for Dissly, who was a standout tight end in high school. During his final year years at Bozeman (Mont.) High, he caught 55 passes for 917 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Dissly, who was the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, led Bozeman to a 14-0 record and the AA state championship in 2013. He also was voted second-team all-state as sophomore when he caught 13 touchdowns.
Lindquist, on the other hand, hasn’t played any position other than quarterback in the past eight years.
“Sixth grade O-line,” he joked. “So a lot of experience.”
Converting to tight end says a lot about their versatility and UW’s depth.
Lindquist, who was a four-star quarterback recruit out of Mercer Island High with an offer from Stanford, started one game for the Huskies in 2014.
However, he fell to third on the depth chart last year behind freshmen Jake Browning and K.J. Carta-Samuels.
While Browning flourished last year, Lindquist discovered roles on special teams as a holder on field goals and extra-point attempts. He also served as a punt protector and took a few snaps on offense as a wildcat quarterback on designed running plays.
Entering his senior season in 2016, Lindquist gave up his dream of playing quarterback.
“I was a captain of the team last year, so it’s kind of my job to help this team win and contribute,” he said. “I think that position for me now is at tight end.”
Dissly, a sophomore with two years of eligibility, told a similar story after Monday’s practice.
“I came in with high expectations of myself,” he said. “I had goals of starting or making honorable-mention Pac-12. But the way it unfolded, our defense was successful, and that’s all you can ask for.
“I felt like I was plateauing a little bit and falling behind those guys. I worked on special teams as much as I could. … They (UW coaches) were like, ‘Hey do you want to do offense too?’ And I was like, ‘The more the merrier. Let’s do it.’ ”
Lindquist and Dissly join a crowded tight-ends group led by junior Darrell Daniels, the top returning pass catcher who had 19 receptions for 250 yards last year.
The others include Drew Sample, David Ajamu, Michael Neal and Derek Hunter.
“I thought those guys were machines beforehand,” Lindquist said. “Now I get firsthand experience what that is like.”