On the same day 15 high school seniors signed with Washington, Husky quarterback Jacob Sirmon officially entered the transfer portal.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound redshirt sophomore made the final decision on Tuesday night — then delivered the news to Husky head coach Jimmy Lake, offensive coordinator John Donovan and strength and conditioning coach Tim Socha.
“It’s been my dream since I was a little boy to play football for the Dawgs,” Jacob Sirmon said in a statement released on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been so blessed and thankful to do that. After a lot of thought and prayer my future is pulling me away from Seattle to pursue my dreams.”
Added Jacob’s father, David Sirmon, in an interview with The Times on Wednesday morning: “This is a positive part of his path. It didn’t work out at Washington, like he dreamed it might. That’s just the nature of football, and you keep on fighting for your dreams, and that’s what he’s doing.
“So he hugged Jimmy (Lake). He hugged John (Donovan). He talked to every person in the program, either to his face or with some type of text. I think he’s leaving on great terms and with a clear heart. He wants to play ball and wishes Washington all the very best.”
He wants to play ball, and he’ll have to leave home to do it. The former Bothell High School standout — who was ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 1 player in the state and the No. 6 pro-style passer in the 2018 class by the 247Sports Composite — also entered the transfer portal in April 2019, before removing his name just two days later. Another former four-star quarterback from his class, Colson Yankoff, transferred to UCLA the same offseason and has since shifted to wide receiver.
Meanwhile, Sirmon served as Jacob Eason’s backup last season, completing 2 of 3 passes for 19 yards in five games as a reserve.
But when Eason declared for the NFL Draft, Sirmon didn’t immediately slide into the starting spot. Instead, he lost an offseason quarterback competition to redshirt freshman Dylan Morris — who has started all four games this fall.
And with five-star standout Sam Huard also signing on Wednesday, Sirmon is searching for starting opportunities someplace else.
“Jacob’s thing with the potential to transfer this year was, ‘When our regular season ends, we’ll talk.’ The regular season ended rather unceremoniously and abruptly,” David Sirmon said. “So at that point, his mom and I basically asked him, ‘What do you want? Not what do I want, or what do your coaches want. What do you want?’
“His basic answer was, ‘I really want to play football. I love football. I’ve tried my very best here. I’ve grown. But it’s not going to happen here. That’s how it is.’ That decision was really made pretty quickly, but the build-up to that decision was not quick.”
Sirmon informed UW’s coaching staff and his teammates of his decision on Tuesday night.
And by Wednesday morning, potential suitors were already reaching out.
“We have very, very explicit, clear criteria for where he’s going,” David Sirmon said. “The things that don’t matter are level or location. When he first signed, those things were critical. They were. They were really important, and probably overly important. Now it’s all about ball.
“So he’s got criteria: an established head coach, an NFL-centric OC, a real need at the quarterback position. That will be his filter to decide where he goes. As soon as it hit he had multiple calls simultaneously. It was weird. It was Big 12, Pac-12, ACC schools, and then Group of Five schools. It’s been really fast.”
David Sirmon confirmed that Jacob has not heard from any programs in the SEC or Big Ten Conferences, and he declined to divulge which specific schools his son is communicating with.
But the process, it seems, is already underway.
And Jacob Sirmon’s eyes are set on the next opportunity.
“This is much more of a realist decision, as opposed to a dreaming decision,” David Sirmon said. “When he was 18 and signing with Washington, it was all dreams. It didn’t work out and it is what it is. No hard feelings. He was not cheated. But he still is a good ball player.
“So this time it’s just different. I don’t know if he’ll actually want to travel (to take campus visits). You get on these zoom calls, and they show you around via video. But the first question is: when does spring (practice) start? It’s not like he’s entering college for the first time. It’s different this time.”
Sirmon is also hoping for different results.
And regardless of where he goes, he’ll have fans at Washington.
“I’ve loved watching his growth, especially this year in 2020, as a person and as a football player,” Lake said in his signing day press conference on Wednesday. “I’m so proud of where he has come (from). As you guys see, the quarterback position around college football, it’s just like, where is that quarterback going to be the next year and the year after that? The portal is a big thing for that position, and we have a talented quarterback room. He decided to try to go play and start for another football team.
“We wish him the best, and he handled it the right way. We’ll be rooting for Jacob Sirmon.”