The Washington Huskies must replace 13 out of 22 starters from last season including nine on the defense, but expectations are high with a new quarterback on campus in the form of Jacob Eason a transfer from Georgia who brings with him a pro-style arm.
Eason started as a freshman at Georgia but was sidelined as a sophomore with an injury. The offensive line returns an experienced group from last season and should protect Eason and open ample holes for the running game. Four starters are back including center Nick Harris, left guard Luke Wattenberg, Jaxson Kirkland at right guard and Jared Hilbers at right tackle. The only new starter will be Trey Adams, who missed most of 2018, at left tackle.
Washington lost career rushing leader Myles Gaskin to the NFL. However, this year’s starter Salvon Ahmed has great open-field speed but needs to work on picking running lanes. The Huskies receiving corps is led by tight end Hunter Bryant, but Bryant has had injury problems in the past. Washington will have a new No. 1 wide receiver. That title will go to either Aaron Fuller or Ty Jones. Fuller caught 58 passes and Jones caught 31 last season and the two combined to score 10 touchdowns. Andre Baccellia, who caught 55 passes a season ago, also returns.
The only starters returning on the defense for the Huskies are defensive end Benning Potoa’e and safety Myles Bryant. However, plenty of talent returns or has joined the defense from returning backup players, freshmen and transfers. The line will be led by Tuli Letuligasenoa at nose tackle, Levi Onwuzurike at defensive tackle and Potoa’e.
The linebacker corps is the most concerning for Washington coaches. New inside linebackers for both inside and outside will start with the top candidates being Brandon Wellington and Ariel Ngata inside. The remaining spots at linebacker will be filled by Josh Calvert, Jackson Sirmon or a group of untested players. Four of five starters from the Huskies secondary were lost, with Bryant the only returning starter who will now play safety. Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor along with Kyler Gordon will battle for the two cornerback spots.
If Jacob Eason plays like he did as a freshman with Georgia, the Washington offense could be one of the best in the Pac-12. That in turn would take pressure off an in-experienced defense and likely lead to a double-digit win season. However, the Huskies need game-changers on offense at wide receiver and on defense at linebacker or the season might not live up to expectations. Projected win total 10