Small Senior Class Deserves AC Win
Paul Homer (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
Paul Homer (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
Dawgman.com
Posted Nov 24, 2009
Dick Baird


There were only 12 seniors listed in Washington’s full depth chart for their last game, against OSU. Of the 27 listed in the offensive depth, only four were seniors and only two were starters recruited and signed into the program. Out of 28 listed players on defense, only seven were seniors - but again only three starters. There is only one senior of 11 listed players in the kicking game.

So of the 15 total seniors on the team, only six are starters. And that's 15 seniors out of 105 listed in the whole program, and four of those players walked on. That means the first two years of recruiting by the previous staff produced 11 total senior players for the program. The attrition rate has been crippling, as well as a lot of needless burning of red-shirts.

That, in itself, is the best explanation for why the Washington Huskies are 3-7. The lack of older players has not only hurt the Husky offense but this team in general. You win with your seniors and veterans, and that is the same at all levels of the game.

Your senior class is always a mix of true seniors and red-shirt seniors, and this one represents the transition year between Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham, plus Willingham’s second class. Coach Willingham essentially blew off his first recruiting class, assuming wrongly that this was Washington and therefore there were enough good players already here. It would prove disastrous to squad development and this year it is being felt the most (You win more in college football with 22-year olds rather than 18-year olds).

Fullback Paul Homer is about as steady as any kid in the program and will probably be a doctor someday. He played as a true freshman and has been a real solid blocker and has brought character to the team. Homer is a proud Husky and I think he has had a solid career. He is one of my favorite kids over the past five years of this football hell.

I’m not sure the other senior on offense, Ben Ossai, has ever really bought into all the changes that have taken place over his career, but he has been a four-year starter, and that is an accomplishment in itself.

The other two seniors on offense are Morgan Rosborough and Nick Scott, who both entered after or between signing classes. Both are reserve offensive linemen and neither has ever really been a factor in the program, besides providing the valuable service of being big bodies to practice against. Unfortunately, both have been too big to play effectively on the move. Both are on pace to finish their degrees.

On the defensive side of the ball there are really only two healthy senior starters. Donald Butler and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim have simply been warriors since the day they joined this program and might be the only seniors who have any NFL potential. They both are real leaders on the defense, as well as quality men off the field. These two guys are what Husky defense is all about.

E.J. Savannah and Jason Wells are two really good players who both have battled injuries much of their careers. Both are natural football players with good football instincts and missing them has really hurt this team these past two years. I think both could have played for any Husky defense through the years. I also think Wells should go into coaching because he thinks the game through so well.

Darrion Jones ends his career as a defensive end after starting it as a linebacker. He put the work into the weight room but has never really had it all click for him on the field. He has worked hard and hopefully finishes his career with a few big plays.

Because I tend to view the game from a defensive perspective, I have followed all these players more than the offensive ones and know how difficult it has been playing defense for the Huskies over these past 4-5 years.

Some of the players I have watched develop are linebackers like Trenton Tuiasosopo, Joshua Gage, and T.J. Poe. These are my kind of ballers. Besides playing defense, they also do their jobs on special teams, and Gage is clearly one of the headiest 'backers in the program. Tuiasosopo is lucky to be playing football after a horrific bike accident his freshman year but he came back for a sixth season just to be part of the team. Poe is number 43 and you should just put your binoculars on him covering kickoffs. 'Nuff said.

Gage looks like a movie star and grew up on Orcas Island before moving to Huntington Beach (perfect) and then returned to be an obvious contributor over the past few years.

All three of these guys are tough guys and although they didn’t get to the front of the stage they have been great role players on this team. These kids have put years of their lives into this struggle and were at least here to be part of the change.

Danny Morovick, who is the only senior kicking specialist listed in the depth, will be one of the most important replacements for next year because he has been the Huskies' long and short snapper for all four of his years at UW.

Another player listed as a senior is Tripper Johnson, who I really admire because he chose to play football when his baseball career ended. He has added maturity and a solid work ethic and is playing for all the right reasons.

Senior punter Paul Dickey completes the list of seniors, and he has yet to ever play. He is, though, like all the other 14, on track to graduate this year. This group of seniors has earned their degrees through a lot of suffering and losing.

These 15 seniors have endured the complete Willingham era and the first year of the Sarkisian system. They can tell you the difference is like night and day. They have suffered through 44 losses and only 14 victories. They played through all the adversity that has hit this program and now have two games remaining in their collegiate careers. They have given to this program and this year they helped lay the foundation for its resurgence.

This group of seniors deserves to go out with an Apple Cup victory because they have paid more than their share of dues.



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