UW officials have confirmed the eventual departure of redshirt freshman offensive tackle Terence Thomas, who is being forced to give up football due to foot injuries. Thomas, a member of the Class of 2008 from Caldwell, Idaho, did not see any action for UW, redshirting in 2008 and then sitting out last season with injuries. It’s expected he’ll stay in school on a medical scholarship.
He is the fifth player to leave the team for varying reasons since the end of the season, joining QB Ronnie Fouch (transfer to Indiana State), WR Vince Taylor (transfer), LB Kurt Mangum (transfer to Howard) and RB Willie Griffin (transfer). At the moment, however, everybody else on the roster is present and accounted for, so while there could be more movement at some point, nothing is imminent.
The loss of Thomas leaves UW with 10 scholarship offensive linemen heading into the spring. Here they are, broken down by their 2010 class:
Gregory Christine, Sr.
Ryan Tolar, Sr.
Cody Habben, Sr.
Nick Wood, Jr.
Senio Kelemete, Jr.
Skyler Fancher, Jr.
Mark Armelin, Jr.
Scott Shugert, Jr.
Mykenna Ikehara, So.
Drew Schaefer, So.
Yes, the absence of a scholarship freshman OL on the roster is correct as the Huskies did not bring in any in the truncated Class of 2009 (they did sign JC transfer Daniel Mafoe, who didn’t make it into school).
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said on LOI Day in 2009 that the OL would be a priority in 2010, and indeed the Huskies look to be assembling what would be one of the biggest groups of offensive linemen in a while.
UW has commitments from six:
OT MIchael Criste, Mission Viejo, Calif.
OT Micah Hatchie, Waialua, Hawaii
OG Colin Tanigawa, Loyola High (Los Angeles)
OT Erik Kohler, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.)
OG Colin Porter, Bothell
OT Ben Riva, O’Dea (Seattle)
Assuming everyone on the current roster makes it to the fall, and everyone who has committed signs, that would give UW 16 scholarship OL heading into the 2010 season. The most UW ever had last season was 15, a number that dwindled quickly due to things like the season-ending injuries to Thomas and Fancher and Craig Noble’s forced retirement due to a heart situation.
Having 16 scholarship and healthy and ready to go linemen would give UW a solid number to head into the season — USC, by way of example, had 14 scholarship OL heading into the 2009 season.
Some of you may question Christine, a walk-on who was put on scholarship last fall. All scholarships are technically year-to-year renewable, but that’s especially true for walk-ons, and it’s possible he’s not on scholarship next season, though I would assume he would be through the spring (he could miss the spring while recovering from the leg injury suffered last season.) You really don’t need to worry about the 85-man limit until the fall, when all the newcomers arrive. Christine is expected to be ready for the season. Fancher also could miss the spring while recovering from a foot injury.
If I had to guess, I think the starting five heading into the spring would be Schaefer at left tackle, Tolar at left guard, Ikehara at center, Kelemete at right guard and Habben at right tackle.
If healthy, Christine would compete for guard/center backup duty. Wood and Shugert also figure to back up at guard with Fancher and Armelin at tackle. There are also a few walk-ons who figure to be available in the spring, notably sophomore guard Daniel Kanczugowski of O’Dea, who made the travel roster a time or two last season.
I haven’t heard that any of the incoming OLs will be available for spring.