When the Huskies take the field for their first practice of the season Monday at 3 p.m., they will do so with a roster that again ranks as among the youngest in the Pac-12.
One measure to indicate that is UW’s number of returning starters, which as calculated by the Pac-12 is 13, fewer than all but three other conference teams — Cal with 12, Colorado with 11 and Arizona State with 10. The average is 14.4, with USC leading the way at 19 and Utah 18.
By another measure, consider that UW has just 12 seniors on its roster who at the end of last season were on scholarship. That includes two walk-ons who have been on scholarship, meaning there are just 10 seniors who initially signed letters-of-intent with UW.
That’s in part a result of the small Class of 2009, when the Huskies signed just 19 players, including six junior college players, whose eligibility would be gone now even if all but two never played for the Huskies.
Only seven players remain from that class — CB Desmond Trufant, QB Keith Price, WR James Johnson, S Will Shamburger, OLB Nate Fellner, DE Talia Crichton and DT Semisi Tokolahi.
No doubt, the Class of 2009 was going to be a challenge with the Huskies in the position they were at that time, going 0-12 and changing coaches. So the high attrition rate probably wasn’t unexpected.
Here’s a breakdown of how many players UW has in each class (going with the scholarship players and years as listed in the 2012 UW Information Guide).
Seniors — 12
Juniors — 17
Sophomores — 18
Freshmen — 39
That does indeed add up to 86, one over the 85-man limit. But as noted, I included three walk-ons who were put on scholarship last year.
That the Huskies are again on the young side is surerly frustrating to many UW fans, who like Mariners fans, may be feeling like they have been hearing that for about a decade now.
But as the kids say, it is what it is, and the reality is that for this season, UW will be pretty shy of upper classmen, something that has to factor in to pre-season assessments of the team.