Austin Seferian-Jenkins is out for the Huskies’ opener against No. 19 Boise State, suspended by coach Steve Sarkisian after a much-publicized offseason DUI.
Seferian-Jenkins had been medically cleared to play, after breaking his right pinkie earlier this month, multiple UW sources told me.
Junior receiver Kasen Williams will play on Saturday, sources said. Williams, who led UW with 77 catches for 878 yards in 2012, paid a $695 fine in July for a misdemeanor citation from Chelan County.
With Seferian-Jenkins out, backup tight ends Josh Perkins and Michael Hartvigson step to the fore.
Hartvigon, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound junior from Bothell, has 14 catches for 85 yards and one touchdown the past two seasons. Perkins, a 6-3, 216-pound converted wide receiver, played in nine of 13 games for UW last season as a redshirt freshman, mostly on special teams. He did not record any offensive statistics.
No, you don’t expect either one to be able to replace the production of a future first-round NFL draft pick. That’s unrealistic. And, yes, the task is more difficult for Keith Price and the UW offense.
But collectively Perkins and Hartvigson should be serviceable for one game, perhaps even better than that. Sarkisian singled both out at various times in training camp, and Perkins at times looked like a versatile and viable threat in the passing game.
“I’m not going to try to be ASJ. Austin’s his own person,” Perkins told me earlier this month. “I’m going to be Josh Perkins. That’s who I am and that’s who I’m going to be. … Whatever situation they put me in, I just want to flourish. If they give me the ball, I’m going to try to make as many plays as possible.”
UW has true freshman David Ajamu at tight end, though he seems a redshirt candidate. Evan Hudson, who moved from tight end to defensive end at the start of camp, could also be an option back on offense. He told me this week he’s up to speed on the offense’s goal-line plays.