Following his arm injury and surgery, Edefuan Ulofoshio will become a spectator for the rest of the college football season, if not a much more dedicated pre-med student.
Which leaves his University of Washington football team in a quandry for the next five games, looking to adequately replace its best tackler.
On Monday, coach Jimmy Lake identified four young linebackers who will be given every opportunity to step for his defensive leader.
At the same time, he cautioned taht the Huskies suffered at times against Arizona without the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Ulofoshio in the middle of everything and will exposed at times as the replacements become seasoned players.
"There was some ups and downs in the game," Lake said. "There was really good run fits, some really good pass fits and some where we didn't fit it very well and then, all of a sudden, there was big run play here and there. That's going to part of the growth we're going to have to deal with."
Following are four players who will be given every chance to step in and to pull Ulofoshio's defensive load.
A year ago, people were asking why the 6-foot, 225-pound redshirt freshman hadn't made a move for more playing time outside of special-teams duty. After all, he chose he Huskies over Alabama. This season, Heimuli has had to play, ready or not. He's appeared in every game except the opener against Montana, and he started against Arkansas State and Arizona. He turned in his best performance stat-wise last Friday, sharing in 8 tackles in Tucson.
The son of a former UW tight end great, this Bruener began spring practice as an outside linebacker but moved inside when the position numbers got light. For instance, Josh Calvert transferred to Utah. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound second-year freshman has played for the first time this season and entered every game except against Michigan. He had his top Husky outing against Arizona, coming up with 7 tackles.
The 6-foot, 230-pound sophomore has appeared in 21 games for the Huskies, including all 7 this season. He's had to deal with an assortment of injuries, including a neck stinger against Arizona in 2019. He's totaled 16 tackles for this team, though he didn't register one against the Wildcats on Friday.
This guy was ahead of everyone in the young linebacker corps last season who were behind starters Jackson Sirmon and Ulofoshio, showing size, speed and savvy. He played right away where others such as Heimuli didn't. However, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound second-year freshman ruptured his Achilles tendon in spring ball, setting him back. He drew his first game time at Arizona on a scripted plan and came up with one tackle in his return.