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Breaking Down the Current UW Football Roster, Coach by Coach

Four different Husky leaders signed players who make up the 2024 team.
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The University of Washington football roster currently runs 99 players deep, which includes scholarship recipients and walk-ons, and it's an unusual collection of talent. While advancing to the College Football Playoff championship game and winning three consecutive bowl outings — the Las Vegas, Alamo and Sugar — the Huskies have put together its next team using players signed by four different coaches.

With so many leaders coming and going, one might think the UW football program would have been in total disarray this whole time. 

To the contrary, the Huskies have managed to right their football wrongs — namely a disastrous 4-8 season in 2021 — and enjoy considerable success even with all of the constant coaching turnover at the top from Chris Petersen to Jimmy Lake, Kalen DeBoer and now Jedd Fisch.

Over the next few days, we'll examine these four heartbeats of Husky football and show who's responsible for what, beginning with Petersen, who surprisingly resigned after just six seasons in charge following the 2019 Apple Cup and to this day remains out of coaching. 

Clay Helton and Chris Petersen, both out of the Pac-12 now, greet each other after the 2019 game, which the UW won 28-14.

Chris Petersen shakes hands with USC coach Clay Helton, now at Georgia Southern. 

As the Huskies prepare for another month of spring practice to open, just five players remain in Montlake who signed their national letters of intent as our kind of guys, or OKGs, for the reverent Petersen. Each one is a sixth-year senior. Each one repeatedly has experienced a different way of doing things and stuck with it. Each are the last vestiges from a respected coach. The roll call:

Jacob Bandes, defensive tackle

Cam Davis, running back

Drew Fowler, linebacker

Kamren Fabiculanan, safety

Alphonzo Tuputala, linebacker

Of this bunch, only the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Tuputala from Federal Way, Washington, has emerged as a full-time Husky starter, opening in 27 of 28 games over the past two seasons (he was injured and out against Oregon State last fall) and earning All-Pac-12 honorable-mention honors in 2022, though others of this old guard likely will join him in the lineup this fall. His claim to fame, of course, is his 76-yard interception return against Utah that should have gone for 77 and a pick-6 touchdown had he not dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. 

Fabiculanan, a 6-foot-1, 196-pounder from Camarillo, California, has logged 11 starting assignments over the past three seasons largely as a fill-in for injured teammates, pulling no more than six starts in the 2022 season. He's been injured himself multiple times. He's shown steady improvement, welcomes contact in the open field, memorably lost his helmet in the CFP title game and continued on, and could be a reliable presence at safety if he can maintain his health.

Kamren Fabiculanan takes a break acknowledges his presence at the CFP title game.

Kam Fabiculanan takes a break at the CFP title game against Michigan.

The 6-foot-3, 302-pound Bandes likewise has been a spot starter for the UW, opening once in each of the past three seasons against Michigan State, Arizona State and Michigan. After starting against the Spartans and Wolverines, consider him already Big Ten battle-tested. Bandes arrived from Pittsburg, California, with a huge reputation after choosing the Huskies over Clemson, but he hasn't quite lived up to it. There's still plenty of time.

Davis was on a steady path to settle in as the UW's No. 1 running back last season before ripping up a knee in fall camp and missing out on everything during the national playoff run. Instead, the 6-foot, 212-pound tailback from Rancho Cucamonga, California, will bring his career 903 rushing yards on 209 carries, 38 receptions for 278 yards and 15 touchdowns, with 13 scores coming in 2022, to the competition once he's been cleared to play again. He has three career starts, going all the way back to that 2019 Las Vegas Bowl.

Fowler has 40 Husky games played on his ledger, both as a scrimmage and a special-teams player, all as a reserve. This 6-foot-1, 222-pound linebacker from Bellevue, Washington, has 27 tackles to his name. Once the new coach took over, Fisch rewarded Fowler with a two-year scholarship, retroactive to last year, for his program loyalty. Fowler provides much needed depth for a second-row defensive position group that will offer plenty of veteran experience.

Altogether, this faithful five is playing for yet another Husky coach, which no doubt has required a lot of adjustment on their part along the way. It has meant constantly reproving themselves to new position coaches and never getting complacent. Mostly, their time spent in Montlake has been a positive experience with the UW enjoying all of that aforementioned postseason play and compiling a 40-17 record since 2019.

On Saturday, we examine the Jimmy Lake portion of the current UW roster. As the only fired coach among the four, he didn't leave a real profound mark on these Huskies, but his fingerprints are there just the same.

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