With Mount Rainier offering a breathtaking background, the big kid from the tiny logging town of Eatonville, Washington, spoke in a soft but firm voice. He mentioned how he really didn't like talking about himself, how it felt like bragging, and he didn't care for that at all.
Yet this thickly built youngster was the newly installed state-record holder for rushing yards and touchdowns. And even though he was a 1A player, this running back was heavily recruited, entertaining offers from Arizona State, Oregon, Washington and WSU.
This was 1988 and Brandon Jumper.
A 6-foot-3, 215-pound fullback and linebacker, he would choose the Ducks over the UW and Don James, and enjoy a modest career running the ball as college offenses changed and teams began to use his position less and less.
Thirty-three years later, another Jumper has emerged from Eatonville (population 3,000), which still serves as the gateway to Rainier. Metaphorically, he's likewise going out the back door of the airplane, pulling the ripcord halfway down and landing on his feet in front of Northwest football fans. A Jumper.
This is Caden, Brandon's son, who already carries a mammoth 6-foot-2, 270-pound frame. They apparently eat in Eatonville (full disclosure, my grandfather, James Raley, created the first bank in that town). He's been designated as a Husky tight end after playing a half-dozen high school positions, including quarterback, and he showed up early at the UW to learn the college version of the position in spring practice.
"This guy is one of the tougher guys I've seen on film," Husky coach Jimmy Lake said of Caden, comparing him to a Montana guy who went from the UW to the Seahawks as a tight end. "What you guys should think about is Will Dissly — that's Caden Jumper."
Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.
Jumper wears No. 49, a jersey he has all to himself, which is becoming more rare for the Huskies, who often double up.
During spring workouts, the Huskies threw him into the mix of seven scholarship tight ends and three walk-ons joining them. He was no longer a man among boys, rather a man among men. Yet he was heavier than all of them, five pounds more than sophomore Devin Culp and 20 pounds heftier than All-American candidate and junior Cade Otton.
One of four true freshmen who reported early, Jumper got a crash course at a position where the Huskies turn out a lot of NFL players, among them that very same Will Dissly, and he seemed to hold up well.
"He's going to be a great tight end for us," Lake said. "He's going to mash people in the run game and he's going to release and make some big-time catches in the pass game. This is a player who played both sides of the ball for his high school, played on offense and played on defense, and you can just see his versatility. We are so excited about him."
What he meant, of course, was let this big Dawg from Eatonville eat.
Jumper's 2021 Outlook: Projected reserve tight end
UW Service Time: None
Individual Honors: None
Pro Prospects: 2026 NFL third-day draftee
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