UW Football Primer: Turning to Jackson Sirmon Would Be a Smart Move

Dan Raley

Jackson Sirmon brings an educated approach to banging heads and sniffing out plays. When he joins the Washington huddle, he's in his classroom.

The 6-foot-3, 237-pound sophomore inside linebacker can get down and dirty like everyone else, but what separates him from others is his thinking-man's approach to the game.

Simon was home-schooled in football. He has a decided edge in linebacker knowledge. He's been instructed on the position's finer points by his father.

He grew up in a household headed up by former NFL linebacker Peter Sirmon, who's made a subsequent living as a defensive coordinator at Louisville, Mississippi State and now California. Previously, the elder Sirmon served as a defensive assistant coach at Tennessee, the UW and USC.

Jackson Sirmon's own travels, while playing for high school football teams in Los Angeles and near Nashville, have had people acknowledge his linebacker acumen at each stop.

"He does a great job of studying the offensive tackles and seeing how they're going to block him," said Marvin Sanders, former Loyola High football coach in L.A. and now Coastal Carolina defensive coordinator. 

"He's a coach's kid and it shows," said Cody White, football coach at Brentwood Academy football in Tennessee.

This is another in a series of profiles on prospective UW football starters. While spring practice has been canceled because of the pandemic outbreak, Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated continues to provide uninterrupted coverage.

At Washington, Jackson Sirmon shares the roster with Jacob Sirmon, his cousin and the Huskies' leading quarterback candidate.

He shares the sprawling campus with David Sirmon, his uncle, a Foster School of Business professor and former Montana linebacker.

He shares the Pac-12 with his father, now an opponent as well as an adversary.

That's social networking in college football like no one else can.

With the Huskies, Jackson Sirmon, sometimes called Jack, is a leading candidate to start at inside backer alongside fellow sophomore Edefuan Ulofoshio. 

He brings physicality to the position while Ulofoshio supplies noticeable speed. Together, they should be an upgrade over their predecessors, the graduated Brandon Wellington and Kyler Manu, who were one-year starters and stop gaps.

In 2019, Sirmon appeared in every game for the Huskies, all in a reserve role. He piled up 28 tackles. He returned a Boise State fumble 54 yards before getting pulled down at the Broncos 35 late in the Las Vegas Bowl.

A 4-star recruit who chose the UW over Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Memphis, Sirmon has made steady progress in landing a more prominent role.

It's clear he's still a smart guy -- he earned a spot last year on the Pac-12 academic honor roll for football.

SUMMARY: This guy reminds people of former Huskies such as Dave Hoffmann and James Clifford, linebackers who relied on toughness and instincts to get the job done. 

GRADE (1 to 5): Sirmon pulls a 3 because he's not been a starter yet. That likely will change this season. Besides, he's always earned good grades.